Indiana University Rural Conference

Monday, May 13, 2019, 8:00 AM – Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 5:00 PM

French Lick Springs Resort-Hoosier Room Wing
8670 West State Road 56
French Lick, IN 47432

Join us

Join the IU Center for Rural Engagement for a two-day conference focused on the issues of greatest importance to Indiana’s rural communities. Connect with leaders from across Indiana, Indiana University researchers, and colleagues from a variety of fields as you learn and share your perspective on the opportunities and needs facing rural Indiana. The conference is designed for community leaders, residents, and professionals from a variety of fields who seek to create a stronger Indiana.

Join us for both days or a single day. Doors open at 8 a.m.; sessions begin at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. The full conference rate is $85 per person. The rate to attend only one day is $50 per person. Registration includes all sessions, meals, and materials. Scholarships are available but limited; contact for more information.

Day One: Taking Action for a Healthier Indiana

May 13, 2019

Examine the pressing issues of mental health and addiction in rural Indiana and identify steps and methods to make a positive change in your community and state. Learn about funding opportunities, programs, and initiatives tailored to rural communities and discuss successful models launched in the Hoosier state. You will choose three breakout sessions, hear from state leaders at breakfast and lunch, and participate in hands-on training sessions.

Day Two: Collaborating for a Stronger Indiana

May 14, 2019

Engage in sessions that cover a broad spectrum of topics on quality of place, health and wellness, and resilience. Connect with partners who are making an impact in our state and learn about resources and approaches you can use in your hometown. Identify ways to harness the resources of Indiana University, the State of Indiana, and other key organizations to build and enhance a thriving community. You will choose three breakout sessions, enjoy keynote speakers at breakfast and lunch, and join roundtable discussions that lead to action.


  • The Status of Rural Kids in Indiana (Charlie Geier, Indiana Youth Institute)

  • Indiana School Mental Health Initiative: Goals and Outcomes (Dr. Cathy Pratt, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community)

  • Pharmacies and the Opioid Crisis (Ed Hinds, RGPH)

  • Mental health and addiction in Indiana (Dr. Jennifer Walthall, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration)

  • Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Initiatives (Sally Petty, Indiana State Department of Health)

  • IU Grand Challenge: Responding to the Addictions Crisis (Panel discussion)

  • Trauma Informed Care (Dr. John Keesler, IU School of Social Work)

  • Project ECHO: Technology-enabled Collaborative Learning for Better Health in Indiana (Andrea Janota, MPH, and Kristen Kelley, IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health)

  • How Computer Adaptive Tests Can Quickly Assess Behavioral Health Problems (Dr. Brian D’Onofrio, IU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences)

  • Indiana Rural Opioid Consortium: Planning and Action for a Healthier State (Dr. Cody Mullen and Allison Orwig, MBA, Indiana Rural Health Association)

  • Naloxone Training

  • Roundtable Discussions on Health Topics

Note: Presentation schedule subject to change.

  • Karst Aquifers and Municipal Water Resilience (Dr. Lee Florea, Indiana Geological and Water Survey, and Rand Heazlitt, Town Manager, Town of Corydon)
  • Funding for Rural Community Development (State of Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs)
  • Rural Housing Initiatives (Panel Discussion)
  • Beyond the Gates: University-Community Engagement (Provost Lauren Robel, Indiana University Bloomington)
  • Rural Arts and Culture: University-Community Collaborations (Panel discussion)
  • Environmental Resilience for Rural Communities (Andrea Webster, IU Environmental Resilience Institute)
  • Parks, Recreation, and Tourism in the Indiana Uplands (Dr. Gina Depper, Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University)
  • Building a Regional Innovation Ecosystem (Panel Discussion)
  • Food Systems: Increasing Local Food Consumption (Dr. James Farmer and Jodee Ellett, MS, IU Sustainable Food Systems Science)
  • Roundtable Discussions on Resilience and Quality of Place Topics

Note: Presentation schedule subject to change.


Stay onsite with our group rate at the French Lick Springs Resort. To receive the group rate, make your reservation by April 14.

Make a reservation

Things to do

French Lick has a wealth of activities and dining experiences. Check out the Visit French Lick website to see what's happening during your visit.

Find things to do


Orange County is the 2018-2019 partner through the center's Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative. Learn about current collaborations.

Learn about collaborations

Thanks to our partners

Healthcare Partners Planning Committee
State of Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs

For information about sponsorships, download the sponsorship details sheet.