Manu Khare, PhD, is a re research assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, with specific interests in obesity and chronic disease risk reduction in underserved populations and women’s health. Her research uses community-based behavioral lifestyle change interventions to motivate women by providing them with skills to increase physical activity and approved eating behaviors.
“There is a give and take between the two sides, and we are actively consciously trying to listen to what the community is saying.”
Martin MacDowell, DrPH, is a research professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. In that role, he guides curriculum development evaluation and student education in the rural physician and pharmacy programs, and is also a faculty member in the public health program. His scholarly and consulting interests focus on program evaluation, health services research and population health epidemiologic research, and he has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles and presented at many national meetings. Prior to working for the University of Illinois, Dr. MacDowell was a tenured faculty member in Xavier University’s graduate program in health services administration.
“You begin to get this culture of health going, where people think about the importance of their behavior in relation to what happens. For a long time in the U.S., we sort of left that to the medical community, and now, a lot of evidence shows that what you do yourself has a big impact on your health.”
Together, Dr. Khare and Dr. MacDowell created Win with Wellness, a multicomponent, collaborative, community-based initiative formed to address obesity and chronic disease risk in two rural Illinois counties.
Glenn Robinson has been the President of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Hillcrest since September 2007. He previously held several CEO positions at hospitals in Texas, Oregon and South Carolina.
“You have got to be willing to learn from others, and then you've got to be able to pass it along.”
A Georgia native and graduate of the University of Alabama, Glenn completed graduate school at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
He has more than 30 years’ experience in hospital and healthcare management, is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, has received several professional awards and serves on a number of national and state healthcare policy boards. He also serves as an Adjunct Lecturer for both Baylor University and Trinity University and is involved in several non-profit organizations and community councils.
Terry’s role as Senior Advisor is focused on Rural Health Leadership and Policy. Terry has more than thirty years’ experience in rural health care working with rural health leaders in 47 states. He has facilitated seven national summit meetings, written dozens of published articles, led eleven national demonstration projects in rural health and helped to develop three national health care delivery models: critical access hospitals (CAH), frontier extended stay clinics (FESC) and frontier community health integration models (FCHIP).
“It's become very clear over the course of my career that leadership is the single most important determinant of success for virtually any endeavor for any organization.”
Terry served as president of the Minnesota Public Health Association, twice as president of the National Cooperative of Health Networks and was Executive Director of both the National Rural Health Resource Center and the Minnesota Center for Rural Health. He testified on a variety of health topics at Congressional committees and subcommittees at the White House and participated in numerous rural health research projects. He has been teaching management and leadership for the MBA program at The College of St. Scholastica for eleven years, and previously lectured at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Terry received the 2014 Presidents Award from the National Rural Health Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rural Health Accountable Care Organization.
Mike Huff is the CEO of Olney Hamilton Hospital, a critical access hospital located in Olney, Texas, which is in the north central part of Texas, about half-way between the Dallas and Amarillo. Mike has been the CEO there since 2011. Prior to that he was the President of the East Georgia Division of St. Joseph’s Health Systems in Atlanta, GA, and President & CEO of St. Joseph’s at East Georgia, a critical access hospital.
“Yogi Berra used to say, "when you come to the fork in the road, take it". That's kind of the way I feel now in this environment.”
Under Mike’s leadership, Olney Hamilton Hospital has been recognized as
In 2016 Olney Hamilton Hospital was recognized as a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital for the second year in a row.
Dr. James Michael Keegan is an infectious disease specialist with more than 25 years of experience in the medical field and serves as the PYA’s Antibiotic Stewardship Program Service Line Leader. Throughout his career of practicing medicine, Dr. Keegan has taken an active role in improving the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes by serving in numerous medical director and hospital executive leadership positions. Dr. Keegan has taken special interest in solving the negative impact of the over reliance on broad-spectrum antibiotics and has designed and implemented numerous and successful antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) that have shown to decrease the incidence of drug-resistant bacteria.
“When we interact with rural hospitals, particularly critical access hospitals, there’s an opportunity to influence the prescribing patterns of the whole community."
Some of the titles Dr. Keegan has held include Medical Director of Antibiotic Stewardship, Medical Director of infection control, Chief Medical Officer, & Chief Executive Officer at healthcare facilities in South Dakota. He founded a healthcare consulting firm centered around the provision of antibiotic stewardship programs for hospitals and communities across the country and is a consultant to the South Dakota Department of Health regarding antibiotic stewardship. Dr. Keegan has also served as a Clinical Associate Professor at University of South Dakota School of Medicine and authored multiple articles and publications related to antibiotic stewardship and other infectious disease-related topics.
Gary currently serves as both Senior Faculty and Vice President of Education Operations for the Association for Rural Healthcare Professional Coding (ARHPC) while serving the state and federally-funded medical community. Gary has a particular focus on helping Rural Health, Federally-Qualified, Public, and School-based Health Centers to manage the integration of clinical documentation regulations into their healthcare organization’s business operations such as professional coding, medical billing, and compliance auditing, by educating staff who can carry out a plan to unify its people, its processes, and its supporting technologies.
“These people see that survival doesn’t always equal success."
Gary’s primary focus with the ARHPC is to create educational collaborations with state rural health, primary care, and hospital associations who seek to help the careers of their members and improve the financial success of their member medical facilities through ongoing education. He earned his Masters of Science in Health Informatics degree from the University of Illinois – Chicago in March 2014 preceded by a degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business in 1994.
He enjoys attending sporting events, finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants, playing and watching live music, and making his 2 sons laugh.
Teryl Eisinger is the Executive Director of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, a national nonprofit membership organization that represents the 50 State Offices of Rural Health around the nation.
Created in 1995, NOSORH serves as an influential voice for rural health concerns and promotes a healthy rural America through state and community leadership.
“We were standing on a street corner in DC and Karen Madden, who was still the Director of the State Office of Rural Health for New York said, "Hey, we should have a National Rural Health Day."
A long-time health care professional, Eisinger has worked in rural health and health promotion for underserved populations for the past 20 years. Prior to taking the helm of NOSORH, Eisinger was assistant director of the Nevada Office of Rural Health and the Northeastern Nevada Area Health Education Center.
Throughout her career, Eisinger has overseen a wide array of programming initiatives, including interdisciplinary training, state loan repayment, rural health outreach, abstinence education and other federally funded programs. She has also provided volunteer leadership to various rural and urban non-profit organizations focused on economic development and rural health such as the St. John Community Health Advisory Group, Technical Assistance Services Center, Rural Health Information Hub, and Rural Health Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Eisinger served as past chair of Nevada Rural Health Centers, a large community health center with many locations throughout the state.
Teryl is a member of the National Rural Health Association, the Michigan Society of Association Executives, and the American Society of Association Executives. She received her undergraduate degree in allied health management from Northern Arizona University and holds a Master’s of Arts degree from the University of Nevada-Reno. She has taught communication, marketing and business skills courses at Great Basin College in Elko, Nevada.
Improving the health status of people in America’s most underserved communities has been the mission and calling of Benjamin Anderson, who currently serves as CEO of Kearny County Hospital, a comprehensive rural health complex located in southwest Kansas.
Anderson has received national acclaim for his work in physician recruitment, health promotion, women’s health initiatives, rural healthcare delivery innovation, and research-based transitions from volume to value. His work has been featured by National Public Radio, Sports Illustrated, ABC News, the Associated Press, and in nearly every major healthcare publication. He regularly leads teams of people to serve at Eden Children’s Village, an orphanage and medical clinic in northern Zimbabwe.
“One of the key things that I try to talk about is, the providers grew up in one culture and the administrators grew up in another culture. That culture may be in the same hospital, but they could've been miles apart.”
His career in healthcare administration began in 2009 as CEO of Ashland Health Center, a struggling hospital and the only healthcare provider in a Kansas town of 900 people. There, he led an effort that dramatically revitalized the community’s healthcare services, recruiting and retaining several medical providers to serve a multi-county area on the border of Kansas and Oklahoma.
Benjamin holds Bachelor of English and Master of Business Administration degrees from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. This January, he completed the course work for his Master of Healthcare Delivery Science degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. He and his wife, Kaila, have four children ages 3, 3, 1 and 1.
Dr. Davis is an experienced senior physician with a unique skill set derived from his service as a hospital interim C.E.O., the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chief Medical Officer, President of the Medical Staff, and entrepreneur, along with 28 years of running a diverse clinical practice. Dr. Davis has proven leadership and financial management expertise as demonstrated by his role in a hospital turnaround and the operation of a profitable private business.
“One of the key things that I try to talk about is, the providers grew up in one culture and the administrators grew up in another culture. That culture may be in the same hospital, but they could've been miles apart.”
Dr. Davis received an M.B.A. from Isenberg School of Management, he is a member of the International Honor Societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma from the University of Massachusetts. In addition to all that, Dr. Davis is a physician Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ryan Kelly is a Mississippi native and Executive Director of the Mississippi Rural Health Association. He previously served as Chief Advancement Office for William Carey University and Director of External Relations for The University of Southern Mississippi College of Health.
In today’s conversation, Ryan provides an update on the status of rural hospitals in Mississippi, and what he has to say may surprise you.
Ryan earned a bachelor’s of science with honors from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2005 and a master’s of science with honors from Mississippi College in 2007. He is a member of the Area Development Partnership’s Leadership Pinebelt, the Mississippi Economic Council’s Blueprint Mississippi committee, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Mississippi Society of Association Executives.
In addition to professional activities, Ryan also serves as a deacon at Temple Baptist Church, an advisory board member for The Children’s Center for Communication and Development and the United Way of Southeast Mississippi, The Gideon’s International, Pi Kappa Phi Alumni Association, and most recently as chair of the Southern Miss College of Health Dean’s Council. He has also served as the chair of the Mississippi Health Summit over the past four years.
Liz Monk, the Director of Care and Coordination at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital in Grayling, Michigan. Munson Healthcare Grayling is part of a small health system consisting of a 71 bed community hospital, a long-term care facility, and three rural health clinics that serve a five county area in Northern-Lower Michigan.
Liz received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Michigan State University and went on to gain invaluable nursing experience in the emergency department, in case management and physician performance and improvement. Prior to her nursing career, Liz served as an aero-medical technician at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and later as an aero-space physiology officer at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. As a military nurse, in addition to traditional bedside nursing, Liz was able to run projects, practices and operations, giving her a unique nursing experience.
Liz’s expertise includes readmissions, performance improvement and innovation. Today, she works to empower employees at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital to boost innovation for the benefit of the community.
Cody Mullen is a doctoral candidate, serving as the Network Development Coordinator for the Indiana Rural Health Association. Cody has helped facilitate the development of a remote patient monitoring/health coaching program to help lower the cost and improve quality of care for individuals with a chronic condition. In addition, he supports the research and evaluation activities of IRHA. Cody shares some of the progressive measures the Indiana Rural Health Association has assisted its members implement, particularly with treating chronic illness.
Cody earned his BS from Purdue University in Interdisciplinary Science with a focus on healthcare engineering and statistics and is currently a doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Management at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. His research interests include quality of care and access to care for vulnerable populations, especially citizens of rural America and individuals with an intellectual/developmental disability. Cody is also an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette and an associate instructor for the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. Cody is a past NRHA Fellow.
Dr. Steve Barnett has been the President & CEO at McKenzie Health System in Sandusky, MI, since 2008. During this time Steve has shifted the culture of the organization such that they now embrace change. McKenzie Health System is recognized in Michigan as a Critical Access Hospital that is progressive in re-designing how healthcare can be delivered. Steve is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Registered Nurse, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and has his Doctorate in Healthcare Administration.
Steve was a pioneer in establishing Accountable Care Organizations in rural health. Together, with a handful of other rural health leaders, The National Rural Accountable Care Organization was created.
Kris Allen is the Vice President of Patient Services at Eaton Rapids Medical Center in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, just south of Lansing, Michigan. Kris has been in healthcare for over 15 years as a registered nurse. She quickly moved through the ranks and built the respect and trust from all the individuals of the healthcare team and was the driver of nursing excellence as the Chief Nursing Officer at a large hospital system in Michigan.
In 2013 Kris made the move to Rural Health with a drive to deliver the unexpected in health care through a multidisciplinary team focused and dedicated on striving for the best. To that end, Eaton Rapids Medical Center ranks number 1 in the state of Michigan for patient satisfaction.
Kris has 2 Master's degrees. A Master's degree in nursing and a Master's degree in health administration that she received from the University of Phoenix.
Brock Slabach is leading the national discussion on quality improvement and alternative payment models in rural health. Earlier this year Brock was awarded the Calico Leadership award by the National Rural Health Resource Center.
Brock currently serves as the Senior Vice-President of Member Services at the National Rural Health Association, a membership organization with over 21,000 members nationwide. With over 28 years of experience in the administration of rural hospitals, Brock is definitely an expert and experienced rural health leader. From 1987 through 2007, he was the administrator of the Field Memorial Community Hospital in Centreville, MS. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and his Master of Public Health in Health Administration from the University of Oklahoma.
RD Williams is the CEO at Hendry Regional Medical Center, a critical access hospital located in Clewiston, FL. Prior to that he was the CEO at Ashe Memorial Hospital in Jefferson, NC. He received his undergraduate degree from the Medical College of Virginia with a B.S. in Healthcare Management in 1981, and earned his MBA from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 1986. Mr. Williams has worked in a variety of hospitals in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and now Florida.
He enjoys playing golf, reading, home restoration, and working on his 1973 MGB automobile. He is married to LuAnn with 3 adult sons and 2 granddaughters, ages 9 and 2.
Mr. Williams helped provide the inspiration for Rural Health Leadership Radio. During a conversation last year, a question was asked about the challenges of being the CEO of a rural hospital. Mr. Williams replied that it is difficult to find out what other hospitals are attempting to do, what’s working, and what’s not working. The primary means to discover this information is by spending time and money attending meetings, but time and money can often be scarce resources. Mr. Williams expressed his desire for a easy cost effective means of sharing this information. Following that conversation, Dr. Auxier was listening to a podcasts when a light bulb went off. And that is how Rural Health Leadership Radio was born. Thank you Mr. RD Williams!
Recognized as among the top 100 most influential people in healthcare by Modern Healthcare Magazine, Alan Morgan serves as Chief Executive Officer for the National Rural Health Association. He has more than 26 years’ experience in health policy development at the state and federal level, and is one of the nation’s leading experts on rural health policy.
As the CEO of the NRHA, Alan has observed the changes taking place in rural health from a front row seat. The National Rural Health Association is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 20,000 members whose mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. NRHA membership consists of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health.
The conversation with Mayor Adam O’Neal of Belhaven, NC, continues. Mayor O’Neal is a tenacious fighter for rural hospitals as demonstrated in his story about the plight of his community’s efforts to reopen their closed hospital. “… when you’re talking healthcare, especially in the aspect of a hospital, you’re talking about people getting lifesaving services that they need,” said Mayor O’Neal. “Now we have people having heart attacks, strokes, severe accidents, snake bites, not being able to get service anymore.”
Mayor Adam O’Neal, Mayor of Belhaven, NC, received national attention for walking 273 miles to Washington, DC, in protest of the closing of Belhaven’s only hospital. “This is the difference between our children having life-saving services or not,” said Mayor O’Neal. Mayor O’Neal’s story is both tragic and inspirational.
In this first episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, Dr. Bill Auxier explains why he created this weekly podcast. Inspired by a conversation with the CEO of a critical access hospital in Florida, it became clear that a simple, no cost channel of communication for rural health leaders to share what is working, what is not working, stories of success and failures, and other aspects of the challenges rural health leaders face on a daily basis was sorely lacking. Rural Health Leadership Radio fills that communication void to assist rural health leaders achieve greatness and to improve healthcare in Rural America.