National Conference

Arthritis, AgrAbility, and Rural Health Conference

Downtown Hilton, Knoxville, Tennessee


The Arthritis, AgrAbility and Rural Health Conference (AARHC) was held August 24-27 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  This conference was a combined effort between National AgrAbility partners the Arthritis Foundation and Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, with the Tennessee AgrAbility Project.  The AARHC presented an exciting opportunity for rural professionals and farmers alike by offering sessions that assisted rural professionals in becoming more aware of evidence-based strategies to aid farmers and ranchers battling the many forms of arthritis and other disabilities, while aiding farmers in learning how to adjust their operations to maintain their independence and success despite a disability.

The AARHC consisted of an Arthritis Pre-Conference on Monday evening with speakers from the local Arthritis Foundation office and an exercise session!  Tuesday’s Arthritis Conference included a full day of speakers for a total of 9 sessions.  Thursday’s schedule was focused on AgrAbility training with a variety of topics ranging from farm assessment to bee keeping, and veteran’s affairs.  The star of the show was Dr. Deborah Reed, AgNurse, who presented the keynote session on both the Tuesday Arthritis conference and the Thursday AgrAbility training!  Dr. Reed’s humor and life experiences allowed her to connect very well with the audience.


The conference meals allowed all attendees the chance to network and mingle, and all attendees were provided the chance view vendor, non-profit, and agricultural exhibits, as well as an assistive technology show-and-tell.  A full-day of Tennessee agritourism was included, and allowed attendees to explore the University of Tennessee’s Veterinary School, Horticulture Gardens, Turfgrass Research Center, and Farmer’s Market.  And a trip to Tennessee wouldn’t be complete without taking the short drive to nearby Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlingburg, where the attendees were given a behind the scene’s tour of the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery!


Throughout the 4-day conference, a total of 38 people participated in some way, and 10 states were represented (IN, KY, CA, CO, NY, NM, TN, KS, NC, and VA).