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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Now displaying: 2020
Sep 22, 2020

National Prostate Health Month (NPHM), also known as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, is observed every September in North America by health experts, health advocates, and individuals concerned with men's prostate health and prostate cancer. In recognition of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we’re having a conversation with Bob Parker, a semi-retired architect and practicing artist who was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer 16 years ago.

“Many men do not like to talk about health.”

~Bob Parker

Bob Parker is a semi-retired architect and a practicing artist who has practiced for nearly 6 decades and lived in the rural town of Taos, New Mexico for the past 23 years. He is active in cultural affairs and has served on a number of boards (museums and arts organizations) and is an active member of ZERO, The End of Prostate Cancer.

He serves as MENtor through ZERO for a number of newly diagnosed men with prostate cancer and has also served as a panel member of the Prostate Cancer Research Panel for Congressionally funded research through the Federal Government. He remains active in his community, hikes in the nearby mountains of Taos, and has a large community of friends and colleagues. His prostate cancer story began in 2004 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and he has had numerous treatment protocols.

To learn more about Zero – The End of Prostate Cancer and their MENtoring program visit

Sep 15, 2020

National Prostate Health Month (NPHM), also known as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, is observed every September in North America by health experts, health advocates, and individuals concerned with men's prostate health and prostate cancer. In recognition of National Prostrate Cancer Awareness Month, we’re having a conversation with Jamie Bearse, CEO & President, of Zero-The End of Prostate Cancer, the leading national nonprofit with the mission to end prostate cancer. ZERO advances research, improves the lives of men and families, and inspires action.

“Prostate cancer actually kills more than 30,000 guys every year. This year, the projection is 33,000.”

~Jamie Bearse

Jamie Bearse has spent almost two decades in the fight against prostate cancer. At ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, the nation’s leading nonprofit in the fight against a disease that impacts 1 in 9 men, he started the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk and endurance team program in 2008. Then, in 2013, he founded ZERO’s co-pay support program. During his tenure at ZERO, the organization has raised over $100M for the cause, recruited celebrity spokesmen including Rudy Giuliani and Ken Griffey, Sr. to educate men and their families, and won six national public relations awards for raising awareness.

To learn more about Zero – The End of Prostate Cancer visit

Sep 8, 2020

Portia Brown is the Vice President of Page Memorial Hospital of Valley Health and a passionate rural health leader. We’re having a conversation with Portia today, who participated in a meeting in the West Wind of the White House a few weeks ago with members of the current administration. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Portia to meet in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to have a conversation with administration leaders talking about rural health.

“I accepted the White House invite at around 12:30 pm on Monday and found myself in the West Wing of the White House on Tuesday at 1:00 pm.”

~Portia Brown

Portia Brown is the Vice President at Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital located in Luray, Virginia. She has 37 years of healthcare experience to include 32 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. She provides administrative oversight to hospital and clinic operations at Page Memorial Hospital as well as oversight for the Southern Region Valley Health hospitals including Shenandoah Memorial and Warren Memorial Hospitals’ quality, performance improvement, safety, risk management, patient experience, regulatory compliance, and infection prevention programs.

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 as acting president of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Rural Healthcare Association and is a National Rural Health Association Fellow.

Sep 1, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking the top priorities of a new rural hospital CEO in the Northwest part of the country in the state of Washington. We are having that conversation with Heidi Anderson, CEO, Forks Community Hospital in Forks, WA.

“I love taking care of my community.”

~Heidi Anderson

Heidi Anderson was born and raised in the community, has been married for 30 years, and has one grown son. She started her career in healthcare at FCH in 1991 as a NAC, then obtained her LPN in 1993, until 2003 when she obtained her RN. She has worked in many areas before deciding to go into Nursing Administration in 2006.

She obtained her BSN from WSU in 2011 and is currently obtaining her MBA with an emphasis in Rural Healthcare from The College of St. Scholastica. Heidi is the CEO of Forks Community Hospital and serves a population of 10k, which includes the surrounding small communities.

Aug 25, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking building a network of rural hospitals and the power of collaboration along with the challenges of rural hospital CEO turnover. We are having that conversation with Mellie Bridewell, CEO of the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership.

“Oftentimes people don’t recognize how hard a rural hospital CEO job is because you kind of have to be a jack of all trades. You don’t have all the levels of leadership so sometimes, you’re it!”

~Mellie Bridewell

Ms. Mellie Bridewell currently works for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) as a Regional Director of the Office of Strategic Management and serves as the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership’s Chief Executive Officer. Mellie has eighteen years of experience in community and organizational networking, grant writing, and program development and implementation.

Mellie created the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership organization in 2008, which began with five critical access hospitals and has grown to fourteen-member hospitals across the south Arkansas region. Mellie has obtained over $15.2 million dollars in grant funds for Arkansas Rural Health Partnership to implement healthcare provide training opportunities, healthcare workforce initiatives, chronic disease programs, behavioral and mental health services, and access to care throughout the Arkansas Delta.

Mellie currently serves on the National Rural Health Association Congress and graduated last year from the NRHA Rural Fellows program. She also serves on the board of the National Cooperative of Health Networks Association. In 2016, Mellie was acknowledged as a Federal Office of Rural Health’s Rural Health Champion, and this year was awarded the Healthcare Heroes Innovation Award by Arkansas Business magazine. Under Mellie’s leadership, ARHP has been recognized nationally as a Rural Health Community Champion for Collaborative Partnerships by the Federal Office of Rural Health and as Outstanding Network of the Year by the National Cooperative of Health Networks Association.

Aug 18, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about population health and community wellness with two rural health leaders in upstate New York. Our guests are Victoria Reid, Executive Director of the Rural Health Network at Ellenville Regional Rural Health Network within Ellenville Regional Hospital, and Steven Kelley, President & CEO of Ellenville Regional Hospital.

“It’s not always one size fits all when it comes to technology.”

~Victoria Reid

Victoria Reid joined the Ellenville Regional Hospital team in 2018 as the Executive Director of the Rural Health Network. Ms. Reid earned a Master’s degree in Social Work with a Concentration in Community Organization and Policy Development from the University of Southern California, and a Bachelors in Sociology from Moravian University. With extensive experience in health promotion and education, population health, assessing health disparities, innovative planning activities, and clinical quality improvement and reporting, Ms. Reid is responsible for leading the Population Health Department, overseeing collaborative community health programming.

Ms. Reid is a licensed Social Worker, and is a certified Screening, Brief Intervention. Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Trainer, Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer, and a Naloxone Train the Trainer.

“All of these program’s goals is to help people make better decisions about their health.”

~Steven Kelley

Steven L. Kelley, FACHE, has been the President & CEO of Ellenville Regional Hospital since 2003. He has a diverse background in computer, research, and healthcare industries.

Under Mr. Kelley’s leadership, Ellenville Regional Hospital has been recognized with many National and Regional awards for patient safety and medication safety. Ellenville Regional Hospital has been recognized by the National Rural Health Association as one of the top 20 Critical Access Hospitals in the Country for Quality and has been a leader in New York State in the areas of Quality Management and Rural Health. Ellenville Regional Hospital presented 1t 19 different conferences between 2018 and 2019 and recognized in leadership in many different areas.

Mr. Kelley holds an MBA in Health Systems Management. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, which denotes national Board Certification in Healthcare Management.

Aug 11, 2020

When he became CEO of the hospital, it was broke, out of money, operating on a line of credit. Today, Scott County Hospital has a new building and is thriving. How did he do it? Listen to the conversation with Mark Burnett, CEO and President of Scott County Hospital.

“The best practice you can try to develop in your facility is the culture.”

-Mark Burnett

Mark Burnett is the CEO and President of Scott County Hospital in Scott City Kansas, a position he has held for 15 years. He has many passions in life including old cars, flying, his wife, and primarily his role in rural healthcare, which he considers ‘his calling’. His goal in life has been to advance availability to care in rural environments, and building upon his clinical background managing Imaging Departments, he believes he has succeeded! Success in growing outpatient specialty practices led to the construction of an entirely new hospital, designed to promote marketability to potential patients and recruitment efforts to grow staff as well.

He believes in always seeking to meet the needs of his employees, financially, culturally, and with work life balance. He seeks to advance telemedicine and behavioral health, and after 40 years in healthcare has no intention of slowing down. He believes that a vision for the future only comes to pass if you push the boundaries of the present.

Aug 4, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are celebrating our 4th anniversary of being on the air.

“Our mission is to improve the world by engaging rural health leaders in conversations, learning and research.”

~Bill Auxier, Ph.D.

To celebrate our 4th anniversary, this special edition of Rural Health Leadership radio will share its “Top 10 List,” the 10 most listened to episodes since the program first launched on August 2, 2016.

We also have several BIG THANK YOUS for our donors who have helped underwrite the cost of production, the board members who donate their time, our guests, especially our guests in the very beginning, and most of all, you, our listeners.
Happy 4th Birthday Rural Health Leadership Radio!

Jul 28, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are having a conversation about an educational opportunity for nurses and the perils of working in agriculture. We’re having that conversation with Cheri Fast and Charlotte Halverson, who are Registered Nurses with AgriSafe.

“The potential for danger is so great in farming and ranching and is so overlooked”

-Cheri Fast, RN

Cheri has a diverse healthcare background. She played a pivotal role in the development of a Home Health Infection Prevention Toolkit and has served on the Home Health Quality Improvement (HHQI) technical expert panel to provide feedback on the Recognizing and Reporting Changes in Skin Conditions Home Health Aide Course developed in response to the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare (CMS) Conditions of Participation.

She serves as a certified intensive case manager and has worked with patients, families, and physicians to coordinate care and teach on disease processes along with other quality improvement efforts.   As the education coordinator, she implemented a wound department and coordinated a variety of patient and staff education programs.

Beyond her Bachelors of Science in Nursing, she is a Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurse (WOCN), certified case manager and master trainer for Better Choices, Better Health Chronic Disease Self-Management, and Diabetes Self-Management programs.  She most recently completed the AgriSafe Nurse Scholar program and has been selected to represent South Dakota as an Agrisafe Total Farmer Health Coach.  

Charlotte serves as the Clinical Director for AgriSafe. Prior to this role, she worked for several years in hospital acute care settings and community education.  During those years, Charlotte developed and managed a Rural Outreach Health service and a Parish Health Ministry department serving nine counties in northeast Iowa.  A charter graduate of the University of IA agricultural occupational medicine course, she served as the agricultural occupational health services manager for the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety. Her primary role with AgriSafe involves development and dissemination of educational programs for health care professionals, agricultural businesses, and educators. 

To learn more about the AgriSafe Nurse Scholar Program, use this link:

Jul 21, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are having a conversation with Dr. Hannah Wenger, a clinical care specialist on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, and faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital. Hannah is a physician who is passionate about providing culturally relevant care to the residents of the community she serves.

“What does allopathic medicine have to do with a traditional ceremony like a sweat lodge? I would argue it has a lot to do with it”

~ Hannah Wenger M.D.

Hannah Wenger, MD, is a general internist and faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) having just completed MGH’s Fellowship Program in Rural Health Leadership.  She obtained her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Notre Dame and her medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.  She then completed an internal medicine residency and a clinical medical ethics fellowship at the University of Chicago.  As a rural health fellow at MGH, Dr. Wenger currently provides clinical care to the Sicangu Lakota Oyate on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  Her interests include Two Spirit and LGBTQ health, hepatitis C, and clinical ethics.

Jul 14, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about Caregiver Heroes and the impact of kindness.  We are having that conversation with Brian Lee, the creator of Caregiver Heroes.

“Our vision for healthcare is kindness care everywhere”

~ Brian Lee

Brian has been a professional speaker for over 36 years. He has authored 8 books, including Skillful Communication with Physicians and Rural Hospital Renaissance.

He is the CEO and Founder of Custom Learning Systems. Their mission is creating a 5-star culture of healing kindness. He also founded the HealthCare Service Excellence Conference which started 20 years ago.

Brian lives in Calgary, Canada. He has traveled over 5 million miles, while speaking at events over 3,800+ times.

Jul 7, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about how health care is a core function of the community and how it defines that community. We are having that conversation with Dr. John Cullen, Board Chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and a full scope family physician practicing in the frontier community of Valdez, Alaska.

“Health care is really one of those core functions of a community. That’s sort of what defines what a community is.”

~ Dr. John Cullen, MD

John Cullen, M.D. is part of a four-physician private clinic, the Valdez Medical Clinic, that he has been a part of since 1994.

A graduate of University of Arizona School of Medicine, he moved to Valdez, Alaska immediately after family medicine residency in Modesto, California. His family was drawn to the quality of life in Alaska and it proved to be an exciting place to practice medicine and raise his daughter and two sons. Serving as Chief of Staff for over twenty years at the Valdez Medical Center, he oversaw the expansion of the hospital. In addition, he has served as the EMS director in Valdez for 23 years.

His passion for skiing and wilderness safety landed him positions as physician for the World Extreme Skiing Championships and the King of the Hill Snowboarding championships in Valdez where he was responsible for setting up emergency services on the side of a mountain.

Alaska Academy activities include terms as Chapter President, and nineteen years as COG delegate or alternate. Honors include Alaskan Family Physician of the Year in 2008, runner up for the National AAFP Physician of the Year, and 2011 American Red Cross Hero for saving a mother and baby in an icy river car crash.

Experience serving on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services for HRSA, where he toured the country evaluating critical access hospitals and rural health systems, as well as serving on the Alaska State Medical Board, allowed him to help shape health care policy as the ACA was developed. He enjoys speaking and advocating for patients on the national stage almost as much as he enjoys his adventurous life with his wife Michelle over the past 30 years.

Jun 30, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about foundations of wellness. We are having that conversation with Bill Reger-Nash, EdD, Professor Emeritus, at the School of Public Health, West Virginia University.

“Mindfulness is learning to be more present moment by moment nonjudgmentally and all of us could use a good dose in being more aware and more present.”

~Bill Reger-Nash, EdD

Dr. Bill Reger-Nash is professor emeritus in the WVU School of Public Health. He has a doctoral degree in exercise physiology (1984) from West Virginia University and master’s degrees in educational psychology (1973) and political science (1974) from the University of Hawaii. He was an undergraduate French Major (Marist College 1965). He worked as a high school French teacher, school guidance counselor, research coordinator at a hospital Cardiac and Wellness Center, executive director of the Bayer Community Wellness Program, Director of Wellness for Ohio Valley Health Services and Education in West Virginia and eastern Ohio, and was the founding director of the West Virginia University Wellness Program. He coached football, basketball, track, soccer, and sailing.

Given his interest in population issues, Bill ran for and was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1985. Human Kinetics published his mindfulness-based Foundations of Wellness in 2015. He taught wellness and stress management courses at West Virginia University since 1991. Bill began a regular meditation practice as a religious monk in 1959 to help manage stress, increase inner peace, and keep his life in balance.

Bill and his wife Jan have a daily mindfulness practice. He enjoys spending time in the outdoor cross-country skiing, sailing, bicycling, walking in the woods, and gardening.

Jun 23, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about breaking the intergenerational cycles of poverty and education, and any other continuous cycle that has a negative impact on health and wellbeing. We are having that conversation with Dr. Randy Wykoff, Dean of the College of Public Health, and Director of the Center for Rural Health Research, at East Tennessee State University.

“If we can’t break the intergenerational cycles of poverty, we’re not going to be effective in improving rural health.”

~Randy Wykoff, MD

Randy Wykoff, MD, MPH & TM became the founding dean, College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University in 2006.  He is a physician, board-certified in both Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, with additional training and certification in Tropical Medicine.  He teaches courses in Social Justice, Public Health Leadership, and in various aspects of applied public health, and he lectures extensively on the social determinants of health. 

His research focuses on the inter-relationship of poverty and health, with a specific interest in how to improve the health status of people living in poor and/or rural areas. In 2019, he was asked to Direct the newly created Center for Rural Health Research.     
Prior to his current position, he served as Senior Vice President for International Operations at Project HOPE, overseeing health education, disaster response, and humanitarian programs in over 30 countries around the world. 

He previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) in the US Department of Health and Human Services.  In this position, he oversaw the release and implementation of Healthy People 2010, and the Surgeon General’s first Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease and Overweight and Obesity, and served for one year as the acting Executive Director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport.   

He served for 11 years at the Food and Drug Administration, holding the positions of Associate Commissioner for AIDS and Special Health Issues, and, later, Associate Commissioner for Operations.  In this latter capacity, he served for 18 months as the deputy to the Acting Commissioner.   While at FDA, he also led the Science Team for the Tobacco Working Group, served as the Executive Director of the National Task Force on AIDS Drug Development, and completed a detail with Senator Edward Kennedy and the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee.   He began his career as District Medical Director of the Upper Savannah Health District in the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, responsible for all public health activities in a rural six-county region. 
He and his wife, Janine, have five children.

Jun 16, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about bridging the divide between behavioral health and physical health to promote access across the care continuum. We are having that conversation with Chris Molaro, CEO & Co-Founder of NeuroFlow.

“We try to solve the problem of access and engagement with behavioral healthcare.”

~Chris Molaro

Chris Molaro is the CEO and co-founder of NeuroFlow, a digital health technology and analytics company promoting behavioral health access and engagement in all care settings. Chris is a West Point graduate who served in the army for 5 years, including a tour of duty in Iraq as a platoon leader. Coming back home, he experienced firsthand the gaps in the behavioral health systems and how veterans and civilians alike face too many barriers when it comes to receiving appropriate, timely care.

Chris earned his MBA at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania where he also spent time as digital health consultant at Mckinsey. Chris was also the founder of the literacy non-profit Things We Read.

Use this link to learn more about NeuroFlow and the solutions they provide:

Jun 9, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about the transformation of care. We are having that conversation with Josh Martin, CEO of Summit Pacific Medical Center, a Critical Access Hospital in Elma, Washington.

“We set a very bold vision that through Summit Care, we will build one of the healthiest communities in the nation.”

~Josh Martin

Josh Martin joined Summit Pacific Medical Center in 2016 with more than 18 years of healthcare experience in both large health systems and rural community hospitals. Josh has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, both from Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho.

He has a certification in Lean Process Improvement from the University of Washington and a Social Marketing certification from Boise State University. Josh currently serves on the Washington State Hospital Association Public Policy Committee as well as the Rural Health Committee. He is an active board member on the Washington Rural Health Collaborative, Greater Grays Harbor Regional Chamber of Commerce, and acts as Vice-Chair for CHOICE Regional Health Network.

Josh understands the healthcare delivery system and enjoys the challenge of rural hospitals. He strives to create an organizational culture that embodies excellence, compassion, and quality while advocating at a state and national level to transform our healthcare delivery system. In his free time, Josh enjoys mountain biking, playing soccer, volunteering in the community, and spending time with his wife and 3 young children.

Jun 2, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are talking about the importance of the relationship between the hospital board and the hospital CEO. We are having that conversation with Andrew “Drew” Hooper, Chairman of the Board at Summit Pacific Medical Center, a Critical Access Hospital in Elma, Washington.

“There are generally two problems that organizations see when it comes to that relationship between Board Chair and CEO.”

~Drew Hooper

Andrew “Drew” Hooper grew up in the Pacific Northwest and met his wife while auditioning for a college play in 1999. Little did they know that when they were married in the play it would bind them in a life-long commitment to one another. Five years after that amazing encounter they were married (by the same man who married them in the play!) and have worked as a team ever since.

After college Drew worked in the retail sector prior to moving to financial services. Drew became self-employed when he opened his first financial services business in Montesano, Washington, eventually opening an office in Tacoma, and now calling Olympia the base of operations for Hooper Financial.

Drew has been an active leader in the community through his involvement as a publicly elected hospital district commissioner to advocating for rural health care and financial services in Washington D.C.

May 26, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about pharmacists and their role in delivering healthcare in rural America. Did you know that most individuals in the US have a pharmacist within 5 miles of them? That is often not the case with a physician or a hospital.

“A pharmacist is actually the most accessible member of the healthcare team that is in a given community.”

~Tom Kraus

Tom Kraus is Vice President for Government Relations at ASHP. He is a graduate of University of Michigan (BS Biology), Georgetown University Law Center (Doctor Of Law), and The Johns Hopkins University (MHS, Health Policy).

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) represents pharmacists who serve as patient care providers in acute and ambulatory settings. The organization’s nearly 55,000 members include pharmacists, student pharmacists, and pharmacy technicians. For more than 75 years, ASHP has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication use and enhance patient safety. To learn more visit

May 19, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we're talking about vision care in rural America. The Niswonger College of Optometry at one of the nation’s oldest universities, Tusculum University, is totally focused on vision care in rural America

“That is robbing these people of their vision faster than should ever be conceivable in America.”

~Dr. Andrew Buzzelli

Dr. Andrew Buzzelli is the Executive Vice President for Tusculum University, College of Health Sciences, and the Founding Dean for Niswonger College of Optometry. Dr. Buzzelli received his doctorate in optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago. He holds a Master of Science degree in child development and visual perception from the State University of New York. He has practiced in the private health care sector as a specialist in dysfunctions of binocular vision and visual information processing disorders.

A noted international lecturer, Dr. Buzzelli served as a consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for the medical protocols currently utilized on the International Space Station. The author of more than 25 articles in both optometric and military publications and a recognized expert in the field of chemical and biological weapons, Dr. Buzzelli authored the first-ever ophthalmic textbook series for the treatment and management of injuries resultant from terrorist attack.

A retired colonel in the United States Air Force, Buzzelli has held command positions as the chief of optometry for the 105th Military Airlift Wing and commander of the 105th Medical Group. He served as the assistant to the command surgeon for Air Force Material Command and was selected as the Chief Advisor to the Air Force Surgeon General of the Air National Guard.

Recognized as an authority in the field of binocular vision and visual perception, Dr. Buzzelli has taught programs in the diagnosis and treatment of acquired brain injury, pediatric optometry, and binocular vision, as well as child abuse and intimate partner violence. He is one of 36 optometrists in the world recognized as a diplomat in binocular vision and perception for the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Buzzelli has already led the efforts to begin several new programs including the Niswonger College of Optometry, He has and will continue to administer the preparation of materials and documentation required for accreditation and will ensure that the academic and patient care missions of the College are accomplished. He does this all while providing leadership for recruiting and retaining highly qualified faculty, staff, and students.

May 12, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we're talking about behavioral health and addiction treatment services at a rural hospital in Louisiana. More specifically, this is a conversation about how a hospital added in-patient withdrawal management services for drug and alcohol abuse and related issues. It is a stabilization program that is a voluntary program.

“They need compassion and care and they’re very thankful that somebody isn’t judging them.”

~Jackie Reviel

Jackie Reviel has over 25 years in healthcare experience, starting her career in healthcare in 1990 in Canada where she obtained her Diploma in Nursing. She continues to have a passion for serving patients in local rural communities and has worked in many areas in nursing. Jackie has always been challenged by taking on different leadership roles including Director of Maternal Child Services, VP of Patient Care, CNO, and her current role as CEO of Allen Parish Hospital. Jackie has continued her education and obtained her BSN and MSN in Healthcare Systems Administration. She is a Rotary member and on the boards of the Rural Hospital Coalition and WorkForce Commission Board.

May 5, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we're talking about several of the challenges rural health leaders face with Naomi Sweeney from the State Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Arkansas Department of Health. Her state office has recently received approval to sponsor 10 Critical Access Hospital CEOs in attending the National Rural Health Association Rural Hospital CEO Training Program. Their vision is to these 10 CEOs return and share what they have learned with other rural hospital CEOs across the state. The expectation is that there will be a lot of good measurable data on the improvement at participant facilities once they implement the lessons learned. They see a tremendous value in this program and look forward to seeing how it affects rural health across the state.

“You cannot make a difference from an office chair alone, let people see your face.”

~Naomi Sweeney

Naomi Sweeney is the State Office of Rural Health Coordinator for the state of Arkansas. She is housed within the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the Arkansas Department of Health. Naomi is a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas. She has a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, and she has over 14 years’ experience in public health-related fields. When Naomi began her work at the Arkansas Office of Rural Health and Primary Care in November of 2018, she was responsible for recruitment and retention of medical professionals in rural and underserved areas of Arkansas through programs such as Nurse Corps, various National Health Service Corps programs, and the J1 Visa program. Naomi has an excellent track record in the field of public health, with plenty of public speaking experience, a heart for community service, and a desire to improve the health of rural Arkansans.

Apr 28, 2020

Rural health leaders are always talking about the challenge of recruiting providers. That is why we are talking with Jordan White, an undergraduate medical student at Mississippi State, and a participant in the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program this week on Rural Health Leadership Radio.

“Are you doing what you want to do? Are you doing what God wants you to do? Have you even asked?”

~Jordan White (quoting her Pastor)

Jordan is a pre-med junior at Mississippi State, having transferred from EMCC Scooba last semester. She was raised in the small town of De Kalb, MS. Her grandmother, mother, brother, sister, and a few aunts are all nurses, so she grew up hearing about the medical field. They talked about working with great doctors and not so great doctors. Jordan’s mission is to return to De Kalb and be the kind of doctor her family would enjoy working with and being seen by.

Apr 21, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is making on rural healthcare. We are having that conversation with Broch Slabach, Senior VP of Member Services at the NRHA.

“From that day forward, the end of the world changed as we know it”

~Brock Slabach

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.

Apr 14, 2020

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about recruiting providers and other professional staff to rural America. We are having that conversation with Alicia Calloway, Chief Operating Officer at OPYS Physician Services.

“It can be tough to know who you can trust in any industry, but knowing who you can trust in rural healthcare is vital”

~Alicia Calloway

Alicia Calloway was born and raised in Tennessee. She started in healthcare shortly after high school and began to develop a passion for rural healthcare in underserved communities. She began working with a staffing and management group that specialized in providing service to rural areas and worked her way up into a leadership position. Now working for a different group with the same focus, her passion to help rural hospitals succeed under what are seen as insurmountable odds has only grown.

“There is a true need for rural hospitals to find a way through the difficult times at hand. To be able to continue to offer the healthcare that the people in these communities so desperately need. I want to be part of that solution.”

~Alicia Calloway

Alicia can be reached at:

You can learn more about OPYS Physician Services by visiting

Apr 9, 2020

“COVID-19 is not just an urban problem but something that is a risk for all of us.”

-Dr. Jay Butler
Deputy Director for Infectious Disease

If you have a question or best practice to share, please reach out to the CDC at

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world as we know it.  I hope you, your family, your hospital, clinic, and community, are all doing as well as possible considering the new normal we now are living in.


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