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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 www.rhlradio.com or e-mail bill@billauxier.com.
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Dec 6, 2022

Program implementation especially in rural health is tailored to meet community needs. However, supplying the funding for these programs can be a daunting task. Today we are talking with Heather Whetsell the Administrative Director in the Department of Population Science and Policy and Dr. Nicole Summer-Gabr the Director of Social Innovation and Assistant Professor at SIU School of Medicine Department of Population Science and Policy. They will discuss program implementation and the unique funding sources they were able to acquire from the community. 

“So many people desire for their community to do better, but they might not necessarily know how to actually do that from start to finish.”

-Dr. Nicole Summers-Gabr 

“I think in order to impact change, you really do have to work with the entire community as opposed to just one entity.”

-Heather Whetsell

Heather Whetsell is the Administrative Director of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Department of Population Science and Policy (PSP), a research and policy academic department dedicated to improving health outcomes in 66 counties, mostly rural regions in central and southern Illinois. Ms. Whetsell graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics. Ms. Whetsell is devoted to improving population health outcomes, is a 2021 National Rural Health Association Rural Health Fellow, serves on the NRHA Rural Health Congress and Health Equity Council, is Co-Chair of United Way of Central Illinois’ Education Vision Council, a member of the IL Critical Access Hospital Network Rural Health Fellowship Advisory Committee, and has presented PSP’s efforts at the state and national level at events including NRHA and American Public Health Association annual conferences.

Dr. Nicole Summers-Gabr is the Director of Social Innovation and an Assistant Professor in the Population Science and Policy Department at Southern Illinois School of Medicine. Summers-Gabr received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Saint Louis University. She is on the Board of Directors for The Knowledge Center at Chaddock. She recently served on a technical expert panel for SAMHSA. Her current work is divided between two tracks: mental health and hospitals’ community health needs assessments. Her passion has driven her to transform rural communities to use evidence-based solutions to propel youths’ lives in a positive direction. To support this work over the past four years, she obtained over $1.2 million in grants and contracts from places like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation, and local rural hospitals.

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