Childcare is Essential for Everyone

Chlldcare is a good community factor to begin with, because it illustrates how individual social determinants of health are interrelated, how community health and community economic prosperity are really the same thing and how the pandemic has made some things very clear. To me, it’s sort of odd that childcare is even an issue.  People, assuming they don’t really grasp […]

A Plan for the Future

Things Are Not Okay In Rural America Many, if not most, of our rural communities are in decline, and have been for many years.  The simplest explanation for that is that the world has changed.  What, exactly, it was that changed to cause a particular place to begin its downward slide may differ, to some degree, from one place to […]

A Perfect Storm and a Plea for Help

I sometimes wonder what a potential future grandchild might ask me about this time we’re living in and how I might answer.  Of course, we’re still IN this time and it’s pretty much impossible to say how it’s all going to play out over the next months and years.  I hope I have some good stories to tell, as well […]

An Almost Perfect Declaration and an Incomplete Revolution

The fourth of July always sets me to thinking about things.  Part of the reason for that is the Declaration of Independence.  It is a magnificent document—certainly one of the most important documents in history.  There is much about it that I admire.  The second paragraph is the one most of us are familiar with.  That’s where the “all men […]

Things Were Not Okay Before. They REALLY Aren’t Okay Now.

Things are not okay.  I’ve been opening articles and other things I’ve written about rural America with that sentence for months.  I started using it because it’s a concise, snappy assessment of the overall situation in rural communities, like mine.  I wanted to make the point that the general feeling that many people have that “there are things we need […]

Viral Vitality

This is about a serious issue that I believe many people aren’t understanding. Now, again, I stress that I’m not a physician. I’m also not an epidemiologist, who specializes in the study of the spread of disease. I’m physiologist. I have some understanding of immunology, microbiology and other related fields that are pertinent to the current situation. I’m not an […]

A Coronavirus Primer

I don’t know about y’all, but when I hear or see things related to the coronavirus, I kind of feel like I walked into a movie in the middle.  I thought I might try to fill in some of the missing holes in the plot.  Before I do, however, I want to make it clear that I am not a […]

Engaging a Rural Community: Living and Learning

One learns.  One lives, and one learns.  Sometimes, learning comes as the result of patient teaching.  Sometimes, it is the result of hard experience.  Sometimes, one is part of a discussion or one hears something and it’s like the scales fall from one’s eyes.  Sometimes, one suddenly just “gets” something.  For better or worse, it seems like all of these […]

The Magic of Santa Claus

I originally wrote this for our local newspaper, where I write a science and community health column.  I’m posting it here as a public service.  It’s not about rural community health, per se, but I think it isn’t that far off, either.  It’s about heart and kindness and magic.  The world needs more magic, now more than ever.  If you […]


Most of us are decent people.  We just want to have a fair opportunity to work to support ourselves and our families, and if there is any money (or time) left after that, we might give some of it to help people in need or other causes we care about.  Americans are generous people.  Americans donated more money to various […]