The Texas Rural Health Association (TRHA) was established in 1984 through the efforts of a steering committee representing a variety of West Texas entities, including county governments, public health departments, and educational/health care institutions. The steering committee was encouraged and supported by Texas Tech University Regional Academic Health Center in Odessa, which also provided a convenient base of operations in the initial stages. Many other entities also provided support in the form of meeting space, travel for the respective representatives, materials, and supplies.
In its infancy, TRHA was based in West Texas, where most of the early membership and enthusiasm was generated. Its initial name was in fact, the West Texas Rural Health Association. As the Association grew and evolved, other regions of the state provided interest, participation, and membership, bolstered by the commitment of TRHA’s Board of Directors and the membership to ensure that the organization represented rural health concerns for the whole state.
The primary forum for the exchange of information and ideas has been the TRHA annual conference, where a mix of persons from diverse backgrounds has resulted in a considerable amount of enthusiastic and fruitful dialogue. Uncounted informal “networking” relationships are known to have emerged from these conferences, identifying overlapping missions, and strategies to deal with shrinking resources.
At these conferences much emphasis is placed on information and education for policymakers, reduction and elimination of fragmentation and duplication, as well as an ongoing search for potential economies that can be realized through various entities working together, redirecting or pooling resources.
The TRHA continues to expand the horizons of rural health policy, advocacy and education. We hope that you will join us as well.