Disparities between urban and rural health care are a nationwide crisis, and Missouri is no exception. The overwhelming majority of Missouri counties have shortages in primary or mental health care providers, and rural residents are significantly more likely to die from accidents and disease than those who live in urban areas. But despite these grim realities, the divide is not insurmountable.
As the president of the University of Missouri System, I have called for the full reach and resources of our network of universities and health systems to improve the quality and accessibility of health care for all Missourians. The result is the NextGen Precision Health Initiative, a full-throttle investment in the health care infrastructure of our state.
Bringing together expert faculty, state-of-the-art technology and strategic partnerships with industry leaders, this initiative will boost our ability to deliver medical breakthroughs and care to underserved communities. Take our partnership with Siemens Healthineers, which offers our students, researchers and medical professionals access to advanced health technologies. As the UM System trains and deploys skilled doctors and specialists to careers in rural communities, they will carry these technologies — and the breakthroughs they enable — from paved city blocks to gravel roads and pastures.