Tuesday: Finding Ways Forward For Rural Communities That Already Faced Big Challenges | St. Louis Public Radio

Tuesday: Finding Ways Forward For Rural Communities That Already Faced Big Challenges

Jun 3, 2020

This live interview was initially scheduled to take place on “St. Louis on the Air” at noon on June 2. Due to breaking news coverage, the conversation will instead take place on Tuesday, June 9. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live and even call in (314-382-8255) to join the discussion with our guest.

For Dr. Sameer Vohra and his colleagues, a focus on improving the lives of people in southern and central Illinois has long been at the heart of their work. But now, in the age of COVID-19, the urgency of their mission is more obvious than ever.

Vohra leads SIU School of Medicine's Department of Population Science and Policy as its founding chair, and the coronavirus pandemic has magnified many of the challenges that the region’s small cities and rural communities already faced.

In addition to leading SIU School of Medicine's Department of Population Science and Policy, Dr. Sameer Vohra is an assistant professor of pediatrics, medical humanities and law.
Credit SIU School of Medicine

As Vohra and crew continue their research, interventions and policy recommendations aimed at addressing existing health disparities and building stronger communities throughout the state, the impacts of the current crisis loom large.

“The issues before and after COVID-19 are very similar,” the practicing pediatrician told St. Louis on the Air, “but the way we view them has to be through the lens of what [the pandemic] has done.”

And even though many of the communities in the 66 Illinois counties Vohra’s department serves have not seen nearly the same number of COVID-19 cases as more metropolitan areas have, the broader impacts of the crisis could be devastating.

On Tuesday’s show (June 9), Vohra will join host Sarah Fenske to share his insights on these challenges — and what can be done to address them.

The conversation will also include comments from Audrey Gough, the health director for Shelby County, Missouri, about what she’s observed on the other side of the Mississippi River.

Do you live in a more rural area of Missouri or Illinois? What concerns do you have about your own community in the months and years ahead? Tweet us (@STLonAir), send an email to talk@stlpublicradio.orgor share your thoughts via our St. Louis on the Air Facebook group, and help inform our coverage.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.