Continuing Population Loss for Rural Areas. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) tracks demographic change in non-metro areas and conducts research to help explain the relationship between population change and socio-economic well-being of rural residents. In its Population & Migration report released last week, the ERS finds that 14% of residents live in non-metro counties across the U.S., which cover 72 percent of the nation’s land area. This is only a -0.4 percentage loss over last year, but population loss is not evenly distributed across all rural areas. For those regions experiencing the most out-migration, ERS identifies rising unemployment, housing market challenges and energy sector developments as factors in a continuing decline in rural populations.
HHS Cybersecurity Keeps an Eye on Threats. Last week, Microsoft and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported on vulnerabilities with Microsoft products similar to those that allowed the “WannaCry” virus to shut down large computer networks in May. DHS has identified a new threat, labeled “Hidden Cobra” that could possibly target health care and public health systems in the U.S. Rural facilities may not be targeted as much as larger systems, but they may be less likely to have the resources to respond if they are hit, so it is especially important to remain vigilant and avoid these threats altogether. HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) monitors cyber threats and maintains an up-to-date website with resources that may help.
To learn more regarding Funding Opportunities, Rural Health Research and Policy Updates from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy visit: http://www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/