About the Series

Minnesotans often use the phrase “rural-urban divide” when talking about the values and priorities that seem to differ across our state. But in reality, our challenges and opportunities are truly interconnected – though the solutions we design may look a bit different in Minneapolis compared to Mankato, or in Brainerd vs. Bloomington. This four-event series – hosted by the Center for Rural Policy and Development and the Citizens League – will bridge the divide between urban & rural Minnesota by exploring our shared challenges and how to design a future that works for our unique communities. Each event will begin with a look at CRPD’s latest research, followed by a panel discussion with speakers from urban and rural areas.


Next discussion

Thursday, June 3rd: Examining Healthcare Access

Access to healthcare services is critical to good health, yet both rural and urban Minnesota residents face a variety of access barriers.

On Thursday, June 3 at 2:30 pm, join the Center for Rural Policy & Development (CRPD) and the Citizens League for the latest INTERCONNECTED, a series of candid conversations that bridge the divide between urban & rural Minnesota by exploring shared challenges. This INTERCONNECTED conversation focuses on healthcare access in urban & rural areas. 

Toby Freier – President, New Ulm Medical Center, Allina Health
Mark Jones – Executive Director,  MN Rural Health Association
Vayong Moua – Director, Racial & Health Equity Advocacy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN
Kelly Asche – CRPD Research Associate, New London

When we talk about healthcare, cost is often the focus. But broader accessibility issues remain a challenge.

Both rural and urban residents encounter barriers to healthcare that limit their ability to obtain needed care. In both settings, healthcare services must be available and obtainable in a timely manner. And even when an adequate supply of healthcare services exists in the community, other factors, such as transportation and language barriers, can limit access.

Questions in the conversation will include:

  • How does the lack of healthcare access affect population health and patient well-being in a community?
  • What are barriers to healthcare access in rural and urban areas?
  • Why is primary care access important for rural and urban residents?
  • Have efforts to cut healthcare costs created unexpected access challenges?
  • What types of healthcare services are frequently difficult to access in rural and urban areas?


Register today for another engaging INTERCONNECTED conversation.


Previous discussions

Thursday, April 29, 2021: Minnesota’s Workforce – Help Wanted, Everywhere: click here to view the discussion.

Monday, March 29, 2021: Childcare – A Complex Crisis: click here to view the discussion.

Future topics!
We will be holding these Interconnected Conversations monthly where our topics will revolve around our shared interests in health care, work force, housing and equity & inclusion in our communities.  Check back often for the latest information and registration links.  Pre-registration is required for each Conversation. Sign up here to receive notifications on future discussions.