KaSandra Hensley, Assistant Center Director of the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (NE KY AHEC) has been named President of the Kentucky Rural Health Association (KRHA).
Within this position, Hensley will supervise all businesses and affairs of the Association; preside over meetings of the members, the Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee; as well as serve as ex-officio on all sub-committees. As president, she may execute any formal documents authorized by the Board of Directors.
A Morehead native, Hensley has worked at the NE KY AHEC for nearly 10 years and has dedicated that time to positively impacting the service region through multiple initiatives. Specifically, specializing in the development of healthcare-related continuing education programs for existing medical providers and serving as Project Director on multiple subsidies all focused on addressing the northeastern Kentucky’s opioid crisis. She looks forward to continuing this positive impact within her new role at the KRHA.
“What strikes me most is that many communities within our service region are very isolated,” Hensley said. “For a person needing healthcare intervention – their battle might include driving long-distance on rural roads to access the health care they need – maybe twice or three times a week. Geographic isolation is one of the many obstacles being faced by rural Kentuckians when it comes to healthcare. As we know, rural communities have lower financial resources and more chronic conditions, and are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured. To make matters worse, due to the financial pressures during COVID, four rural hospitals across Kentucky, and even more across the country have closed down, eliminating essential services and access to care. Even more so, the facts we face every day are rural areas have fewer primary care doctors than urban areas, and healthcare systems are often trying to serve communities with an overworked and shrinking healthcare workforce.”
Hensley says she is honored to have this opportunity. During her term, she will advocate for rural areas who are not receiving the access to quality health care they deserve.
“I look forward to coordinating conversations with state and federal leaders, updating policies, strengthening student chapters, and simply just advocating for rural health,” Hensley said. “KRHA is fortunate to have passionate members that serve on and chair our committees, and I am grateful to be a part of this advocacy.”
The Kentucky Rural Health Association began in 1998 and was developed according to the National Rural Health Association and their other state-level organizations. Their mission is to education providers and consumers on rural health issues and advocate action by private and public leaders in order to assure equitable access to health care for rural Kentuckians. KRHA has over 600 members across the Commonwealth.
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