Organizational culture is vital to the well-being of not only the organization but the community as well. Today we are talking with Dr. Bill Auxier, President, and CEO of the Dynamic Leadership Academy and Executive Director of Rural Health Leadership Radio. Bill will discuss organizational culture and the necessity for leadership to value their cultural identity.
“By improving the culture of your organization, you can improve the culture of your community as well.”
- Dr. Bill Auxier
Bill Auxier, Ph.D. is the Program Director of NRHA’s Rural Hospital Certification Programs and an expert in rural health leadership development. Dr. Auxier has worked with rural health leaders across the country to improve their organizations through more effective leadership, cultural transformation, and strategic plan development. Bill is President, and CEO of the Dynamic Leadership Academy™ and the Center for Rural Health Leadership, and Executive Director of Rural Health Leadership Radio™, a 501(c)3 non-profit that produces the podcast Rural Health Leadership Radio.
Bill started his career in healthcare as a nurse’s aide at Hamilton Memorial Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital, in his boyhood hometown, McLeansboro, Illinois. From there, he worked his way up to become the CEO of a surgical device manufacturer with global distribution. He is an Affiliate Member of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and recipient of the 2019 National Rural Health Association President’s Award.
You know the saying two is always better than one; How true is that when it comes to CEOs? Today we are talking with Jayd Keener and Mat Slaybaugh, Co-CEOs of Garfield County Hospital District. They will discuss how they acquired the Co-CEO role and what it takes to make Co-leadership successful.
“We're both here for the good of the facility, the good of the patients, the good of the Community, and the good of the staff.”
"It's not about me, it's not about Jayd, it's about what's best for the organization and the patients.”
Jayd obtained her Associate's degree in Nursing from Walla Walla Community College in 2006 and has been blessed to have her talent for leadership be seen. She was hired in 2017 at Garfield County Hospital as the Director of Nursing and became the Co-CEO in the Spring of 2019. She is on the local Recovery Navigator Program and Southeast Washington Alliance for Healthcare board and participates in several county healthcare coalition meetings. Jayd is a wife and mom to four boys aged 8 to 21 who keep her on her toes. In her free time, she enjoys watching her boys play baseball and as a family, they enjoy prospecting for Gold, camping, and attending concerts together.
Mat has a BS in biology from Lewis-Clark State College and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Idaho State University. He has been working at Garfield County hospital since 2017. Started initially as a staff therapist, then as director of rehabilitation, and now as Co-CEO since the Spring of 2019. He works with the local high school offering free PT evaluations to injured athletes, volunteering as a weight room supervisor, and working as the assistant wrestling coach. Mat enjoys most of all, spending time with his wife and children. With the little free time he has, he enjoys camping, hunting, and woodworking.
Once a farmer’s daughter now a fiercely passionate rural health advocate. This week, we are talking with Dr. SuLynn Mester, an advisory board member for the NRHA CNO certification program. SuLynn talks with us about her passion for rural healthcare and her interesting background in nursing.
“I think we have an opportunity to make a change to reset the trajectory of how rural health is shaping up…”
-Dr. SuLynn Mester
SuLynn Mester has been in nursing since 1987, specializing in critical care, cardiovascular surgical care, and trauma care, prior to moving into management and administration. She is committed to education, not only for herself but for others. She is a lifelong learner, receiving her Associate Degree in Science from Clarendon College in 1984, Associate in Nursing from Amarillo College in 1987, Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2016, Master of Science in Nursing in 2018, and Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2020, all from the University of Texas at Arlington. She sits on the board of Clarendon College School of Nursing, as well as the Area for Health Education Center (AHEC).
Succession leadership for rural healthcare is of utmost importance to her. Thus, she helped develop and is now serving as an Advisory Board Member on the NRHA Rural Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Certification Program. She is passionate about rural healthcare advocacy issues and is actively involved in efforts in Austin and Washington, DC to ensure and preserve rural healthcare access. She is heavily involved in rural health policy, serving on the Texas Nurses Association as the Governmental Advising Committee liaison, as well as serving as a Hospital and Community Health Systems Constituency Group Representative for NRHA Rural Health Congress.
She is a recipient of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH), National Rural Health Association (NRHA), and Texas Hospital Association Leadership yearlong leadership fellowship programs. She is currently an active fellow in the Coldiron Senior Nurse Executive Fellowship. In her final year of doctoral studies, she was chosen for the John and Louise Shira Fellowship Scholarship. Her rural-focused work and research have been published in Nursing Management Magazine and have an upcoming publication in the Emergency Nursing Journal.
She grew up a farm girl and currently resides in the remote rural area of Childress, Texas with her husband Randy. Her inner circle includes many four-legged family members; three of her favorites being Fred the Red Head, a Murray Gray steer and Ruby, a Texas Longhorn, and Harper, a Black Angus bottle baby.
Think about overseeing the same halls you once used as your personal Hot Wheels track. This week we are talking with Eric Swanson, the president and CEO of Adventist Health Tillamook. A true homegrown kid, Eric shares his experience managing the hospital he grew up in as a child.
“What excites me is, is how we can be collaborative and creative to serve our unique community”
Eric Swanson is President of Adventist Health Tillamook. He has been with Adventist Health for 30 years and has served in a variety of leadership roles, both clinical and non-clinical. Eric holds an MBA with an emphasis in Healthcare Administration and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare CareExecutives. He is also an Oregon licensed, and Nationally Registered Paramedic.
Rural healthcare is full of innovative solutions to the unique obstacles they face, including access to care. What happens when technology is introduced to bridge the access gap? This week we are talking with Dr. Jenny Schneider the CEO of Homeward Health about collaborating in the competitive world of rural healthcare to increase access to care.
“At the end of the day, we're caring for people, not patients”
Dr. Jennifer Schneider is the chief executive officer of Homeward, a company focused on improving access to high-quality, affordable comprehensive care in rural communities. Having grown up in the small town of Winona, Minnesota, and being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a young age, she experienced first-hand the lack of primary and specialty care that millions of families across rural America deal with every day. This fueled her passion to create a new approach to comprehensive, value-based care in rural America.
Previously, Dr. Schneider served as the chief medical officer and president of Livongo. While there, her team led the company through the largest consumer digital health Initial Public Offering in history and the industry’s largest merger ever between Livongo and Teladoc Health, valuing Livongo at $18.5billion and beginning a new era of consumer-centric virtual care. She also served as chief medical officer of Castlight Health
Can a four-day work week work in rural healthcare? This week, we are having a conversation with Monica Bourgeau, a futurist and CEO of New Phase Partners. Monica shares her experiences as a futurist and the changes that rural health leaders should expect.
“When I look at leadership, the most important thing to me is being able to create a vision for the future and then being able to share that vision”
Monica Bourgeau, MS is a futurist, award-winning author, and CEO of New Phase Partners, a consulting firm specializing in Future of Work strategies, planning, leadership coaching, and training. Monica has nearly twenty-five years of experience in healthcare leadership positions, including nearly ten years leading national rural healthcare transformation programs, business development, and strategy.
She has a master’s degree in Management with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership from Warner Pacific University, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Colorado State University, and completed the MBA Foundations program at the University of Montana. She has studied futures thinking at MIT, Future I/O, and the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies. When she’s not working, you’ll find Monica walking on the Oregon coast, snuggling her rescue dogs, and spending time with her family. Monica believes we each have a duty to leave the world a little better than we found it.
Financial viability has become a hot topic for health leaders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, we're talking with Rich Scheinblum Vice president and CFO of Monadnock Community Hospital.
"Cash provides you flexibility in both good and bad times"
Executive Vice President-Administration & Chief Financial Officer Rich has been with MCH for 24 years, as Controller, Director of Peri-operative Services, and now as Chief Financial Officer. He obtained his BS in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut, and his MBA from Plymouth State College. Rich’s work experience includes a mental health facility, a children’s hospital, an insurance company, and a rehabilitation facility.
He is a member of HFMA, ACHE, served as treasurer of the New Hampshire Rural ACO, and serves as treasurer of New Hampshire Value-Care. In addition, he has served on the town of Dublin Budget Committee for 12 years and 9 years as a trustee of trust funds. In his spare time, he was active on the local Cal Ripken League board as a Board member and coach and served on the Monadnock United Way Finance Committee and CONVAL School District COVID Reopening Committee. He resides in Peterborough with his two sons.
What can a home-grown lawyer offer to rural healthcare? This week we are having a conversation with Elizabeth Burrows, the owner of Burrows Consulting Inc. A lawyer turned health consultant, she provides a unique perspective on rural health and policy.
What scares me the most about our future is finding providers or signing providers that are going to embrace living in rural areas
Elizabeth is an alumnus of North Vermillion High School and graduated magna cum laude from DePauw University with a degree in Political Science and Communications where she studied abroad at Oxford University. She went on to receive her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Elizabeth worked at the Indiana State Department of Health as the Director of the State Office of Rural Health, where she more than tripled the amount of federal funding for critical access hospitals.
Elizabeth then returned to Cayuga, her hometown, to start up and serve as the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Valley Professionals Community Health Center (previously the Vermillion-Parke Community Health Center), which grew over 1000% in the eight years she served as CEO. During that time, Elizabeth started the first mobile school-based health center with leadership from Senator Lugar and his staff to serve rural schools. She was selected as a leader in the CMS Practice Transformation project leading her health center to become nationally accredited as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home.
In 2014, Elizabeth started her own business, Burrows Consulting, Inc. where she has assisted numerous rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers, institutions of higher education, critical access hospitals, rural health associations, and other non-profits attain over $92,000,000 in grant funding and over $100,000,000 in enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and 340B Shared Savings. She has worked with health care facilities in 28 states and created over fifteen new federally qualified health center entities. Through her consulting business, she has also served as an Interim CEO for entities seeking FQHC designation.
She graduated from the Lugar Series for Excellence in Public Service, received the Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders, is a 2011 National Rural Health Association Rural Health Fellow, and was given the DePauw University Alumni Community Leadership Award. Elizabeth was named a Fellow for the National Leadership Academy of Public Health and is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association. Elizabeth resides near her family farm in Vermillion County, Indiana, and enjoys spending time with her husband, Steve, and daughters, Eleanor age 12, and Amelia age 10. Together, the four enjoy traveling, visiting Indiana and national historic sites, and competing at sheep shows.
Two weeks ago, we shared the top ten most listened to RHLR episodes ever! Number two on that list was Episode #103 a Conversation with Kate Hill. This week we’re highlighting that episode with Kate Hill and listening back to her story.
“Our motto is actually safety, honesty and caring.”
Kate Hill, RN, is a graduate of Albert Einstein Medical Center School of Nursing in Philadelphia, PA. As an Army Nurse, Kate served in Viet Nam (27th Surgical Hospital in Chu Lai) where she was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service. Kate has worked with orthopedic patients in several capacities including Head Nurse of Orthopedics in Newark, NJ., followed by Biomet working in various capacities.
Kate joined The Compliance Team (TCT) in early 2012 to direct TCT’s rural health clinic accreditation program and has fallen in love with Rural. As VP of Clinical Services, she has spearheaded the TCT Rural Health Clinic Accreditation program combining her clinical expertise, business acumen and passion for delivery of the best care possible to every patient. She presently serves on the Board of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics. Kate also works with clinics in TCT’s PCMH program and is ensuring that a PCMH accreditation is being increasingly rewarded by payers.
This week we’re having a special conversation, celebrating the memory of one our hosts’ longtime friends and a dedicated rural health leader Walter Anthony Mauck Junior, DDS, also known as “Junior.” Junior was the “homegrown kid” who came back to serve his rural community after becoming a dentist.
“We're dedicating this episode to my lifelong friend, Walter Anthony Mauck Junior, DDS.”
~Dr. Bill Auxier
Junior was a Dentist for 38 years and practiced in McLeansboro, IL and Dayton, OH. He was honored to once serve as the President of the Wabash River Dental Society and enjoyed the fellowship of his colleagues throughout his career. He was an avid golfer, and his favorite pastime was playing golf with his dear friends he made during dental school. Junior was a marathon runner, having completed thirteen full marathons and countless half marathons. He served others through the Catholic Society Service of Dayton, was a lector, taught religion classes, and was a devoted member of the Catholic Church.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re celebrating our 6-year anniversary! We’re thrilled to have shared these wonderful conversations with our listeners over the years, and in this week’s episode, we’ll be counting down the top 10 most listened to episodes in RHLR history.
“It’s hard to believe that rural health leadership radio is 6 years old!”
Dr. Bill Auxier founded Rural Health Leadership Radio 6 years ago with the mission of impacting rural healthcare at a very fundamental level. Rural Health Leadership Radio provides a forum for conversations, learning, and research, to assist rural health leaders in becoming more effective leaders. We provide a space for rural health leaders to discuss and share what ideas are working, what is not, lessons learned, success stories, strategies, things to avoid, and anything else relating to rural health leadership.
Thank you for joining us on RHLR’s journey!
Community engagement has become a focus of many rural communities in addressing population health needs. Jonathan Dayton, Executive Director of the Maryland Rural Health Association, is our guest this week sharing his passion and insights on engaging rural communities in whole health.
“There's a lot of good, innovative things that not only Maryland is working on, but the nation is working on, and they're really going to address a lot of these issues that we're talking about.”
Jonathan Dayton is a Western Maryland native and Resident living with his wife, Addison. Jonathan comes to the Maryland Rural Health Association (MRHA) with an extensive background in healthcare delivery systems, value-based care models, rural community health care development, program development, and administration, rural under-served community enhancement, and non-profit marketing. He has previous experience with the MRHA serving on the Conference Committee for several years.
Before joining MRHA, Jonathan served as the Community Relations and Population Health Manager for Mountain Laurel Medical Center, a federally qualified health center located in Oakland, MD. Previously, Jonathan served on the Mountain Laurel Medical Center Board of Directors and worked at UPMC-Western Maryland in physical therapy.
Jonathan serves his community in various roles, including a volunteer firefighter/EMT with Potomac Volunteer Fire Company and Baltimore Pike Volunteer Fire Company. Jonathan brings legislative experience and formerly served two terms on the Maryland Youth Advisory Council.
On our last episode, we talked about the innovative program connecting libraries and health liaisons in South Carolina to make a difference in rural healthcare. This week we’re talking with one of the librarians who has successfully implemented this program! Amy Schofield is the Director of the Kershaw County Library in Camden, South Carolina.
“We’re not just rooms with books, we’re also places that are trying to connect very deeply to people who have issues that we want to address and that we want to connect with the community.”
Amy’s professional story begins in 1994 when she graduated from library school and moved to New York City where she worked as a public librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. She began her first stint as a Library Director in Kershaw in 2008. After a five-year hiatus working for Richland County Public Library, she returned to Kershaw in 2020. Amy sees public libraries as catalysts for individual and societal change. Her work is geared toward creating an environment that centers on respect, with the belief that a space conducive to work can create self-sufficiency, that the joy of reading is contagious, and that fulfillment comes from understanding and exploration of our larger world. Also, working in libraries is fun!
Have you ever heard of libraries working with healthcare organizations to better serve their rural communities? This week, we’re talking to Dr. Megan Weis and Alanti Price about how they have innovatively connected local libraries with social workers to better meet the needs of their rural communities in South Carolina.
“There’s so much opportunity and so much moving forward with more nontraditional access points because it’s not just libraries. There are other community areas. And I think that there’s really a movement we’ve seen in South Carolina but also, nationally.”
~Dr. Megan Weis
Dr. Megan Weis is the Director of Community Engagement for the SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare. She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist with over 20 years of experience in public health education, promotion, research, and policy. Her work bridges practice and academia to unite non-traditional partners from various disciplines and organizations to jointly address public health and healthcare challenges at the community and state levels. She is a graduate of Furman University and received her graduate degrees from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.
Alanti Price is a Program Manager for the SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare. She has worked in the public and non-profit sectors on several public and community health initiatives. Alanti holds a Master of Public Health from Georgia State University and a B.A. in Biological Sciences from Clemson University.
Cancer care can be a rare sight in rural healthcare, however, there are an increasing amount of opportunities to bring cancer care back to rural communities. This week, we’re talking about the Rural America Cancer Patient experience with Dr. Wade Swenson, Medical Director, and Medical Oncologist at Lake Region Healthcare.
“Decentralizing cancer care in the United States and in rural areas can make economic sense and practical sense, both for patients, families, communities, and health systems”
~Dr. Wade Swenson
Wade Swenson, MD, is a rural oncologist who has practiced at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, Minnesota for 17 years. He is originally from Moorhead, Minnesota. He attended Medical School at the University of North Dakota and residency and fellowship at the University of Iowa. He is a father to a high school senior and recent college graduate. His professional interests include rural cancer delivery, leadership, and health policy. He recently completed an MBA in Healthcare at the University of St Thomas in Minneapolis. He also was a Rural Health Fellow at the National Rural Health Association from 2021-2022.
This week, we’re introducing you to another new member of our team! Say hello to Laura Pemble, the first resident of the Center for Rural Health Leadership (CRHL). Laura will be assisting CRHL with their work with NRHA’s Rural Hospital Certification Programs.
“This is really meaningful work and one of the reasons I went into healthcare in the first place is to help people and I believe the work here is doing just that.”
Laura Pemble is currently pursuing her master’s in health administration at the University of South Florida. She has been interested in healthcare since childhood and has enjoyed her first year as an MHA candidate. Her main experience has been in healthcare talent acquisition, but now she joins the Center for Rural Health Leadership for a year-long residency.
Rural Health Leadership Radio is growing by an extra member – we’re excited to introduce our new Intern, Raven Muse! Raven is a current Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) student in Tampa, Florida who has a unique perspective having grown up in a rural Florida town.
“I wanted to be a part of rural health so that I can make sure I bring everything that I know back to my city.”
Raven Muse is currently a candidate for the Master of Health Administration degree at the University of South Florida. She completed her undergraduate degree at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee Florida. While still being a new careerist, Raven has already developed a desire to better understand the avenue of rural healthcare and its leadership.
She has experience in monitoring and observing rural healthcare leaders through her internship involvement with The Villages Regional Hospital. Exposure to this kind of health system along with her upbringing in the small rural city of Wildwood, Florida gave Raven the ambition to pursue further knowledge in all things rural healthcare-related. Moving forward, she hopes to be a vital part of the upstart of additional rural healthcare centers within Florida.
Have you ever heard of a rural hospital CFO working remotely? This week you will! We’re having a conversation with Rhonda Wild, a rural hospital CFO who is working remotely in Idaho for her hospital in Kansas.
“What excites me most about the future of our rural health is that we have the capacity to provide patients with the best of both worlds. We're large enough to offer top technology and small enough to still be personal.”
Rhonda works remotely from Idaho as the CFO of Stanton County Hospital in Johnson, Kansas. She has a 29-year tenure in the healthcare field. She started out wanting to become an RN and attended the University of South Dakota and North Idaho College.
After completing her prerequisites and pre-nursing, she faced the issue of applying for the program, and due to the program only accepting a certain number of candidates it became apparent, that she had to move on to something different in the healthcare field. She then graduated from Shoreline College with a degree in Health Information Technology and became a Registered Health Information Technician. She and her husband live in the great Northwest Idaho, where they enjoy all the outdoor activities beautiful Idaho has to offer.
Interactions between healthcare, law, and policy, and public health can have huge impacts on the rural health landscape. Craig Wilson, Director of Health Policy at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), tackles this complicated subject in this week’s episode!
“If we can’t improve the health of the lives in our most rural parts of the state, then we can’t do it for those in the urban parts either.”
Craig Wilson is the Director of Health Policy at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI). He leads efforts to achieve ACHI’s access and quality goals and provides analysis of laws and policies that impact health and health care in Arkansas. His focus is on developing and sustaining initiatives to provide Arkansans with improved access to quality health care by eliminating financial, geographic, cultural, and language barriers.
Craig is a graduate of Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. He is an attorney licensed to practice in Arkansas, having earned his Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law and a master of public administration from Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in Atlanta, Georgia.
Physician leaders play an important role in the sustainability of rural healthcare. This week, we’re having a conversation with Dr. Bensson Samuel, who tells us about his experiences as an intensive care physician in rural Michigan.
“The interesting fact about rural health is that small contributions that are made by each individual in that community leads to a bigger impact.”
~Dr. Bensson Samuel
Dr. Samuel is currently based out of Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, and is currently practicing at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault. He is a graduate of the National Rural Health Association’s CFO and CEO programs. He also completed the University of Oxford Executive Leadership Program and holds a Doctor of Business Administration from the Swiss School of Business and Research with a focus on Situational Leadership and its efficacy on achieving organizational goals.
His other qualifications include board certifications in Internal medicine, UCNS Neuro-critical care, Certified Health Care Financial Professional from HFMA, and Board Certified in Public Health from the National Board of Public Health Examiners.
He spends his free time with his family and four kids. His other passions include economics and human rights.
The financial environment in healthcare is constantly changing and can have even more fluctuation in rural healthcare. This week we’re having a conversation with Patrick Ritter about the financial side of rural healthcare, now and in the future.
"I do think it’s exciting about how the smaller facilities can tailor and move quickly into the needs that they see in the community to provide healthcare."
Patrick Ritter became the Chief Financial Officer in December 2019. He has over 20 years in healthcare and leadership experience working in several organizations within the Snoqualmie Valley. He joined the District on September 1, 2004, as Clinic Billing Manager and became Revenue Cycle Director in May 2014.
He has a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Operations Management from the University of Washington and an MBA in Healthcare Management from Western Governors University. Patrick resides in North Bend with his wife Tricia and two daughters and enjoys serving in mission work in Honduras, traveling, and spending time with his family. For more than 10 years, he served as a board member for Summit Classical Christian School, Fall City, Wash.
Transitioning to a new facility AND into a new position can be an overwhelming change, particularly in rural healthcare while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, we’re having a conversation with Jennifer Reed, CEO of Ferry County Health, who tells us about how she made those switches and how it’s going!
“We don’t have to do it all. We can be a part of it and be a part of the solution and I see that a lot. So that’s really exciting about rural healthcare.”
Jennifer is the CEO of Ferry County Public Hospital, a small critical access hospital in North Central Washington state. She came to Ferry County to work as the CFO/COO in January of 2022 from a large critical access hospital in the Western part of Washington State where she was the Director of Finance for almost 10 years. She has been in the accounting field for over twenty years, specializing mainly in non-profit entities from very small to very large organizations.
Jennifer came to healthcare finance 10 years ago finding, what she believes, is the perfect niche and industry for her. She holds a Master’s degree in Accounting, and a certification as a rural CFO from the National Rural Health Association sits on the board of the WA/AK chapter of HFMA and enjoys membership in ACHE. She enjoys the creative challenge of finance in the rural hospital and making that work within the framework of critical access reimbursement and our local government. Jennifer brings her experience in rural community development, budgeting, strategic and organizational planning, reporting, and contract compliance to her position.
Last week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we started discussing leadership solutions available specifically for rural health leaders. We continue that conversation this week by investigating NRHA’s Rural Health Congress, which advocates for rural healthcare at the national level.
“Every rural community is so different and the more we can increase that understanding of all those distinct features in small towns in rural America, the better we can provide a exchange and distribution of ideas that's going to inform health care providers, provide research and look at methods that are going to improve rural health.”
~Dr. Bill Auxier
The Rural Health Congress is the policy-making body of the National Rural Health Association. Elected representatives from each of the association's constituency groups, State Association Council, State Office Council, issue groups and officers serve on the Congress. This gives broad grassroots representation that reflects the concerns of NRHA's membership. The Rural Health Congress determines the association's positions on public policy through a series of policy briefs and issue papers.
To learn more, visit their website: https://www.ruralhealth.us/advocate/rural-health-congress
Are you curious about what leadership solutions are available for rural healthcare leaders who are passionate about making a difference? This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we explore another rural-focused leadership program that’s working to improve health equity, NRHA’s Rural Health Fellows Program.
“It's very exciting things that our rural health fellows are going on to do, and ultimately what the program is trying to do which is to be more representative of what rural communities are really like and what they really need..”
NRHA's Rural Health Fellows program is a yearlong, intensive training program that develops leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America. Each year, NRHA selects 10 to 15 highly motivated individuals who have proven their dedication to improving the health of rural Americans through their educational or professional experience. The goal of the Fellows program is to educate and develop a network of diverse rural leaders that will step forward to serve in key positions in the association, affiliated advocacy groups, and local and state legislative bodies with health equity as the main focus.
For more information, go to https://www.ruralhealth.us/programs/rural-health-fellows
Public health has evolved greatly over time, particularly in rural healthcare over the past few years as the COVID-19 pandemic took place. This week, we’re having a conversation with Samantha Wells who tells us all about her experience with rural healthcare, public health in rural areas, the impact of the pandemic, and how she’s working to make a difference.
“You have way more power and influence than you feel. That’s what I want everybody to remember – just because you come from a small town or small rural area, it doesn’t mean you cannot make a difference.”
Samantha Wells is a 2nd year Doctor of Public Health (DrPH, Health Leadership) student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She currently serves as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Arkansas Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity and HIV Elimination. She has previously served as the Program Manager for Health Help Mississippi, an initiative of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. Ms. Wells graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Master of Public Health degree in 2017 and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree in 2015, both with a Health Policy/Administration concentration.
At USM, Samantha was recognized for her commitment to Public Health with the 2017 Alton B. Cobb Outstanding Master of Public Health Award. Samantha became Certified in Public Health (CPH) by the National Board of Public Health Examiners in 2019. Driven by her commitment to improving public health in rural, minority communities, Ms. Wells is passionate about her efforts with improving health equity and eliminating health disparities.