39th Annual Rural Health Conference

Innovations and Opportunities

September 13 & 14, 2012
Tucson, Arizona


The 39th Annual Arizona Rural Health Conference ‘Innovations and Opportunities’ was held September 13 & 14, 2012, at the Desert Diamond Casino & Hotel in Tucson, Arizona.


  • Discuss collaborations to sustain health care services that retain and recruit the rural workforce, and expand residency programs.
  • Disseminate information about innovative programs that address access to quality care among diverse population groups and cultures.
  • Learn about the impact of the ACA ruling on rural health systems and Arizona small businesses.
  • Provide updates on the ACA for Tribal communities.
  • Disseminate information on expanding health information technology and health information exchanges in ‘white space’ areas; address challenges and provide a better understanding of HIE options.


The conference presenters were remarkable! The general and workshop presentations addressed one of the three tracks: Access to Care; Quality of Care; Optimizing Cost and offered best-practice models, solutions to challenges, and suggestions on program development and implementation.

Click here to view the full list of presenters and a description of their respective presentations.

Key Presentations Summary

  • Denny Berens, former director of the Nebraska Office of Rural Health and past president of the National Rural Health Association, delivered the Andrew W. Nichols Memorial Rural and Border Health Policy Lecture. Mr. Berens presentation entitled ‘New Paradigm Thinking for Rural and Rural Health’ focused on positive reinforcement to move rural communities forward; how to better utilize the leadership in a rural community; and deciding on what issues should be addressed.
  • Chad Campbell, PA-C, is the owner of Hope Family Care, a four-provider family practice in rural Arizona. Mr. Campbell delivered the Bruce Gulledge Lecture with a presentation titled ‘Lovin Rural Arizona.’ Mr. Campbell’s presentation focused on medical provider recruitment and retention strategies for rural areas and discussed how to design a business plan to maintain a successful rural practice.
  • Dan Derksen, MD, recently joined the University of Arizona, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Faculty as Chair of Public Health Policy & Management Section in the Community, Environment, and Policy Division. Dr. Derksen researched and drafted the legislative provisions to improve the nation’s supply and distribution of the health workforce in Title V of the ACA. His presentation was not only timely but current-helped participants understand the implications and opportunities of how the ACA Supreme Court rulings, and ACA implementation, will affect rural health care access, insurance coverage, Medicaid expansion, and the health workforce providing care to the newly covered.


Major sponsors for this year’s conference were the Arizona Health Facilities Authority the Arizona Area Health Education Centers Program and the Arizona Telemedicine Program.

Additional support came from the following sponsors:

Platinum Level

Bridgeway Health Solutions, Tempe, Arizona | Cenpatico, Tempe, Arizona

Silver Level

Arizona Physicians IPA brought to you by UnitedHealthCare Community Plan, Tucson, Arizona | Arizona Rural Health Association, Apache Junction, Arizona | Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Copper Level

NARBHA, Flagstaff, Arizona | Prognosis Health Information Systems, Houston, Texas | Radiology Ltd., Tucson, Arizona

Their generous contributions allowed us to keep the registration fees at a minimum and reduced registration fees for presenters and students.


The conference yielded a total of 168 registrants, exhibitors, and presenters representing 29 cities in Arizona plus others from Texas and Nebraska.

Our diverse audience included:

Administrators | Program Workers | Consultants | Faculty (UA, NAU) | Educators | Family Physicians | Nurses | Physician Assistant-Certified | Behavioral Health Specialists | Attorneys | Students | Hospital CEOs


Exhibitors continue to be a highlight of the conference and a great resource. Participants looked forward to meeting the vendors, learning about the services and/or products they offer and taking back information to share with their organization and community. We are fortunate to have vendors that come back and exhibit and look forward to securing additional vendors at next year’s conference.


Our statewide conference planning committee was phenomenal! They were instrumental in identifying the conference theme and tracks, selecting workshop presentations, and promoting the conference. We sincerely appreciate their time and input.


Conference Contact

Feel free to contact Rebecca Ruiz with any questions regarding the conference at:
Phone: (520) 626-2243

Email: raruiz@email.arizona.edu

Please continue to check the website for updates.