Tackling Health Inequalities in Rural and Remote Communities – University to Host European Forum

14 May 2024

Written by: CThomas

This June, rural healthcare experts from across Europe will convene in Lincoln for the 13th annual European Rural and Isolated Practitioners Association (EURIPA) Forum.

This June, rural healthcare experts from across Europe will convene in Lincoln for the 13th annual European Rural and Isolated Practitioners Association (EURIPA) Forum.

Hosted by the newly established Lincoln Institute for Rural and Coastal Health (LIRCH) – part of the University of Lincoln – the three-day Forum will bring together delegates from across Europe to address pressing health issues affecting rural populations.

Taking place between the 20 – 22 June, 2024, the Forum will see a number of topics discussed including isolation, deprivation, access to care, professional education, and personal development for healthcare professionals; all framed around the core theme of ‘Tackling Health Inequalities in Rural and Remote Communities’.

EURIPA, dedicated to serving the health needs of rural communities and practitioners, selected Lincoln as the first UK host for its annual forum, providing a platform for General Practitioners (GPs) and other healthcare professionals from across the continent to spotlight challenges and showcase initiatives aimed at addressing health disparities in rural and coastal communities.

Professor Mark Gussy, Global Professor in Rural Health and Social Care at the University of Lincoln and Director of LIRCH, stated: “The 2024 Forum will address critical concerns around place-based population health, seeking to understand health inequalities in rural and remote communities across Europe. Key themes will include community engagement, rural workforce, dialogue with stakeholders, and the role of digital technology in primary healthcare.”

The opening ceremony on 20 June will feature Professor Jonathan Van Tam, Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Medicine & Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham, delivering the inaugural address. Professor Van Tam, former Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, will bring invaluable insights from his accomplished career, including his experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Distinguished keynote speakers include Pauline Wilson, known for her work in the Shetland Isles establishing a voluntary credentialing process for doctors in remote rural locations, and Toni Dedeu, Deputy Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) European Centre for Primary Care in Kazakhstan.

Doctor Ferdinando Petrazzuoli, family doctor in Italy, contract professor at the School of Specialization in Community Medicine and Primary Care, University of Naples “Federico II”, and co-chair of the Lincoln Forum Scientific Committee, stated: “As reported by the WHO, in the health sector and beyond, limited data and analysis of the situation of rural populations, and in particular of the rural poor, contribute to their invisibility and neglect in policy processes in many countries. Fortunately, this is changing with an ever-increasing amount of good research being produced in the context of European rural primary care.”

The Forum will mark the first major engagement undertaken by the LIRCH since it was established, thanks to a transformative £10.9 million funding grant from UK Research and Innovation, and is further recognition of the University’s sector leading research around rural health.

Further information on the EURIPA Forum can be found here.