We are having a conversation about improving health outcomes and building community capacity 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.
We’re talking about how long a patient has to be in an ambulance after their hospital closes 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.’
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.
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.
We’re having a conversation about the Medicaid Work Requirement 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 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 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 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).