Janelle Ali-Dinar, PhD. is the Vice President of Rural Health for MyGenetx. She's also the Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for SelfCare for HealthCare, and the COO of MedFirst Partners. Janelle is a national award-winning transformational leader, executive, corporate strategist and communicator. Her demonstrated senior leadership as a CEO, COO, Senior Vice President, and Regional Executive spans the globe working with Fortune 500 companies and hospital systems from Los Angeles to the Middle East, Europe, the Pacific Rim, all the way to rural America.
“A job title just gives us a reference point, if you will, of how we're going to do our day-to-day work and some framework in context in terms of where my job begins.”
As a well-respected policy advocate at the state and federal levels, Janelle frequents Capitol Hill and serves on several state and national boards advancing rural, public, and minority health and healthcare. Janelle has had great success teaching at and facilitating within, rural and urban hospitals and clinics providing the principles and implementation formulas of transformational leadership. Janelle holds a doctorate in marketing, communications, and recently graduated from a healthcare leadership institute at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health.
David Swenson, Ph.D., is the Director of the MBA in Rural Healthcare at the College of St. Scholastica, the only US college to focus exclusively on rural health leadership.
Dr. Swenson has been in the healthcare field for nearly 50 years as a psychologist, healthcare educator and mental health administrator in Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Dr. Swenson defines leadership as the process of getting things done through people. He thinks this definition is important to the understanding leadership because it emphasizes the aspects of working with and inspiring others to create change.
“In physiology, for example, we certainly understand if we affect one physiological system, it often will have a ripple effect through other parts of the system in human behavior. Sometimes cognition and emotion. Things are really connected and we understand that in physiology. What we need to do is also understand that in our organizations and our communities in rural health, so that when we tweak something in one area, it can have a beneficial or it can sometimes have adverse effects elsewhere.”
According to Dr. Swenson, systems thinking is one of the most valuable leadership strengths a rural health leader needs to develop. Systems thinking allows for the consideration of the “ripple effects” of the decisions we make, the consideration of the “downstream” effects of our decision. A solution needs to be considered in one context at a time; what impact will it have on the problem trying to be solved, what impact will it have on some other part of the organization, what impact will it have on the community, and what impact will it have in some other area or place.
Marc Augsburger is the President and CEO of Caro Community Hospital in Caro, MI, part of the “thumb” area of Michigan. Marc was born and raised in rural NW Ohio. He graduated from nursing school in 1988 with Associate’s Degree in nursing and went on to earn his BSN and MBA with an emphasis in healthcare. Marc primarily worked in critical care and emergency nursing prior to moving into hospital administration.
“…making rounds as often as possible to get to know your staff better really puts you in a better position to gain the support of your staff.”
Marc believes that one of the best ways a leader can engage employees is by simply getting to know them.
“…for every employee's child ten and under for their birthday. I actually send them a birthday card and stick a $2 bill in it.”
Previously, Marc was the CEO at Horn Memorial Hospital in Ida Grove, IA. He assumed the CEO role at Caro Community Hospital in April 2013.
Marc has been married to Melissa since 1999 and they have two daughters, Greta and Molly.
Ryan Kelly is a Mississippi native and Executive Director of the Mississippi Rural Health Association. He previously served as Chief Advancement Office for William Carey University and Director of External Relations for The University of Southern Mississippi College of Health.
In today’s conversation, Ryan provides an update on the status of rural hospitals in Mississippi, and what he has to say may surprise you.
Ryan earned a bachelor’s of science with honors from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2005 and a master’s of science with honors from Mississippi College in 2007. He is a member of the Area Development Partnership’s Leadership Pinebelt, the Mississippi Economic Council’s Blueprint Mississippi committee, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Mississippi Society of Association Executives.
In addition to professional activities, Ryan also serves as a deacon at Temple Baptist Church, an advisory board member for The Children’s Center for Communication and Development and the United Way of Southeast Mississippi, The Gideon’s International, Pi Kappa Phi Alumni Association, and most recently as chair of the Southern Miss College of Health Dean’s Council. He has also served as the chair of the Mississippi Health Summit over the past four years.
Liz Monk, the Director of Care and Coordination at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital in Grayling, Michigan. Munson Healthcare Grayling is part of a small health system consisting of a 71 bed community hospital, a long-term care facility, and three rural health clinics that serve a five county area in Northern-Lower Michigan.
Liz received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Michigan State University and went on to gain invaluable nursing experience in the emergency department, in case management and physician performance and improvement. Prior to her nursing career, Liz served as an aero-medical technician at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and later as an aero-space physiology officer at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. As a military nurse, in addition to traditional bedside nursing, Liz was able to run projects, practices and operations, giving her a unique nursing experience.
Liz’s expertise includes readmissions, performance improvement and innovation. Today, she works to empower employees at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital to boost innovation for the benefit of the community.
Cody Mullen is a doctoral candidate, serving as the Network Development Coordinator for the Indiana Rural Health Association. Cody has helped facilitate the development of a remote patient monitoring/health coaching program to help lower the cost and improve quality of care for individuals with a chronic condition. In addition, he supports the research and evaluation activities of IRHA. Cody shares some of the progressive measures the Indiana Rural Health Association has assisted its members implement, particularly with treating chronic illness.
Cody earned his BS from Purdue University in Interdisciplinary Science with a focus on healthcare engineering and statistics and is currently a doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Management at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. His research interests include quality of care and access to care for vulnerable populations, especially citizens of rural America and individuals with an intellectual/developmental disability. Cody is also an adjunct faculty member at Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette and an associate instructor for the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. Cody is a past NRHA Fellow.
Dr. Steve Barnett has been the President & CEO at McKenzie Health System in Sandusky, MI, since 2008. During this time Steve has shifted the culture of the organization such that they now embrace change. McKenzie Health System is recognized in Michigan as a Critical Access Hospital that is progressive in re-designing how healthcare can be delivered. Steve is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Registered Nurse, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and has his Doctorate in Healthcare Administration.
Steve was a pioneer in establishing Accountable Care Organizations in rural health. Together, with a handful of other rural health leaders, The National Rural Accountable Care Organization was created.
Kris Allen is the Vice President of Patient Services at Eaton Rapids Medical Center in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, just south of Lansing, Michigan. Kris has been in healthcare for over 15 years as a registered nurse. She quickly moved through the ranks and built the respect and trust from all the individuals of the healthcare team and was the driver of nursing excellence as the Chief Nursing Officer at a large hospital system in Michigan.
In 2013 Kris made the move to Rural Health with a drive to deliver the unexpected in health care through a multidisciplinary team focused and dedicated on striving for the best. To that end, Eaton Rapids Medical Center ranks number 1 in the state of Michigan for patient satisfaction.
Kris has 2 Master's degrees. A Master's degree in nursing and a Master's degree in health administration that she received from the University of Phoenix.
Brock Slabach is leading the national discussion on quality improvement and alternative payment models in rural health. Earlier this year Brock was awarded the Calico Leadership award by the National Rural Health Resource Center.
Brock currently serves as the Senior Vice-President of Member Services at the National Rural Health Association, a membership organization with over 21,000 members nationwide. 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.
RD Williams is the CEO at Hendry Regional Medical Center, a critical access hospital located in Clewiston, FL. Prior to that he was the CEO at Ashe Memorial Hospital in Jefferson, NC. He received his undergraduate degree from the Medical College of Virginia with a B.S. in Healthcare Management in 1981, and earned his MBA from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 1986. Mr. Williams has worked in a variety of hospitals in Texas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and now Florida.
He enjoys playing golf, reading, home restoration, and working on his 1973 MGB automobile. He is married to LuAnn with 3 adult sons and 2 granddaughters, ages 9 and 2.
Mr. Williams helped provide the inspiration for Rural Health Leadership Radio. During a conversation last year, a question was asked about the challenges of being the CEO of a rural hospital. Mr. Williams replied that it is difficult to find out what other hospitals are attempting to do, what’s working, and what’s not working. The primary means to discover this information is by spending time and money attending meetings, but time and money can often be scarce resources. Mr. Williams expressed his desire for a easy cost effective means of sharing this information. Following that conversation, Dr. Auxier was listening to a podcasts when a light bulb went off. And that is how Rural Health Leadership Radio was born. Thank you Mr. RD Williams!
Recognized as among the top 100 most influential people in healthcare by Modern Healthcare Magazine, Alan Morgan serves as Chief Executive Officer for the National Rural Health Association. He has more than 26 years’ experience in health policy development at the state and federal level, and is one of the nation’s leading experts on rural health policy.
As the CEO of the NRHA, Alan has observed the changes taking place in rural health from a front row seat. The National Rural Health Association is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 20,000 members whose mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. NRHA membership consists of a diverse collection of individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health.
The conversation with Mayor Adam O’Neal of Belhaven, NC, continues. Mayor O’Neal is a tenacious fighter for rural hospitals as demonstrated in his story about the plight of his community’s efforts to reopen their closed hospital. “… when you’re talking healthcare, especially in the aspect of a hospital, you’re talking about people getting lifesaving services that they need,” said Mayor O’Neal. “Now we have people having heart attacks, strokes, severe accidents, snake bites, not being able to get service anymore.”
Mayor Adam O’Neal, Mayor of Belhaven, NC, received national attention for walking 273 miles to Washington, DC, in protest of the closing of Belhaven’s only hospital. “This is the difference between our children having life-saving services or not,” said Mayor O’Neal. Mayor O’Neal’s story is both tragic and inspirational.
In this first episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, Dr. Bill Auxier explains why he created this weekly podcast. Inspired by a conversation with the CEO of a critical access hospital in Florida, it became clear that a simple, no cost channel of communication for rural health leaders to share what is working, what is not working, stories of success and failures, and other aspects of the challenges rural health leaders face on a daily basis was sorely lacking. Rural Health Leadership Radio fills that communication void to assist rural health leaders achieve greatness and to improve healthcare in Rural America.