Dates of Project: July 1997 to August 2009
Field of Work: Increasing access to health care in rural, underserved areas of eight Southern states
Synopsis of the Work: The Southern Rural Access Program was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that worked to increase access to health care in rural, underserved areas of eight southern states. The states recruited and retained rural primary care providers, offered programs to attract students committed to working in rural areas to the health professions and help prepare them for training programs, developed collaborative networks of rural health providers, and developed loan funds to help rural health providers improve their practices.
In Louisiana, one of the participating states, the Louisiana Rural Access Program enhanced health care infrastructure in the southwest part of the state, which resulted in a more robust response when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005. This work included:
- The creation of two health care networks and the enhancement of three others in five parishes. These networks provided an important resource and a local contact point for state relief agencies in the post-hurricane chaos.
- The development of pharmaceutical access programs that helped people get the medicines they needed and, after the storms, helped evacuees from New Orleans obtain medicines to replace those left behind.
- A loan fund that made 10 loans to finance health care projects costing a total of $2.2 million during the project period. When the hurricanes struck, facilities assisted by the loan fund enhanced the state's response. Other funders contributed to the loan fund.
The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and the state Department of Health and Hospitals partnered in the Louisiana Rural Access Program. Learn more in the sidebar.