Rural Health Leadership Radio™

Over the last ten years, over 100 rural hospitals have closed their doors. Roughly one in three rural hospitals have been identified as “at risk.” If there was ever a need for strong leadership, that time is now. RHLR’s mission is to provide a forum to have conversations with rural health leaders to discuss and share ideas about what is working, what is not working, lessons learned, success stories, strategies, things to avoid and anything else you want to talk and hear about. RHLR provides a voice for rural health. The only investment is your time, and our goal is to make sure you receive a huge return on your investment. For more information, visit or e-mail
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Rural Health Leadership Radio™


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Now displaying: October, 2016
Oct 25, 2016

In addition to being the president of the National Rural Health Association, Lisa Kilawee is also a physician recruiter for Ascension Wisconsin, working in rural Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Lisa has a 30-year history of working with rural communities and a 25-year history of working in rural health and rural healthcare facilities.

“You see that all throughout rural health; people standing up for what they believe in to make things better for the folks in rural communities.”

Lisa has a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of South Dakota and she's certified as a diplomat with the American Society of Physician Recruiters. She's also an ambassador for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Her career has included working for the South Dakota State Office of Rural Health within the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, and for the Community Healthcare Association working with community healthcare centers, and as director of Rural Health Services for Avera Health in South Dakota for 12 years. 18 months ago, Lisa moved to the rural village of Amherst, Wisconsin with a population of 1,200 people, and works as a physician recruiter for Ministry Health Ascension Wisconsin.

Oct 18, 2016

Janelle Ali-Dinar, PhD. is the Vice President of Rural Health for MyGenetx. She's also the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for SelfCare for HealthCare, and the COO of MedFirst Partners. Janelle is a national award-winning transformational leader, executive, corporate strategist and communicator. Her demonstrated senior leadership as a CEO, COO, Senior Vice President, and Regional Executive spans the globe working with Fortune 500 companies and hospital systems from Los Angeles to the Middle East, Europe, the Pacific Rim, all the way to rural America.

“A job title just gives us a reference point, if you will, of how we're going to do our day-to-day work and some framework in context in terms of where my job begins.”

As a well-respected policy advocate at the state and federal levels, Janelle frequents Capitol Hill and serves on several state and national boards advancing rural, public, and minority health and healthcare. Janelle has had great success teaching at and facilitating within, rural and urban hospitals and clinics providing the principles and implementation formulas of transformational leadership. Janelle holds a doctorate in marketing, communications, and recently graduated from a healthcare leadership institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.

Oct 11, 2016

David Swenson, Ph.D., is the Director of the MBA in Rural Healthcare at the College of St. Scholastica, the only US college to focus exclusively on rural health leadership.

Dr. Swenson has been in the healthcare field for nearly 50 years as a psychologist, healthcare educator and mental health administrator in Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Dr. Swenson defines leadership as the process of getting things done through people.  He thinks this definition is important to the understanding leadership because it emphasizes the aspects of working with and inspiring others to create change.

“In physiology, for example, we certainly understand if we affect one physiological system, it often will have a ripple effect through other parts of the system in human behavior. Sometimes cognition and emotion. Things are really connected and we understand that in physiology. What we need to do is also understand that in our organizations and our communities in rural health, so that when we tweak something in one area, it can have a beneficial or it can sometimes have adverse effects elsewhere.”

According to Dr. Swenson, systems thinking is one of the most valuable leadership strengths a rural health leader needs to develop.  Systems thinking allows for the consideration of the “ripple effects” of the decisions we make, the consideration of the “downstream” effects of our decision.  A solution needs to be considered in one context at a time; what impact will it have on the problem trying to be solved, what impact will it have on some other part of the organization, what impact will it have on the community, and what impact will it have in some other area or place.

Oct 4, 2016

Marc Augsburger is the President and CEO of Caro Community Hospital in Caro, MI, part of the “thumb” area of Michigan.  Marc was born and raised in rural NW Ohio.  He graduated from nursing school in 1988 with Associate’s Degree in nursing and went on to earn his BSN and MBA with an emphasis in healthcare.  Marc primarily worked in critical care and emergency nursing prior to moving into hospital administration.

“…making rounds as often as possible to get to know your staff better really puts you in a better position to gain the support of your staff.”

Marc believes that one of the best ways a leader can engage employees is by simply getting to know them.

“…for every employee's child ten and under for their birthday. I actually send them a birthday card and stick a $2 bill in it.”

Previously, Marc was the CEO at Horn Memorial Hospital in Ida Grove, IA.  He assumed the CEO role at Caro Community Hospital in April 2013. 

Marc has been married to Melissa since 1999 and they have two daughters, Greta and Molly.