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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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Rural Health Leadership Radio™
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May 21, 2024

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, Dr. Bill Auxier reflects on his recent experience at the Coaching and Leadership in Healthcare event co-hosted by Harvard Medical School, the Institute of Coaching, and McLean Hospital. He discusses the concept of "intelligent failure" as presented by Harvard Professor Amy Edmondson, emphasizing the importance of distinguishing intelligent failures, which are well-considered and lead to valuable learnings, from mere sloppy mistakes. The discussion explores how embracing intelligent failures can foster innovation and growth within organizations and the pivotal role of leadership particularly in rural settings.

“Intelligent failure happens all the time. It happens in science, in industry innovation projects, in sports, and even in ordinary life." 

-Dr. Bill Auxier

"The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth" by Amy Edmondson is a pivotal guide for fostering an environment where innovation and engagement are forefront. This book argues that the traditional workplace culture of conformity and silence is detrimental in today's knowledge-driven economy. Instead, it champions a culture where it's safe to share ideas, ask questions, and admit mistakes. 

Edmondson presents practical strategies for creating psychological safety, enhancing team performance, and encouraging the open exchange of ideas to fuel innovation and growth. The book offers a blueprint for leaders looking to nurture a climate of transparency and openness, ensuring that every team member feels valued and heard, thereby driving organizational success. You can purchase a copy of the book here: The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth: Edmondson, Amy C.: 9781119477242: Amazon.com: Books

May 14, 2024

When you think about rural healthcare, you may not think about Scotland, but Scotland has some very rural areas that deal with similar issues we deal with in rural America.  Hear about what they are doing in rural Scotland to deliver health and wellbeing to their residents, by listening to our conversation with Dr. Emma Watson, 2021-22 U.K. Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice Deputy Medical Director at NHS Highland.

“NHS Highland delivers integrated health and social care, so it is not just about illness.”

~Dr. Emma Watson

Dr. Emma Watson MSc, FRCPath, FRCPEd is a 2020-21 UK Harkness Fellow in Healthcare Policy and Practice.  A Consultant Medical Microbiologist by background and a senior clinical systems leader in Scotland, she is an expert in quality improvement and in medical education and workforce planning.  Emma is Deputy Medical Director in NHS Highland which is, geographically, one of the largest and most sparsely populated combined health and social care systems in the UK.  She is also a senior medical adviser in the Scottish Government.  In both roles her focus is on developing innovative approaches to ensuring equitable access to high quality health care services with a sustainable healthcare workforce, particularly in remote and rural areas.  

Emma has led a number of major change programs including the development of Scotland’s first graduate entry medical school.  Emma previously held a post in the Scottish Government as Clinical Lead for the Scottish Patient Safety Program during which time she ensured quality improvement methodology translated from the development of health policy and strategy through to implementation across the entirety of the Scottish healthcare system.  Scotland was the first country in the world to implement a patient safety program on a whole system basis at national level.  As Director of Medical Education in NHS Highland she focused on the delivery of high quality medical education as a tool to increase recruitment and attract young doctors to the region as well as ensuring there is now an established programme to encourage young people from the area to go to medical school.  During the COVID-19 pandemic she led the clinical response in her region and ensured there was a whole system approach to manage the impact of the virus.  

May 7, 2024

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, Michael Hassell, CEO of Melissa Memorial Hospital in Colorado, discusses his journey from paramedic to hospital executive. Hassell discusses his strategic focus on community-centric initiatives, like enhancing local orthopedic services and integrating telemedicine. He also shares insights on effective collaboration through the Eastern Plains Health Consortium, underscoring the value of collective action in addressing rural healthcare challenges.

“Being rural should be seen less as a location and more like a proclamation of our dedication to creating stronger, sustainable healthcare.”

-Michael Hassel

Michael Hassell is the CEO of Melissa Memorial Hospital in Holyoke, Colorado. His experience includes roles in healthcare leadership, incident command, and consulting. Notable positions include Deputy Incident Commander for Region 7 All Hazards Incident Command in Florida during the COVID-19 crisis. He has also held management positions at various healthcare facilities, demonstrating expertise in leadership development, operations, safety, emergency management, and service line expansion. 

Michael is a Fellow for the American College of Healthcare Executives, holds a certification from the National Rural Health Association, and an adjunct professor for Regis University.  He holds a Bachelor's of Science and Master of Business Administration and enjoys camping and spending time with his two daughters. 

Apr 30, 2024

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, Kevin Stansbury, CEO of Lincoln Community Hospital in Colorado, shares his diverse and extensive experience in healthcare, including his time working internationally and his transition into rural healthcare leadership. He emphasizes the critical role of rural hospitals in providing essential services and the personal connections that enhance community healthcare. Kevin passionately advocates for more significant investment in rural healthcare infrastructure and policies that support the sustainability and advancement of health services in rural areas.

“The people who work in rural and frontier healthcare, we're so connected to our communities... It's that connection with community that is delightful and really reassuring”

-Kevin Stansbury

Kevin Stansbury serves as the CEO at Lincoln Health in Hugo, CO. Kevin has over 35 years in healthcare, primarily in community hospitals.  He has served in roles in hospital administration, strategic planning, healthcare project planning and service in emerging economies.  His work has taken him not only across the United States but all over the globe, including Bangladesh, Botswana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Vietnam.  He serves on the Executive Committee of the Colorado Hospital Association Board of Trustees as Immediate Past Chair. He has also served on various State and National task forces supporting rural health. 

Recently Mr. Stansbury was appointed by Governor Polis to the Colorado Option Advisory Committee.  He also serves on the Colorado e-Health Commission. Mr. Stansbury is a founding member of the Eastern Plains Health Consortium.  He received his BS in Business Administration from the University of Wyoming; MS in Health Services Administration from Central Michigan University and he received his JD with honors from the University of Wyoming College of Law. Kevin and his wife Jennifer have three grown children, a daughter in Castle Rock with one of their grandchildren, a daughter and son-in-law in Firestone, Colorado with their other five grandchildren; and a son who lives in Wichita, Kansas

Apr 22, 2024

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, hosted by Bill Auxier and Sydney Grant, guest Kristen Juliar, a capital resources consultant with the National Organization for State Offices of Rural Health, discusses her journey into rural healthcare. In our discussion with Kristin, she talks about the importance of understanding rural healthcare needs and highlights various successful partnerships and projects that integrate healthcare with broader community services. Kristin helps rural communities sustain healthcare services by engaging partnerships and accessing capital resources.

“There is a ton of expertise out there, so don’t be afraid to tap into that”

-Kristin Juliar

Kristin Juliar is a seasoned consultant with the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, where she leads the Rural Health Capital Resources Council and Center. She has an extensive background in rural health and community development, having previously directed the Montana Office of Rural Health and the Montana Area Health Education Center at Montana State University for 16 years. Before her tenure in Montana, she directed Minnesota's Healthcare Education-Industry Partnership and served as Executive Director of a rural development organization. Juliar is actively involved in various national rural health committees, including the Executive Committee of the National Rural Health Resource Center and the AHA Population and Community Health Advisory Committee. She holds an M.A. in Urban and Regional Studies.

Apr 15, 2024

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, hosted by Dr. Bill Auxier and Sydney Grant, we welcome another young rural health leader, Alana Monson Administrative Fellow at Trinity Health in Des Moines, Iowa. Just months after graduating with a Master's in Health Administration, Alana found herself in the role of interim CEO at Manning Regional Healthcare Center, a critical access hospital close to her hometown in Iowa. 

In our conversation, she discusses how she rapidly transitioned her leadership skills, adapting to the role thanks to a lot of trust from her team. Her story is a testament to the potential for young leaders to make significant contributions to healthcare in rural settings.

“If you were ever facing a challenge or responsibility that might seem daunting to you, just do it because your future will thank you for the growth”

-Alana Monson

Alana Monson is an administrative fellow with Trinity Health – MercyOne in Des Moines, Iowa and recently served as Interim Chief Executive Officer for Manning Regional Healthcare Center in Manning, Iowa. Alana grew up in rural Western Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa with her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting in 2020 and Master of Health Administration in 2023. 

While pursuing her graduate degree, she worked with classmates to form the Student Association for Rural Health. In addition to her experience as CEO at a critical access hospital, Alana also has experience working for a Medicare administrative contractor, an academic medical center, a health system, and serving on the Iowa Rural Health Association board.

Apr 9, 2024

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, Aidan Hettler, CEO of Sedgwick County Health Center, shares his unique journey from a recent college graduate with a background in supply chain management to becoming the CEO of a rural hospital at the age of 22. We discuss the importance of servant leadership and the impact young people can have in rural healthcare even without significant experience. Aidan shares the highlights of his role as CEO including the growth of services and his role in the community.

Rural America is a really good place to work if you are young and aspiring to make a really big impact." 

- Aidan Hettler

Aidan Hettler is a Pittsburgh native, who moved to Colorado for his college education. Aidan is now the CEO of Sedgwick County Health Center (SCHC), a critical access hospital system serving a rural community on the Colorado Eastern Plains and extending into neighboring Nebraska. As the largest employer in Sedgwick County, SCHC not only offers crucial medical services through its clinics, long-term care facilities, and a critical-access hospital but also sustains the economic vitality of the region. Aidan’s vision extends beyond his immediate responsibilities, aspiring to collaborate with like-minded professionals and organizations to innovate and champion a rural healthcare landscape where quality care is a universal right, not a privilege limited by geography.

Apr 2, 2024

Capital funding plays a crucial role in the success of rural hospitals. This week, we feature Brian Haapala, CEO of Stroudwater Capital Partners, who is at the forefront of assisting rural healthcare organizations in overcoming the hurdles of securing capital funding. Brian emphasizes the pivotal role of healthcare in small communities and shares his dedication to empowering these communities to drive healthcare improvements from within. 

Our discussion with Brian sheds light on the significance of updating rural healthcare infrastructure. He provides insights into effective strategies for obtaining funding and implementing capital improvement projects in rural environments, underscoring the transformative impact these investments can have on community health support and rural economic vitality.

“Rural Healthcare is the cornerstone of rural economies”

-Brian Haapala

Brian is the CEO of Stroudwater Capital Partners helping improve access to capital for rural health care providers nationally. He is passionate about creating solutions to improve rural healthcare through capital investment, and he guides leaders through the process of securing capital through the rural challenges of limited resources. Brian has over 25 years of experience as an advisor and investment banker to rural health systems and has planned and/or financed over $1.5 billion in rural capital investments over this time. He holds a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan.

Mar 26, 2024

On Rural Health Leadership Radio, we are always discussing innovation in rural healthcare, and this week our conversation is through the lens of the new Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) model. We are delighted to welcome Anna Anna who serves as the Program Director at the Rural Health Redesign Center (RHRCO) and works to promote access to quality healthcare in rural communities.  In our conversation, Anna discusses the REH model and shares her insights on how hospitals can make a successful conversion, and what it means to their communities. Learn more about how organizations like RHRC can help rural hospitals on their website here!

“Although the Rural Emergency Hospital’s Designation is new, it’s already saved hospitals from closure”

-Anna Anna 

Anna Anna is a transformational leader and Registered Nurse with 30 years of experience in rural healthcare. Anna’s position at the Rural Health Redesign Center includes the role of Program Director for the Rural Emergency Hospital Technical Assistance Center. In her role, Anna works directly with hospitals throughout the country exploring the Rural Emergency Hospital as a possible pathway to maintain healthcare in their communities. Before this role, Anna held positions in hospital leadership for over 20 years, including Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Executive Officer. Anna has a Master's in Healthcare Administration and is a Board Certified Nurse Executive

Mar 19, 2024

Looking to test your knowledge of rural health? This episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio is exactly what you need! Join Sydney and Bill as they put their rural health expertise to the test with a series of trivia questions. Covering topics from community health workers to rural health clinics, this episode is full of learning. Listen in, play along, and see how much you know about rural health.

“This was a wonderful way to learn. Good conversations, learning, and research were done by all of us today.”

Sydney Grant

Mar 12, 2024

Securing a healthier future for rural communities begins with the engagement of our younger generations. This week, we're thrilled to host three emerging leaders on Rural Health Leadership Radio: Jenah McCarty, Hallie Vonk, and Nick Lembezeder. These graduate students from the University of Iowa's College of Public Health share their journey in founding the inaugural Student Association for Rural Health (SARH) and outline the organization's objectives. Throughout the episode, they reflect on SARH's influence on themselves and their peers and offer guidance for students aspiring to establish similar organizations.

“The Student Association for Rural Health is reinvigorating individual’s passion for rural health, and sharing that passion with the next generation of leaders so we can create a better future for rural health”

-Hallie Vonk

Nick is a second-year Master of Public Health of Public Health student at the University of Iowa and Co-Programming and Events chair for the SARH. He is from Peosta, Iowa, and spent four years in Decorah Iowa completing his bachelor’s in Classical Studies and Biology at Luther College. This fall Nick will be attending the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine and hopes to practice medicine in rural Iowa.

Jenah McCarty is a Master of Public Health and Master of Health Administration student at the University of Iowa, and President of SARH. She is also an intern with Rural Health Leadership Radio. Jenah completed her undergraduate at the University of Iowa in Public Health and Human Relations. Jenah grew up in rural Iowa, which sparked her passion for rural health.

Hallie Vonk is a Master of Health Administration student at the University of Iowa and Co-Programming and Events chair for the SARH. She was raised in Hinton, Iowa, and completed her undergraduate degree in Health and Human Physiology at the University of Iowa. Hallie found an interest in rural health during her graduate program, highlighting the advantage of personal connections in rural communities.

Mar 5, 2024

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, Karen Cheeseman, CEO of Mackinac Straits Health System in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, shares her journey from an HR role to leading a hospital system. In our discussion with Karen, she highlights collaborative relationships in the communities Mackinac Straights Health System serves including how they integrate tribal medicine into a small hospital. Karen shares the story of a newly built facility thanks to innovative ideas and a land donation by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. 

“We’re addressing the care needs in a very comprehensive way in the community, including tribal medicine” 

-Karen Cheeseman

Karen has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mackinac Straits Health System since 2017.  Previously, Karen worked for the health system for many years and held various leadership roles including the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Human Resource Officer.  Karen holds a master's degree in Organizational Management from Spring Arbor University and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from Michigan State University.  Karen currently serves on the Michigan Health and Hospital Association Board of Directors.  She has served as the Upper Peninsula Hospital Council Chair, the Small and Rural Health Council, and the Legislative Policy Panel for MHA.  Karen is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Feb 27, 2024

On this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we welcome Elise Bur, Director of the Northern Michigan University Center for Rural Health. In our conversation, Elise discusses several key initiatives of the Center for Rural Health, including the feasibility of a dental hygienist program to address local needs, an oral health literacy program, and community health worker training to expand essential services. Elise also discusses an innovative Community Paramedicine education program aimed at delivering more comprehensive care to patients in their homes. 

“If we can home grow our own, you are more likely to retain them in our rural community”

-Elise Bur

Elise joined Northern Michigan University in July 2020 as the inaugural director of the NMU Center for Rural Health. She has more than thirty years of combined experience working in higher education and the healthcare industry. Elise is extremely dedicated to identifying, understanding, and addressing regional health care needs through collaborative efforts. The foundation of her professional success can be attributed to building relationships and partnering with agencies and businesses on initiatives that improve the health and well-being of individuals. Additionally, she is extremely passionate about giving regional residents a voice by sharing challenges and success with local, state, and federal legislators which continues to result in new and ongoing support for regional, state, and national health-related matters.

Feb 20, 2024

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking with Frank Brabec, CEO of Brabec Healthcare Management and President of the Imperial Valley Coalition for Sustainable Healthcare Facilities in California. We discuss the significance of community collaboration and how rural communities can come together to face health challenges. Frank shares more about the Imperial Valley Coalition for Sustainable Healthcare Facilities and the unique way they are serving surrounding communities. Brabec emphasizes the critical role of leadership in rural healthcare success, advocating for continuous self-improvement, and working together with community partners. 

“Leadership is the number one determinant of rural hospital success. I’ve seen evidence of that over and over. “

- Frank Brabec

Frank Brabec is a seasoned healthcare professional with a varied background spanning from his beginnings as an orderly in surgery to leadership roles in hospital and physician practice operations. Since 2008, he has excelled in healthcare management and consulting, consistently delivering solutions that have improved operations and generated millions in increased margins. He has a strong commitment to continuous learning, evident in his recent completion of the NRHA Rural Hospital CEO Certification Program. Frank is a recurring speaker at multiple conferences, and has been a Medical Group Management Association, Certified Medical Practice Executive since 2009.

Feb 13, 2024

This Rural Health Leadership Radio episode features a conversation with Dr. Matt Seeger,  Distinguished University Professor at Wayne State University, who has extensively studied organizational behavior, communication, and crisis management and response. Dr. Seeger shares his unique story as an undergraduate student deeply affected by a tragedy and how that led him to become a leading expert in crisis communication. We discuss the critical role of leadership in navigating crises, especially in rural communities. If you want to learn more about crisis and emergency communication check this website out: https://emergency.cdc.gov/cerc/

“It’s really the whole community that is going to facilitate an effective crisis response”

-Matthew W. Seeger, Ph.D.

 Matthew W. Seeger, Ph.D., a Distinguished University Professor of Communication and Dean Emeritus, is renowned for his expertise in crisis and emergency risk communication, particularly in the context of infectious disease outbreaks, health promotion, and resilience and renewal post-crisis. His significant contributions include working closely with the CDC, the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and being a part of the WHO Guidelines Development Group for Emergency Risk Communication. Dr. Seeger's research, supported by the CDC, NSF, NIH, and the State of Michigan, has led to over 200 publications, including the CDC's Handbook for Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication. 

He has also authored several influential books on crisis communication and risk management. A founding editor of The Journal of International Crisis and Risk Communication Research, Seeger's insights have been featured in major media outlets. He is a Fellow of the International Communication Association, and a member of the Wayne State University Academy of Scholars. He has received numerous awards for his service and scholarship in communication, including induction into the Public Relations Society of America, Detroit Chapter, and Hall of Fame.

Feb 6, 2024

This week, we are discussing how executive coaching can be used as a tool for rural health leaders to live up to their highest potential. On this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio Bill & Sydney bring us back to our mission to engage rural health leaders in conversations, learning, and research. 

“Coaching can make an incredible difference, make the investment!”

-Bill Auxier

We discuss leadership development, and how coaching can play an important role in that. Bill highlights the research on the impacts of coaching on the workforce, emphasizing the enhanced resilience and retention for rural health leaders. If you are interested in coaching send us an email bill@billauxier.com and sydney@billauxier.com.

Jan 30, 2024

Rural communities in the U.S. are diverse, full of innovation, and each face their own unique health challenges. In this episode, we discuss some less commonly discussed rural health topics with Amy Elizondo, the Chief Strategy Officer for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). In our conversation we discuss topics such as oral health, the scarcity of dentists in rural areas, behavioral health, substance abuse, and the health concerns of the rural indigenous population Amy highlights some of the amazing work being coordinated through the NRHA to address these health issues in rural communities, both through initiatives and health policy advocacy. Check out the NRHA’s Faces of Rural video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXpJ4fXRakU

“Rural communities are far more diverse than anyone could ever imagine, truly that is where innovation can happen.”

-Amy Elizondo

Amy Elizondo serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), a non-profit membership organization with the mission to provide leadership on rural health issues to improve access to care. Ms. Elizondo received a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from Texas A&M University in 2000 and a Master of Public Health in Social and Behavioral Health from the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, School of Rural Public Health in 2002. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Public Health at the University of Illinois Chicago.

 Before joining the NRHA, Ms. Elizondo served as the primary analyst for rural health care and post-acute care issues at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This position afforded her the opportunity to work as a liaison with Congress during the landmark passing of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, also known as the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. She also completed a fellowship at the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy where she took part in implementing a rural leadership program.

Jan 23, 2024

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we are sharing exciting information about the launch of a new program designed to enhance rural health managers' skills. In this episode, hosts Bill Auxier and Sydney Grant discuss the upcoming Rural Health Management Academy! 

“The Rural Health Management Academy helps managers become better leaders “

-Dr. Bill Auxier

Tune in to hear insights into the 10 modules covered in the program, addressing topics such as defining management, setting expectations, effective communication, building trust, goal setting, and more. Bill & Sydney’s discussion highlights the unique challenges faced by rural health managers and emphasizes the program's commitment to providing affordable and impactful training. 

If you are interested in learning more, we are hosting a webinar on Wednesday February 21st, be on the lookout for an e-mail to sign up soon!

Jan 16, 2024

Health policies play a crucial role in shaping the well-being of rural populations. On Rural Health Leadership Radio, we love to learn about significant policies affecting rural communities and ways to engage in advocacy. In this episode, we have a conversation with Carrie Cochran-McClain, the Chief Policy Officer for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), to gain insights into the impactful world of rural health policies. 

Carrie provides an overview of current rural health policies at the federal level, offering insights into key developments expected in 2024. In our conversation, Carrie emphasizes the influential role of individual voices in shaping policy decisions, and highlights NRHA's efforts to equip advocates with resources. Carrie also shares some fun things to look forward to at the upcoming NRHA Policy Institute on February 13th -15th, exploring the noteworthy events and discussions slated for this gathering. 

If you haven't already registered, you can do so here: https://www.ruralhealth.us/events/event-details?eventId=17 . To find out more about NRHA’s Advocacy efforts visit their website: https://www.ruralhealth.us/advocate. 

“Your voice matters, members of congress need to hear from you and NRHA is here to help you do that” 

-Carrie Cochran-McClain

Carrie joined NRHA staff in 2020 where she is the head lobbyist for the association and is responsible for driving the organization's rural health policy agenda. Carrie has more than 20 years of experience working in federal health policy development, including leadership roles at Health Management Associates, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. In her previous positions she has focused on improving health care outcomes, promoting health equity for vulnerable populations, and advising on health care policy issues. Carrie earned a BA in sociology from Willamette University and an MPA with a concentration in health policy and management from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and a Doctor of Public Health at the UNC Gillings School.

Jan 9, 2024

Looking for a captivating book to start the year? Look no further! In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we are joined by Dr. Tim Putnam, DHA, EMT, FACHE, and a former CEO of a critical access hospital. Tim’s the lead author of Healthcare Leadership and Rural Communities, along with contributing authors Nikki King and Bill Auxier. Tim shares insights into his career journey and how it inspired him to write a book on rural health leadership. The discussion delves into the significance of genuinely comprehending rural communities to enhance their health, and Tim explains how his book serves as a valuable resource in achieving this understanding. 

“In Rural Healthcare, you get a chance to really make a difference and see the impact.” 

-Tim Putnam 

  Tim Putnam DHA, EMT, FACHE has worked in the healthcare field since 1983 in laser/minimally invasive surgery research working with the Father of Laser Medicine, Dr. Leon Goldman. Most recently, he has spent the last two decades as CEO at Critical Access Hospitals in both Illinois and Indiana. He received his Doctorate in Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2010 and is currently a member of the faculty. He is a past president of both the National Rural Health Association and Indiana Rural Health Association. 

A lifelong learner, Dr. Putnam was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician in 2015 and worked for his community’s EMS service until 2019. Dr. Putnam frequently lectures nationally on topics related to the improvement of rural healthcare, transition from volume to value, rural Graduate Medical Education, EMS, and health equity. He was appointed by President Biden to the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force where he chaired the Healthcare Access and Quality subcommittee.  You can purchase a copy of Tim's book here

Jan 2, 2024

Happy New Year! We are ringing in 2024 by having a conversation on the importance of healthcare access to the well-being of rural communities.  This week we welcome Jaquesha Jefferson, a Master of Public Health Candidate at Florida State University and current intern for the Center for Rural Health Leadership, to discuss her capstone research on rural healthcare access. In our conversation, Jaquesha shares why she was inspired to choose this health issue for her capstone, and how she identified gaps in policy that are negatively affecting rural residents. 

“My Capstone looked at the root causes for lack of access to healthcare in rural areas rather than relying on short-term solutions that may exacerbate the problem over time. “

-Jaquesha Jefferson

Jaquesha Jefferson, CommHIT’s lead Data Analyst, obtained her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences on a Pre-Clinical Track from the University of Central Florida in August 2022. She is currently enrolled at Florida State University, pursuing her Master of Public Health degree. Jefferson’s degree focuses on policy, which has made her interested in understanding what changes can be implemented at the governmental level to eliminate health disparities faced by individuals residing in rural communities. Jaquesha is also an intern for the Center for Rural Health Leadership, where she enjoys obtaining and refining the skills that will allow her to lead in rural healthcare. Previously, Jefferson worked for the Florida Department of Health as the FLEX Grant Coordinator, where she oversaw and implemented projects related to quality and operational improvement of critical access hospitals across the State. Jefferson has a true passion for serving others, and expanding access to care for all individuals, ensuring that the quality of life is great for all

Dec 26, 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, Co-Hosts Bill Auxier, PhD, and Sydney Grant, MHA are reflecting on this exciting year with the ever-growing community at Rural Health Leadership Radio.  Join us on this episode where Bill and Sydney share some of their favorite moments from 2023, ranging from insightful podcast interviews to the growth of the NRHA Certification Programs.

Throughout our conversations this year, we've heard inspiring stories, innovative strategies, and compelling research from both seasoned and new rural health leaders. Bill and Sydney also discuss some exciting things coming in 2024, including individual and team coaching, the Rural Health Management and Leadership Academy, and, of course, many more engaging conversations on Rural Health Leadership Radio.

“We’ve met some amazing people this year and allowed them to share their stories”

-Sydney Grant

We extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has been part of our mission this year—to enhance the world by involving rural health leaders in conversations, learning, and research. Here's to continuing this journey in 2024, happy holidays!

Bill Auxier, Ph.D. is President & CEO of Auxier Group and Program Director of NRHA’s Rural Hospital Certification Programs. Dr. Auxier is 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. He is the creator and co-host of the Rural Health Leadership Radio podcast and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Global Campus.

Sydney Grant, M.H.A. is COO of Auxier Group and Director of Programming for the NRHA Rural Hospital Certification Programs. Sydney started her journey in rural healthcare as an intern for the Rural Health Leadership Radio podcast, where she found her passion for rural healthcare, leadership development, and creative problem-solving. She co-hosts the Rural Health Leadership Radio podcast with Dr. Bill Auxier. She is also the Communications Director and Board Member for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Western Florida Chapter.

Dec 19, 2023

During this holiday season, it’s wonderful to hear stories about strong leadership based on trust and love, and it’s also wonderful to hear stories of inspiration.  Stories of miracles.  That’s exactly what this special holiday episode is about.  Travis Udall is our guest, and he shares his story about his experiences as the CEO of a critical access hospital in rural Arizona. 

Travis delves into the significance of servant leadership and shares a moving story of how his hospital staff united to support a patient. Caring for this patient made a lasting imprint on the culture of the hospital and staff. Travis’s story serves as a reminder of the shared humanity we can all celebrate this holiday season.

“Make your leadership personable. Unify people, love people.”

-Travis Udall

Travis Udall BA, MA-ED Leadership, is the father of four and happily married for 35 years. He and his wife have 9 beautiful grandkids. He has served as a community leader as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and CEO of White Mountain Regional Medical Center in rural Arizona. His leadership experience has spanned 31 years. He and his wife love the outdoors and doing road trips to remote parts of the country.

Dec 12, 2023

Recruiting and retaining employees is a top priority for most rural hospitals, and important to sustain the future of rural healthcare. Human Resource leaders across the U.S. are employing creative strategies to boost employee engagement. In this week's RHLR episode, Jenna Janu, HR Director at Glacial Ridge Health System in Glenwood, Minnesota, sheds light on her initiatives to address these issues. 

On this week’s episode of RHLR, Jenna discusses her journey to rural healthcare. She also discusses the success of a mentorship program for new employees that Jenna created at Glacier Ridge. She highlights how this program has made a difference for employee engagement across the hospital.  

“Mentorship is not just a one-time experience, but a continued source of learning and guidance.” 

-Jenna Janu 

Jenna Janu is a 2019 graduate of the University of North Dakota. After graduating from UND, she went on to earn a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Mary, a private university near Bismarck, North Dakota, in 2020. She has been at Glacial Ridge Health System for three years in her current role and is a current participant in NRHA’s Rural Hospital HR Certification Program.

Dec 5, 2023

Data-backed decision-making is crucial in healthcare, but it can often be challenging, especially for rural hospitals with limited resources. However, from this week's conversation on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we learned that using, analyzing, and understanding community health data is more than achievable for rural hospitals. 

Join us this week as we engage in a conversation with Liz Craker, Health Systems Support Coordinator for the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health within the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, and John Wadsworth, Co-Founder of REDiHealth. We discuss how leveraging data to understand patient populations can help increase access to care and manage care gaps in rural areas. Liz and John discuss the importance of their collaboration with each other and the rural hospitals they serve. We also delve into the exciting aspects of rural health, including fast-paced innovation, creativity, and how they are assisting rural hospitals in using data to support these efforts.

“The cadence and amount of innovation in rural areas is staggering to when people understand and trust their data.”

-John Wadsworth

Liz Craker serves as the Health Systems Support Coordinator for the Office of Primary Care and Rural Health at the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. She earned her BA in Journalism from Franklin College and her MBA in Healthcare Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has over 30 years of leadership, project management, non-profit management, grant writing, public relations, patient advocacy, and health equity experience. She previously worked in a Federally Qualified Health Center advocating for insurance enrollment and health literacy before coming to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.

John Wadsworth is a co-founder at REDiHealth where he helps healthcare institutions to turn data into actionable assets. He is skilled at designing and implementing analytic strategies resulting in operational, clinical, and financial improvements. His passion for the healthcare industry stems from helping communities leverage data to improve community health with the desired result of strengthening the overall quality of life. John earned his Bachelor of Science in Human Genetics from The University of Utah and his Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics from the University of Utah School of Medicine.

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