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
RSS Feed
Rural Health Leadership Radio™




All Episodes
Now displaying: Page 1
Oct 15, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about medical anthropology in healthcare. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Matthew Dalstrom, professor at Saint Anthony College of Nursing.

“If we’re able to get them out into the community, we’re able to build this personal connection and empathy with patients that will improve overall patient care.”

~Dr. Matthew Dalstrom

Dr. Dalstrom teaches public health and mentors graduate nursing students at Saint Anthony College of Nursing, through community-based and qualitative methods. His research focuses on anthropological and public health perspectives to determine how health policy and social determinants of health influence health-seeking behaviors, access to care, and health outcomes.

“It’s more than being culturally competent…it’s learning how to interact with individuals and the way that you’re able to do that is it’s very simplistic. It’s by talking to them.”

~Dr. Matthew Dalstrom

Dr. Dalstrom also collaborates with health systems, local government organizations, and academic institutions on health promotion and interventions. He also works to ensure that his students understand how to build connections and work collaboratively within their community.

Oct 8, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about local and global rural health. We’re having that conversation with Kacie Hoyle Denton, a medical student at East Tennessee University.

“Continue to connect with members in the community. Form relationships with people. Learn from their perspectives so that you can best learn how to serve others and thereby leading them.”

~Kacie Hoyle Denton

Kacie, who has already received her MPH, is a fourth-year medical student in the Quillen College of Medicine. She previously graduated from Carson-Newman University with a BS in biochemistry as well as a BA in biology with honors. Having grown up in rural Appalachia, she has an interest in rural health and hopes to practice pediatric medicine in rural areas.

“Awareness is crucial and as awareness continues, that is really going to affect how rural health changes in the future.”

~Kacie Hoyle Denton

Kacie is currently part of the rural primary care track and engages in various communities, helping in the medical field. Kacie also has a passion for the extension of rural health globally, having served in Belize and South Africa. She has worked on multiple research projects focused on rural health in Tennessee and Belize. Kacie’s interests also include global health, gastroenterology, and rural medicine.

Oct 1, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about leadership and innovation in rural hospitals. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Maria Ryan, CEO of Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, New Hampshire.

“Create a vision, a realistic vision, and work towards it. Talk about it, because other people may be thinking about it, too.”

~Dr. Maria Ryan

Dr. Maria Ryan worked in a variety of settings including for-profit, non-profit, and tertiary care and started her career in healthcare as a CNA. She later became a nurse practitioner where she developed both her clinical and leadership skills. Dr. Ryan would continue to become the Director of an Emergency Department, the Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Operating Officer and finally the Chief Executive Officer. She brings a high-integrity, energetic form of leadership as well as the ability to envision and create successful outcomes in the face of complex obstacles.

“We have to work through others, we have to allow them to be experts in their field but also, we have to work through them to gain whatever it is we want to accomplish.”

~Dr. Maria Ryan

Dr. Ryan has brought many accomplishments to Cottage Hospital including HealthStrong Award for Excellence in Efficiency, HealthStrong Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by iVantage Health Analytics, a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital - Best Practices in Quality designation by the National Rural Health Association and the 2015 Business of the Year Award from the Cohase Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Ryan has been recognized by multiple organizations for her achievement in healthcare and business, including Becker’s Healthcare Review, NH Business Magazine, and NH Business Review.

Sep 24, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re having a conversation about rural and community health in West Virginia. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Quintin Brubaker, the resident physician in Family Medicine at West Virginia University.

“If we can just cooperate a little better, the stuff we need to provide good care to every American might already be available to us.”

~Dr. Quintin Brubaker

Quintin Brubaker grew up in Virginia, where he majored in History at the University of Virginia. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he worked as an EMT and raft guide while also completing pre-med courses. Dr. Brubaker participated in the Rural Track, Rural Health Interest Group, the Rural Education Alliance for Community Health, and the Family Medicine Rural Scholars Recruitment initiative while in medical school at West Virginia University.

“We could learn a lot from other healthcare systems to create our own solutions, drawing from a broader basket of ideas.”

~Dr. Quintin Brubaker

Dr. Brubaker received the NRHA Student Leadership Award in May, and continues to grow his knowledge in healthcare. After completing his residency, Dr. Brubaker plans to continue practicing in West Virginia, with support from the West Virginia Institute for Community and Rural Health.

Sep 17, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about the impact of rural community health centers in Florida. We’re having that conversation with Andy Behrman, the President and CEO, and Ben Browning, Vice President, of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, Inc.

“I know that we have a chance to make sure that at the end of the day, access to care in rural America is not going to go away.”

~Andy Behrman

Andy Behrman has been in healthcare in Florida for 45 years, working in multiple areas within the industry. He was the first AHEC center director in the State of Florida before starting at the Florida Association of Community Health Centers. Ben Browning has been working with Andy for almost 10 years now, where they work together to expand community health centers and improve access for patients across Florida.

“The increased focus and the strengthened interest in rural communities excites me and I’m hoping it continues its push forward.”

~Ben Browning

Andy and Ben have recently been working to address issues stemming from the 340-B program. While the program provides opportunities to save money to reinvest into patients, many organizations have taken advantage of this program. Ben and Andy are both working to bring these issues to the forefront, working with legislators and the Agency for Health Care Administration to address these obstacles.

Sep 10, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re having a conversation about rural broadband service and economic development. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Brian Whitacre, professor and extension economist in the Agricultural Economics Department at Oklahoma State University.

“I think it’s great to have that kind of a support system and I think there’s a lot of really good people working this area that are going to put a positive impact on rural in general.”

~Brian Whitacre

Dr. Whitacre helps rural areas identify what they can do to improve their economic situation, which often revolves around health. Dr. Whitacre works in the general area of rural economic development, while also teaching an undergraduate course on the topic and working with small communities across Oklahoma to help improve their quality of life.

“We want our rural facilities to have good broadband access available to them. So talk to local providers, talk to the local healthcare institutions about their connectivity needs and let’s find a way.”

~Brian Whitacre

The majority of Dr. Whitacre’s recent work and research has focused on broadband and healthcare connectivity gaps in hospital and private care practices in rural areas. He has also conducted studies on the relationship between housing values and broadband, and continues to explore the significance and uses for broadband in rural healthcare. A link to the article discussed in this episode can also be found here

Sep 3, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re having a conversation about the work being done at Stone Mountain Health Services, recognizes as an Outstanding Rural Health Organization by the NRHA. We’re having that conversation with Jim Werth, Director of the Black Lung Program at Stone Mountain Health Services. 

“I understood the folks and appreciated the values and opportunities that rural life has.”

~Jim Werth

Jim Werth received his PhD in Counseling Psychology from Auburn University, as well as his Master of Legal Studies from the University of Nebraska. He is currently the Behavioral Health and Wellness Service Director in addition to serving as the Director of the Black Lung Program at Stone Mountain Health Services. 

“We need to look at our experiences and values as we continue to move forward, and not just focus on diseases of despair.”

~Jim Werth

Previously, Jim spent years doing health-related policy work in Oregon after moving on to become an assistant professor at the University of Akron. Jim then became the director of the PsyD program at Radford University, focusing on rural mental health. He would then come to his current position at Stone Mountain Health Services, where he works to provide training for those working on the frontlines. Jim is also becoming the CEO of another community health center in Virginia.

Aug 27, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about hospital transformation and sustainability. We’re having that conversation with Kathy Whitmire, CEO of Transformation Health Partners.

“My mission continues to be helping rural hospitals survive, to transform them and help them maintain a strong bottom line.”

~Kathy Whitmire

Kathy Whitmire was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina where she would earn her first degree in marketing and communications at Greenville Technical College. She received her degree in healthcare administration in 2005 and has served rural hospitals by developing their services and educating them for the last 20 years. Kathy recently served as COO and Chief Transformation Officer at Stephens County Hospital in Toccoa, Georgia, leading a $10 million financial turnaround and revenue cycle transformation.

“It takes a servant leader with a new set of skills to focus on providing patient-centered care.”

~Kathy Whitmire

Kathy works to help rural hospitals transform and remain viable to serve their communities, through training and equipping healthcare executives with the skills and knowledge to transform their bottom line. Kathy was also the Vice President of Business Development for Caravan Health for two years, and was the Executive Director for HomeTown Health, LLC, for fifteen years. She was also named a Rural Health Fellow by the National Rural Health Association in 2017, and is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and HFMA. 

Aug 20, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about best practices of a Top 20 Rural Community Hospital. We’re having that conversation with Perry Gay, President and CEO of Logansport Memorial Hospital in Logansport, Indiana.

“We put emphasis on community, quality, and outcomes to make sure our patients see the great things we are doing.”

~Perry Gay

Perry was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida and received his Master’s of Business Administration degree from St. Leo University. Perry has been serving Logansport Memorial Hospital since 2015, but has worked in various leadership roles with multiple health systems where he found success in driving organizational, service-line, and capital growth. 

“Instead of just treating people, how are we going to keep you well and get you to the best state of health that you can be?”

~Perry Gay

Perry also leads LMH’s commitment to exceptional quality, which led to their being named as one of the Top 100 Rural and Community Hospitals in 2019 by iVintage Analytics and as a Top 20 Rural Community Hospital by the National Rural Health Association. Perry also advocates at the state and national level for continual improvements in healthcare.

Aug 13, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about research and creative approaches to serving rural and vulnerable populations. We’re having that conversation with Anudeep Udumula, a student researcher at the University of Central Florida.

“There is always research you can do no matter how formal or informal it is.”

~Anudeep Udumula

Anudeep was born and raised in Delaware and is now a Burnett Medical Scholar at the University of Central Florida, studying economics and biology. Anudeep explored health economics for two years by working at an NIH-funded research group as a health disparity analyst to better understand the gap between rural and urban areas. Anudeep presented his research, “Creative Approaches to Meeting Diabetic Needs in Rural Florida”, at the National Rural Health Association’s conference in May, where he examined diabetes-related hospitalizations in lower income rural residents in Florida.

“Your job as a leader is to help people and give them a chance to showcase their skills and their talent.”

~Anudeep Udumula

Anudeep has also worked with underserved populations in Orlando and volunteers at a free clinic for uninsured and low-income patients as well. Anudeep plans to attend medical school after graduating from UCF and hopes to continue to make a positive impact as a physician.

Aug 6, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about the importance of serving vulnerable populations. We are having that conversation with Dr. Cara James, the Director of the Office of Minority Health at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the co-chair of the CMS Rural Health Council. 

“It really does take all of us working together to identify those issues, but also to identify what is working.”

~ Dr. Cara James

Dr. James is a nationally recognized expert and thought leader in health disparities, health equity, and improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations. She received her A.B. in Psychology and her Ph.D. in Health Policy from Harvard University. Dr. James is trained as a Health Policy Researcher, and has always had a passion for helping those who are in need. Her work impacts not only racial and ethnic minorities, but also people with disabilities, rural communities, and sexual and gender minorities. 

“We need to make sure that we are helping empower communities and giving them the support and resources they need to make changes.”

~ Dr. Cara James

Dr. James has worked to develop the CMS Equity Plan to Improve Quality in Medicare, an initiative focusing on helping individuals understand their coverage, connect to care, and increase the collection and reporting of health disparities data. Dr. James was a member of the National Academy of Medicine Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity until 2019, and was as co-led the creation of the CMS Rural Health Strategy.

Jul 30, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we are celebrating our third anniversary! We are celebrating with our intern, Sydney, and having a conversation about what she has learned in her time with RHLR! Sydney is a Master of Healthcare Administration student at the University of South Florida, and has been with RHLR since May. 

“We should focus on consistently chipping away at our problems and always look for improvement.”

~Sydney Grant 

Sydney Grant is starting her second year in the Master of Healthcare Administration program at the University of South Florida, graduating in 2020. She received her bachelor of science from Florida State University in 2018, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Communication. She has interned with the Quality, Safety and Risk department at USF Health, measuring Medical Assistants’ adherence to blood pressure measurement guidelines, and is currently interning with Dr. Bill Auxier and Rural Health Leadership Radio.

“Rural healthcare faces unique challenges and barriers, which leaves so much room for creative problem solving.”

~Sydney Grant 

Sydney has worked with Rural Health Leadership Radio podcast production, research, cataloging past episodes, and much more. She is an active member in the West Florida Chapter of ACHE, as well as being a member of the Communications Committee for WFC ACHE. She is the Membership Engagement Officer for the USF Health Management Student Association (HMSA), and is a member of the HMSA Gala Committee.

Jul 23, 2019

Today we have another special episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio! We are having a panel discussion at the Indiana Rural Health Association’s Annual Conference, with several guests lined up to chat with us!

“We need to work in our own communities to build the workforce from the ground up.”

~Jim Ballard

The panel discussion covers topics ranging from access to quality medical care in rural communities, finding new models of education to train students in real-life environments, cultural issues in the community, to the humanizing technology. The panelists touched on issues they have experienced within their organizations and areas, and shared their best practices and unique solutions that helped bring their community closer together. Along with creative problem solving, the discussion also included what rural healthcare leaders can look to in the future, as well as ways the rural community can work to break down barriers to receiving quality healthcare.  

“You see those emerging innovative solutions that are born out of necessity, where CEOs are able to innovate across borders without labels.”

~Michael Snyder 

Today, we will hear from Michael Snyder, Emma Eckrote, Jim Ballard, and Dennis Weatherford. 

  • Michael Snyder is from MEK – Marketing, Engagement, Knowledge, where he works in consulting and change management in Indianapolis.
  • Emma Eckrote is a medical student at Indiana University School of Medicine, in the Rural Medicine Education Program. 
  • Jim Ballard is the Executive Director of the Indiana Area Health Education Center and is also an Associate Professor in Family Medicine at Indiana University’s School of Medicine. 
  • Dennis Weatherford is the CEO of Putnam County Hospital in Greencastly, Indiana.
Jul 16, 2019

Today we have a special episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio!  We are at the Indiana Rural Health Association’s Annual Conference in French Lick, IN, and we have several attendees lined up to have a brief conversation with us.

The Indiana Rural Health Association was founded in 1997 as a not-for-profit corporation for the purpose of improving the health of all rural citizens in Indiana.  Since the organization’s inception, RHA has developed collaborative relationships with several state agencies, including the Indiana Primary Health Care Association, the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health, Indiana Hospital Association, ISDH-State Office of Rural Health, Health Care Excel and the American Heart Association.  IRHA is a state member of the National Rural Health Association.

Jul 9, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about the importance of innovation and collaboration in rural healthcare. We are having that conversation with Greg Ruberg, the President and CEO of Lake View Hospital. 

“It’s my passion in healthcare to be working with rural health and helping to advance rural health whenever I can.”

~Greg Ruberg

Greg Ruberg is the President and CEO of Lake View Hospital and is the Vice-President of Saint Luke’s Hospital in Minnesota. He also serves as administrative support to North Shore Health and Board Chair of Wilderness Health to North Shore Health. Greg has had a passion for rural healthcare since high school, where his interest in physical therapy would eventually lead him to his career in rural health. Greg values innovation with his teams and embraces the importance of collaborating within the community. Greg was able to co-locate the local outpatient behavioral health clinic to the Lake View campus, bringing high quality, integrated care to their patients. 

“In rural healthcare, we have to be open to innovation and drive change to bring more value to our patients.”

~Greg Ruberg

Greg has also collaborated with local law enforcement to tackle issues together, such as patients in a mental health crisis. The relationship has carried on for five years, allowing for a team effort to better serve their community. Greg has also brought forth other valuable connections with the local school district to stimulate student interest in the healthcare profession.

Jul 2, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about occupational health issues within the agricultural community. We are having that conversation with Knesha Rose-Davison, the Health Communications Director at AgriSafe. 

“We known farming is a tough occupation but they have some of the hardest working, and most dedicated people…”

~Knesha Rose-Davison

Knesha was born in Arkansas Delta, with many of her family members working in agriculture. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences in 2002, and in 2016, obtained a certificate in Agricultural Medicine, focusing on rural occupational health and environmental health safety. At AgriSafe, they focus on protecting the people that feed the world, and through the Total Farmer Health Program, Knesha and her team is able to look at all of the potential factors that can affect a producer’s health and wellbeing. 

“Everything impacts a farmer or producer’s life and we have to take that into consideration…and try to provide information to help them alleviate some of those concerns…”

~Knesha Rose-Davison

Knesha also serves as the 72nd president of the Louisiana Public Health Association and is a March of Dimes Gretchen C. Carlson Advocacy fellow. She has covered the spectrum on care, ranging from infants to the elderly, and eventually took her position with AgriSafe, bringing her back to her Delta roots. Knesha has over twelve years of public health experience, and is passionate about serving vulnerable populations and increasing health care access and equity. 

Below are the resources mentioned during our conversation:

Jun 25, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about empowering rural communities to address impactful health disparities. We are having that conversation with Dr. Fran Feltner, Director of the University Of Kentucky Center Of Excellence in Rural Health.

“Within these beautiful mountains there’s a lot of poverty and people who need our help and need improved access to care.”

~ Dr. Fran Feltner

Dr. Feltner was born and raised in rural Kentucky, having served rural health care in numerous different ways. She has held positions ranging from office nurse, to delivering babies, to caring for elderly patients, and has enjoyed every moment of being a nurse in rural health care. Dr. Feltner became the Clinical Director of the HRSA program, which would eventually lead to her role as the Director of Lay Health Worker Division, at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Feltner would later become the Director of the Kentucky Homeplace Program, with the main goal of increasing access to care and reducing health disparities in rural Kentucky.

“Take care of yourself first so that you can take care of other people.”

~ Dr. Fran Feltner

Dr. Feltner would then become the CEO or Director of the Center of Excellence in Rural Health. The main goal for Dr. Feltner and her team is to work across rural Kentucky with assisting people in their communities to solve problems. Dr. Feltner researches links between vulnerable communities and their health care system, social determinants of health and their effects on health outcomes, as well as the role and impact of community health workers. She thoroughly enjoys both the research and community engagement that comes with her work, and how she and her team really become a part of the community that they serve.

Jun 11, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about obstetric care in rural health. We are having that conversation with Dr. Valerie Taglione, resident physician at UP Health Systems – Marquette.

“I think it’s important for us physicians to lead patients by teaching them how to improve their health and then make a decision together…”

~Dr. Valerie Taglione

Dr. Taglione grew up in Portland, Michigan where she was inspired by her sister’s trips to medical schools to focus her career in medicine, and eventually began shadowing in rural emergency rooms. She attended Michigan Technological University, where she earned her degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences. Right after college, she went on to attend medical school at Michigan State University, in the College of Human Medicine. Dr. Taglione completed her clinical training in the Marquette, Michigan, receiving education in rural medicine and completing her training in the rural physician’s program.

“…there’s a new spark for passion in rural health that I think is really promising.”

~Dr. Valerie Taglione

Dr. Taglione helped conduct a study on obstetric care in rural health, looking at the access to maternity care in rural Michigan. She looked specifically at prenatal care, labor and delivery services, and specialized obstetric throughout the Upper Peninsula, the Northern Lower Peninsula, and some counties in the Southern Lower Peninsula. The study mapped out counties in these areas and looked to identify gaps of coverage in obstetric care.

Jun 4, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about how we can provide support for caregivers. We are having that conversation with Dr. Carrie Henning Smith, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the Rural Health Research Center at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health.

“…caregiving in a rural context is different than in an urban context.”

~Dr. Carrie Henning Smith

Dr. Smith grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, with deep roots across the Midwest, in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Farming has been in her family for years, making rural health near to her heart. She embraces the broad lens that public health has on issues, including healthcare, climate change, poverty, as well as demography and context. Dr. Smith has studied long-term care in Rural America, focusing on unpaid caregivers. Unpaid caregivers make up the bulk of the long-term care system, and Dr. Smith noticed that there was little research being done on what it is truly like to be an unpaid caregiver in a rural setting.

“I think the more we can elevate the conversation from a personal or family crisis to a larger conversation that we are all a part of, I think the better off we will all be.”

~Dr. Carrie Henning Smith

Dr. Smith delved into the differences between the rural and urban caregiving experience, as well as the unique rural challenges and opportunities for supporting caregivers. She finds that rural caregiving programs, policies, and other programs need to be designed with rural communities in mind, given the differences in rural and urban caregiving. With more constraints than urban areas, rural healthcare faces issues that require more teamwork and more open conversations in order to be conquered.

May 28, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about improving health outcomes and building community capacity. We are having that conversation with Dr. Sameer Vohra, Founding Chair of the Department of Population Science and Policy at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

“…we talk about rural but even in our government definition there isn’t a clear designation of what is rural.”

~Dr. Sameer Vohra

Dr. Vohra was born and raised in Chicago, and received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northwestern University. He then went on to receive a dual degree from Southern Illinois University’s Medicine and Law Dual Degree Program, as well as traveling to India on a United States Department of State Fulbright Scholarship. Dr. Vohra has a passion for improving people’s health as well as the one-on-one connection that comes with being a physician, fueled by his desire to understand how he could work to improve society’s health. Dr. Vohra would go on to attend the University of Chicago where he was the first to follow the pediatric public policy track, where he trained as a general pediatrician and also received advanced public policy training.

“We know that in our rural community we have to work together because the cavalry isn’t coming.”

~Dr. Sameer Vohra

Dr. Sameer Vohra settled back into Southern Illinois University and began his journey into population health and science, taking steps to make a concrete difference in the communities he served. He was able to lead the creation of the Office of Population Science and Policy to determine if there would be support, funding, and interest in the community to launch the office as an academic department. The Department of Population Science and Policy was officially launched in July 2018, and is only one of sixteen such departments in the country.

May 21, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we’re talking about how long a patient has to be in an ambulance after their hospital closes.  We’re having that conversation with Dr. Alison Davis, Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky, and SuZanne Troske, Research Associate at Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky.

“…if the hospital hadn’t been there, that patient likely would have died on route. That hospital is now closed.”

~Dr. Alison Davis

In addition to being a Professor, Dr. Davis is also the Executive Director of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK). CEDIK is an integrated engagement/research center housed within the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky. CEDIK’s mission is to build engaged communities and vibrant economies. CEDIK’s four priority areas are economic development, leadership development, community health, and community design. Dr. Davis’ role is to build relationships across campus, Kentucky and the South with the goal of promoting a stronger sense of community and an improved economic base in rural areas. 

“We looked at how long it takes to be transported from the incident, oftentimes your residence, to a hospital – to an emergency room.’

~Su Troske

SuZanne Troske is a Research Associate at CEDIK and works with the Rural and Underserved Health Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Su’s areas of research at CEDIK are rural health policy and rural economic development with a focus on rural hospital closures and ambulance services across the U.S. Before joining CEDIK, Su worked at the College of Pharmacy where she studied drug policy in Kentucky. Her other fields of research include Kentucky K-12 education, unemployment insurance and industrial research and development. She has more than 20 years of experience working with big data and performing research in an academic research environment.

May 14, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we’re talking about Telehealth in Rural America.  We’re having that conversation with Dr. Windy Alonso, Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing, Dr. Elizabeth Crouch, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the Rural and Minority Health Research Center at the University of South Carolina, and Nicole Thorell, Chief Nursing Officer at Lexington Regional Health enter.  Wendy, Elizabeth and Nicole were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on  Telehealth in Rural America, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress.

“Leadership involves balance, humility, fortitude and mentoring”  

~Windy Alonso, Ph.D. 

Dr. Windy Alonso is currently a post-doctoral research associate in the College of Nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She received her PhD in Nursing from the Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing, University Park, PA in 2017.  Windy is a first-generation college student who was inspired by her rural upbringing to pursue a career as a nurse scientist. She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Heart Failure Society of America, the Rural Nurse Organization, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society to pursue strategies to improve the lives of individuals with heart failure living in rural areas.  Dr. Alonso has disseminated her work in rural heart failure regionally, nationally, and internationally through numerous presentations and publications. Her commitment to improving rural health led to her recognition as a National Rural Heath Association Rural Health Fellow and a Nebraska Action Coalition 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leader in 2018.

“Telehealth encompasses more than people realize.” 

~Elizabeth Crouch, Ph.D. 

Dr. Elizabeth Crouch is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Services Policy and Management within the Arnold School of Public Health and Deputy Director of the Rural and Minority Health Research Center. Her work focuses on policy-related issues across the age spectrum in vulnerable populations at the beginning of life (children) and the end of life (elderly), with a particular focus in rural-urban disparities. She is highly experienced in claims analysis, particularly Medicaid and Medicare claims. Elizabeth has produced 40 peer-reviewed articles with over half of these articles involving analysis of Medicaid, Medicare, or private health insurance plan claims.

“The barriers are really our target areas for improvement when looking at telehealth.” 

~Nicole Thorell, MSN, CEN 

Nicole Thorell, MSN, CEN, is the Chief Nursing Officer at Lexington Regional Health Center in Lexington, Nebraska. Nicole has been at Lexington Regional for ten years, and has been in this position for four years.  Prior to this, she was a staff nurse and Director of Nursing Quality in the facility.  Nicole received her diploma in nursing from Bryan College of Health Sciences, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Masters of Science in Nursing from Kaplan University.

May 7, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we’re talking about the Medicaid Work Requirement.  We’re having that conversation with Portia Brown, Vice President at Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital, Shena Popat, Research Scientist at NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, and Laurel Molly, Chief Nursing Officer at UNC Lenoir Health Care.  Portia, Shena and Laurel were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on the Medicaid Work Requirement, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress. 

 “The national landscape is changing daily on this topic.” 

Portia Brown  

Portia Brown is the Vice President at Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital located in Luray, Virginia.  She has 35 years of healthcare experience to include 30 years in leadership positions working in large and small hospitals, a 1000 bed Veterans Administration hospital, academic facility, and Martin Marietta contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy.  Portia has a passion for patient safety, risk reduction, performance improvement, patient experience and providing an environment where staff and physicians have a great place to work and patients to receive high quality compassionate care.  Portia received undergraduate degrees in laboratory technology and medical technology from Auburn University and a Master of Science in Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia.  Portia is a certified professional in healthcare quality (CPHQ), patient safety (CPPS), and healthcare risk management (CPHRM) as well as Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).  Currently, Portia serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Rural Healthcare Association as well as on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.  

“Veterans can be affected by work requirements… and they will face the same work requirement as others.” 

Shena Popat 

Shena Popat is a Research Scientist for the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis at NORC at the University of Chicago. She has experience working specifically on rural and frontier health projects, conducting grant program evaluations and collaborating with colleagues to develop policy recommendations for federal agencies. Previously, Shena worked in administration at a critical access hospital and rural health clinic. Shena has her MHA from the George Washington University. 

“Our great discovery to highlight is that… rural does need to be taken seriously.” 

Laurel Molloy 

Laurel Molloy MSN, RN, CPHQ currently works at UNC Lenoir Health Care in Kinston, NC as the VP of Nursing and Rehab Services. As an RN for about 25 years, Laurel has contributed to nursing in many roles including bedside ICU and Emergency Department nursing, flight nursing, nurse education, organizational quality improvement, and formal executive nursing leadership. Recently, Laurel received a Hall of Honor Induction from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC where she earned her Bachelors in Nursing. She was a 2018 fellow for The National Rural Health Association and worked with a team that explored the impact of Medicaid Work Requirements in the rural setting. Her work passion is about providing excellent patient care, supporting practices that improve care delivery, mentoring new nurses and nursing leadership, and reducing disparity within the rural environment.  She is married to Dennis and they have 4 children; Audrey (25), Elijah (24), Ethan (20), and Claire (18). 

Apr 30, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we’re talking about Medicaid Expansion.  We’re having that conversation with Dr. Jeff Bacon, Chief Medical Officer at Banner Health Sterling Regional MedCenter, Miso Lee, Ph.D., a Health Disparities Analyst at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and Carey Rivinius, who holds a degree in Doctor of Nursing Practice and is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Jacobson Memorial Hospital and Elgin Community Clinic.  Jeff, Miso and Carey were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on Medicaid Expansion, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress.

“Rural hospitals and rural clinics are so incredibly important and they serve a great purpose in each community and our nation.”

Jeffery Bacon, D.O., is an experienced Family Physician with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and healthcare industry.  He is skilled in Clinical Research, Medical Education, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Emergency Medicine, and a strong healthcare services professional who graduated from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Wei-Chen “Miso” Lee is a Health Disparities Analyst at The University of Texas Medical Branch. She completed her Ph.D. in Health Services Research (HSR) at Texas A&M Health Science Center. Her research interests lie in the area of rural health, ranging from discovering disparities in health outcomes to promoting workforce development. She is also a state-certified Community Health Worker (CHW) and CHW Instructor. She was honored to be the 2018 National Rural Health Fellow and currently, she serves as editorial board member for the Journal of Rural Health (JRH) as well as the advisory committee member for the Research on Care Community Health Equity Subgroup of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Both doing research and serving in communities allow her to better understand the health issues and make a profound contribution to eliminating health disparities.

Carey Rivinius, DNP, FNP-C, is a healthcare provider in Elgin, ND. She practices acute and emergent care at Jacobson Memorial Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital and Level 5 trauma center. She takes call for the emergency department and hospital. She also provides primary care services at the Rural Health Clinic. Carey is a member of the facility’s trauma and stroke committees. She also serves as the Grant County Coroner. She has worked in rural health her entire career. Carey grew up on a ranch near Carson, ND and has lived in the area most of her life.

Additionally, Carey is adjunct faculty for the University of Mary DNP program. She is a member of the National Health Service Corps and completed a 2-year service commitment from 2009-2011. Carey received her MSN and FNP degree in 2008 from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree in 2016 from Frontier Nursing University of Hyden, Kentucky.

Apr 23, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we’re talking about the 340B Program.  We’re having that conversation with Karen White, the CEO of Missouri Highlands Healthcare, Dennis Shelby, the CEO of Wilson Medical Center, and Austin Gillard, CEO of Clay County Medical Center.  Karen, Dennis and Austin were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on rural preparedness, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress. 

 “In our study, it was determined that 55% of rural hospitals would close if it were not for the 340B Program.”  

 Dennis Shelby has worked in healthcare for 40 years.  He began his career as a medical social worker and for the last 26 years, has held various hospital CEO positions.  His journey involved stents in top leadership positions in psychiatric, rehabilitation and rural hospitals.  He believes healthcare is a calling and ministry.  He received the 2014 Custom Learning System “Inspiring Administrator” Award and was the 2016 Founders Award recipient for that same organization for over 30 years of committed leadership in the healthcare field.  He is the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Becker’s “50 Rural Hospital CEO’s To Know.”  In 2018 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his leadership in healthcare from Hope International University.  He and his wife of 44 years, Judy, have two amazing daughters and 4 grandchildren. 

“We have to be strong proponents for each other. We cannot be silos.” 

Karen R. White joined Missouri Highlands Health Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center, in March 2009 as the Chief Financial Officer.  Through her drive, integrity and work ethic, she provided financial leadership, growing the organization into a sustainable & viable health care provider while overcoming significant financial challenges. In October 2014, she furthered her passion for community health by stepping into the CEO position for Missouri Highlands.  Since that time, she has led the organization through transformation & growth, embracing the challenges of providing primary care in seven rural counties in the southern Missouri Ozarks region. Ms. White has continually sought unique care delivery options to better serve the rural population and while focusing on breaking down existing silos in providing care across the continuum of care community.   

White, a certified public accountant (CPA), obtained her Bachelors of Applied Science in Administration with concentration in Marketing and Management from Southwest Baptist University in 1994 and her Masters in Accountancy from Missouri State University in 2007. During and after college she worked in healthcare, banking, retail, management and Social Services prior to obtaining her CPA license and working in public accounting.  

Away from work she enjoys time with her 6-year-old daughter, Maive, floating the crystal clear waters of the Current River and roaming the hills of the Ozarks on her Harley-Davidson motorcycle. White’s parents are credited with instilling in her a strong work ethic, drive to succeed and commitment to serving others. “Growing up, my parents served as strong role models of integrity and faith. They never compromised their message of service, hard work and education as the path to success. This coupled with my desire to not have to feed 250 head of cattle for the rest of my life drove me to succeed.” 

“340B is vital for our rural to stay viable…”  

Austin Gillard was raised in Overland Park, Kansas. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and received a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Missouri.  Austin’s background in healthcare started in 2008 as a physician recruiter. In 2011, Austin moved into a management role and was responsible for six hospital emergency departments in Kansas and Missouri. In early 2013, Austin developed a ‘rural track administrative fellowship’ and moved to Pratt, Kansas, to work under the CEO of Pratt Regional Medical Center as an Administrative Fellow. In late 2013, Austin was given to opportunity to become the CEO of Genoa Medical Facilities (GMF), located in Genoa, Nebraska. In 2015, Austin became the CEO of Clay County Medical Center (CCMC), located in Clay Center, Kansas. CCMC is a 25 bed CAH with three RHC’s and 300 employees.  

FREE BOOK if you write a review!  I'd love to hear from you! If you would take the time to write a review, I'd appreciate it so much that I will give you a free book in return

To leave a review, visit RHLR on iTunes, click “Listen in iTunes,” then click “Ratings and Reviews,” then “Write a Review.” 

If you want to write a review from your iPhone, simply open your podcast app, search for Rural Health Leadership Radio, then tap on “Subscribe.”  If you’re already a subscriber, you’ve already done this.  Next, tap on the “Library” icon at the bottom of your screen, select “Rural Health Leadership Radio,” and once that opens, scroll to the bottom where you will see where you can complete a rating and write a review. 

Once you’ve done that, send me an email to, and we’ll coordinate sending you a free copy of What Rural Health Leaders Are Saying

What Rural Health Leaders Are Saying is a summary of the inaugural year of Rural Health Leadership Radio, filled with a collection of ideas and best practices from exceptional rural health leaders for rural health leaders.  And it’s yours for free, just for writing a review on Rural Health Leadership Radio. 

Thank you! 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 7