New Directions Radio: Rural Medical Issues

New Directions Radio helps get the word out about new approaches to rural medical issues for folks located in rural and isolated areas.

| March/April 1975


New Directions Radio offers a new direction in health care, communications and health and amateur radio.


Copthorne Macdonald is an amateur radio enthusiast, inventor of slow scan television, and founder of New Directions Radio. New Direction Radio article MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 32, March/April 1975.  

However we define health, we all agree that life without it is a bummer. Staying well involves two sorts of activities:

[1] those which help to prevent malfunction of the body in the first place and
[2] those that help the system begin to function properly again after a breakdown has occurred.

While rural folks may avoid many physical problems because of the good food they eat and the healthful exercise they get, they've always been at a real disadvantage when illness or accident does strike. Many small communities have no doctor, let alone hospital ... and residents of really isolated locations face severe transportation problems in reaching medical assistance. Here, it seems, is one more area of our lives where those pioneer principles of self–sufficiency and mutual aid need to be applied.

A New Direction in Health Care

Our present health care system has been called "physician centered". Until recently, "going to the doctor" was the only way to get competent help for a physical problem you couldn't handle yourself. Since there aren't enough physicians to go around, however — especially in rural areas — not everyone who needs treatment receives it.

While the matter of training more M.D.'s is debated endlessly, with little action, help has been arriving from other directions. The terms nurse practitioner and physician's assistant — which are unfamiliar to most of us — identify two new and growing sources of aid in health care.

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