This week we’re having a conversation with Ryan Neville, President and CEO at Memorial Medical Center in Neillsville, WI. Ryan was hired as President and CEO of Memorial Medical Center in 2014.
Becoming part of an ACO has had an impact on how we think about patient care for all our patients, not just our Medicare population.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Ryan holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Occupational Therapy from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, OH, and an MBA from Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives,
Ryan currently holds board seats on the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, Memorial Medical Center Foundation Board, Clark County Economic Development Council, Countryview HUD Apartment Center, member of the Leadership Council for healthTide, served on the WI state advisory committee for trauma level 3 and 4 designations, member of Health Partners with Clark County Public Health and is current President Elect for the Wisconsin American College of Healthcare Executives Board of Directors (ACHE).
Ryan has been awarded the 2006 Ohio Hospital Association Healthcare Worker of the Year and 2014 American College of Healthcare Executives Wisconsin Regent’s Award for Early Careerist.
He is passionate about improving and advancing healthcare delivery models to gain access especially in rural environments.
Memorial Medical Center is currently scheduled to open a new replacement hospital/clinic/nursing home in 2019.
This week we’re having a conversation with Dr. Jim Turner, a family medicine doctor at the Cork Medical Center in Marshall, Illinois. Dr. Turner and his wife are both third-generation residents of Marshall, a town of about 4,000 on the Illinois/Indiana border. Dr. Turner grew up 2 blocks from where his office is today. He is actively involved in his community and healthcare in a variety of roles.
“This is not just about medicine, this is about the economy and this is about young people getting good jobs and staying in their community.”
Dr. Turner started his career in medicine making ambulance runs. From there he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and his medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.
This week we’re having a conversation with John Gale, M.S., Senior Research Associate with the Maine Rural Health Research Center at the University of Southern Maine. John has conducted extensive research on rural substance use and behavioral health services, the role of hospitals in addressing population and community health issues, and the development of substance use treatment, prevention, and recovery programs.
“Our communities are the solution to many of the problems we’re struggling with.”
John serves on the Boards of Trustees for the National Rural Health Association and New England Rural Health Roundtable. He is a Senior Fellow of the Health Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association and recently developed a rural substance use prevention and treatment toolkit for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime that is distributed internationally.
His work focuses on leveraging local health and community resources to improve the functioning of the rural healthcare infrastructure.
Prior to joining the Maine Rural Health Research Center, John managed large primary care and multi-disciplinary behavioral health group practices.
This week we’re having a conversation with Maggie Elehwany, JD, Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy with the National Rural Health Association. Maggie joined the NRHA staff in 2007 as the head lobbyist for the association and is responsible for the Government Affairs and Policy department.
As Senator Chuck Schumer said at a recent meeting, “If we’ve learned nothing from the last election [meaning the election of Donald Trump] it’s that we can’t listen enough to rural America.”
Maggie has over 20 years of federal legislative experience. She previously served as health counsel to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and to U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, where she worked on comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid legislation. Maggie also served as counsel to former U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bob Packwood. From 1999 to 2005, she served as assistant director of congressional affairs for the American Medical Association, where she advocated on patient and physician issues.
Maggie grew up in a small town in Oregon, Cottage Grove, which has a small hospital. Growing up in Oregon, where many parts of the state are still rural, even frontier, provided Maggie with an appreciation of the challenges rural health leaders face. When she started working in healthcare for different senators, she had the opportunity to work for two different senators from the state of Alaska. That experience provided an even greater appreciation for the issues rural health providers face. When you layer the complications of being in rural and/or frontier America, and on top of that, consider the vastness of a state like Alaska, simply getting to a healthcare center is a challenge. In Alaska, quite often, the only way one can access healthcare is by air or boat. This helps one realize how just accessing care is so tremendously important and really is the lifeline to communities.
Maggie earned a J.D. from the University of Oregon and a B.A. from Oregon State University.
Marty Fattig is the CEO of Nemaha County Hospital in Auburn, Nebraska. Marty has been involved in healthcare for over 35 years. He began his career as a bench Medical Technologist and expanded his technical skills to include radiology and electrocardiology. Later on, he entered the field of healthcare administration and has served in various capacities including Laboratory Manager, Director of Ancillary Services and hospital CEO. He has also served as a laboratory consultant and computer systems manager for a regional reference laboratory.
“We want to be held to a higher standard.”
Marty is Co-chairman of the Nebraska eHealth Council, Vice President of the Region 2 Trauma Advisory Board, Chair-Elect of the Nebraska Hospital Association, serves on the executive board of the Mid-America Hospital Alliance and is the Chairman of the Rural Health Advisory Commission. He is a member of the Critical Access Hospital Advisory Council, and the Critical Access Hospital Advisory Board on Quality. He also serves as a member of the HIT Policy Committee Meaningful Use Workgroup, being appointed by the Office of the National Coordinator. He was recently accepted as a Health IT Fellow with the ONC and a Fellow with the Rural Futures Institute.
Mary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration.
This week we’re having a conversation with Bill Sexton, the Chief Executive Officer at Crossing Rivers Health in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Bill is a board-certified Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Southern Illinois University. In 2006 he served as president of the National Rural Health Association and continues to serve as the chair of its subsidiary, Services Corporation. Bill is also a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.
“We proposed a plan for the Rural Hospital Flexibility Act and took it to Capitol Hill.”
Growing up, Bill never spent more than 4 years in any one location. The one constant for Bill was the small rural community in Central Illinois where his grandparents lived. Most of Bill’s relatives lived in small communities and he liked the fact that everyone knew each other and talked about who lived in that house rather than the address. When his father retired, his family moved to a rural community and lived across the road from a farm. His first year of college, Bill lived in an agricultural fraternity because it was student housing. Living there he made some really good friends and developed a strong respect and admiration for the farmers which he still holds today.
The son of an Air Force officer, Bill entered the Air Force after college and started his military life as a radio relay repairman, working in microwave communications. Since he had a Bachelor’s Degree, he enrolled in a weekend Master’s program along with a colleague who was a Medical Service Corp officer. He encouraged Bill to apply to do the same and he did.
Upon retiring from the military, Bill started all over again as the CEO of a small rural hospital in Wisconsin. At the time, the hospital was struggling for survival and its future was uncertain. After converting the hospital to a critical access hospital and building a rural health clinic, Bill left for the north coast of Oregon with another just converted critical access hospital.
With his family is in the Midwest, when a chance came to move back, Bill took it and has been in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin ever since. There Bill oversaw the construction of a replacement facility and one of the highlights of his life was having his 100-year-old mother there for the dedication ceremony.
This week we’re having a conversation with Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild, Associate Executive Director and Chief Futurist at the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska.
A researcher, entrepreneur and high-touch futurist, Dr. Connie, helps leaders and organizations reach their desired futures through strengths-based innovation and strategic foresight. She proudly serves as the Associate Executive Director and Chief Futurist for the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska and is also the founder of Wild Innovation, a consulting and coaching firm serving organizations from both the private and public sectors. Clients range from rural hospitals in Nebraska to remote villages in Nigeria and include a small business with a $22 million annual footprint, as well as global organizations like Lockheed Martin.
“Leadership is when a person leads their own life while bringing out the best in others and making a positive contribution to the future.”
Connie grew up in West Point, NE, with a population of about 3,000 people. While growing up, 8 of those 3,000 were immediate family members! Connie is a first-generation college student made possible through great mentoring. She has been married to an amazing man for 18 years, and they have two awesome kids and two crazy miniature wiener dogs! They enjoy living in a relaxing, rural community.
This week we’re having a conversation with Nancy Zimmerman, Administrator of Comanche County Hospital, in Coldwater, Kansas. Comanche County Hospital was recognized by the National Rural Health Association as a 2017 Top 20 Critical Access Hospital Best Practice in Patient Satisfaction.
“My only qualification was that was that I wanted to make sure this hospital would be here forever, and that was 27 years ago.”
Nancy Zimmerman grew up on a farm and attended a small school with 7 students in her 8th grade class. She went to a consolidated high school with 48 in her graduating class, the largest ever. Nancy attended Wesley School of Nursing in Wichita, Kansas, and upon graduation, came back home. She still lives in the same county.
Nancy is married with 4 children and 5 grandchildren.
This week we’re having a conversation with Sarah Hughes, Housing Navigator for United Healthcare. Sarah joined United Healthcare Community Plan of Nebraska as the Housing Navigator in 2016. Prior to coming to UHC Sarah worked at a social services agency in the Omaha Metro for 12 years. During those twelve years, Sarah worked with victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault, housing of those experiencing homelessness, and most recent was as the lead of the Omaha Metro Street Outreach Team.
“In December last year, he came up for an opening 3 days before Christmas, so I was able to house him right before Christmas”
Sarah uses the model of trauma informed care and strength based case management when working with UHC members.
Sarah has led many taskforces and initiatives before coming to UHC in relation to homeless and housing. In her current role, Sarah assists the most vulnerable members in the communities she serves and reconnects them to housing and other social supports.
In her free time Sarah enjoys traveling with her family and playing with her puppy, Gus. Sarah also volunteers her time on Street Outreach in the Omaha Metro and at an area Domestic Abuse shelter.
This week we’re having a conversation with Roger Knak, CEO of Fairview Regional Medical Center in Fairview, OK. Roger has been the CEO at Fairview since 2006. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Russell Regional Hospital where he oversaw the transition to becoming a Critical Access Hospital with a hospital based nursing home. When Roger first went to Russell Regional hospital, he started as the Director of Emergency Services. In 1996 he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, and in 2000 he was promoted to CEO.
“You’re not going to change the health of the community at an academic center. You’re going to do it at the frontline of the small community.”
Roger began his career in healthcare in the pre-hospital setting as a professional firefighter paramedic. At the encouragement of nursing staff, he returned to college and obtained his Associate Degree in Nursing from the University of the State of New York in 1990. Roger then served as a flight nurse and transitioned into the hospital setting becoming the Director of Emergency Services in a rural Kansas hospital.
Returning to school Roger received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Friends University in Wichita Kansas. Continuing his education, Roger returned to Friends University and obtained his Master’s in Business Administration.
Roger remains active in multiple community organizations and lives in Fairview Oklahoma with his wife. He has two married children who with their families have also chosen to make Fairview Oklahoma their home.
This week we’re having a conversation with Nicole Weathers, MSN, RN, the Program Manager for the University of Iowa College of Nursing - Online Nurse Residency Program. With nearly a decade of experience in rural healthcare, Nicole understands the unique challenges rural facilities face when it comes to recruitment and retention of the nursing workforce.
“The role of the nurse is changing and healthcare is changing and in order to meet the demands of healthcare we’re going to have to change too so we need to build these bedside leaders.”
Under Nicole’s leadership, the Iowa Online Nurse Residency Program has grown and developed reaching nurses in several states throughout the United States.
This week we’re having a conversation with Allan Jenkins, Ph.D., Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Professor Jenkins was born and raised in Blackwell Oklahoma, a small town 60 miles south of Wichita Kansas. He received a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma in 1976, then spent the next five years working in local government at the city and county level. Dr. Jenkins received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 1987. Since 1987, he has been on the economics faculty at the University of Nebraska Kearney.
“Leadership is a bundle of characteristics that include vision, charisma, honesty, communication skills, persistence and resilience.”
Professor Jenkins areas of interest include rural healthcare, local economic development, and Platte River issues. Dr. Jenkins and a colleague have completed Tax Increment Financing reports for more than a $1.4 billion in investments, and wrote major economic impact reports regarding the Medicaid expansion issue for South Dakota and Nebraska. In 2016, he received the President's Award from the Nebraska Rural Health Association for contributions to the field.
This week we’re having a conversation with Steve Tenhouse, CEO of Kirby Medical Center, a 16-bed independent not-for-profit critical access hospital located in Central Illinois. Prior to assuming the CEO role in 2004, Steve served as the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Kirby Medical Center was recognized by the National Rural Health Association as a 2017 Top 20 Critical Access Hospital Best Practice in Patient Satisfaction recipient.
“We have a saying that our culture doesn’t
hang on the walls, it walks the halls.”
Steve has worked in healthcare all his professional career and earned his Bachelors in Business in Accounting from Western Illinois University and his Masters in Health Administration from Ohio University. Steve is a certified public accountant and is a Fellow with both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
This week we celebrate National Rural Health Day by having a conversation with the person who invented it! Karen Madden is the Director of the Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health (ORH) within the New York State Department of Health.
“National Rural Health Day began as a way to recognize and celebrate individuals and teams who give their best selves in the name of rural health. We wanted to focus on all of the very good things about rural communities on National Rural Health Day and all of that turned into the Power of Rural Movement because it’s not really about just one day.”
Karen currently serves on the Board of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health. She also has also served on the National Advisory Committee for Rural Health and Human Services and the National Rural Health Association Board of Trustees. Karen is a proud alumnus of the State University of New York and holds a Master of Arts in Public Policy from the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the Oswego State.
This week we honor our veterans who have served our country, for which we are very thankful. We are fortunate to have two veterans as our guests today, Dale Gibbs and Dr. Tom Klobucar.
Dale Gibbs is an Army veteran who was wounded in Vietnam. His initial contact with the VA System after discharge was less than ideal, but he is now very proud of the care the VA provides. He is the Chairman of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee. He is also a current member of the National Rural Health Association Rural Health Congress and Rural Veterans Task Force.
Dale retired from a healthcare system in Nebraska and Iowa as the Director of Rural Health Services, where he worked to strengthen both owned and independent rural hospitals and providers. His background also includes long-time work in telemedicine services to rural populations, in order to expand access to care. Dale has served on various state and local boards, all related to improving access to quality healthcare.
A retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant, Dr. Thomas F. Klobucar spent his military career first as a Cryptologic Russian Linguist and then as an Arms Control Inspector/Interpreter working on execution of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987 and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) of 1990.
Tom was named Deputy Director of ORH in 2012 and Acting Director in 2016. His current work is focused on increasing access to health care for rural Veterans, providing opportunities for the delivery of virtual health care services into rural Veterans' homes, the expansion of health care provider virtual consultation services in underserved rural areas, and creating strong partnerships with local, state and national organizations to better serve Veterans, their families and the communities where they live. Dr. Klobucar oversees the day-to-day operations of ORH and the management of a broad portfolio, including rural health-focused studies and program assessments. He has overseen the transformation of the ORH electronic reporting system and directed the adoption of innovative and improved processes.
Under his leadership, ORH staff maintains relationships with local, state and federal entities with the goal of creating synergistic programs to enhance access to care and services for rural Veterans and their families. Tom came to VHA in 2010 as a Telehealth Research Associate in the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center, Iowa City, Iowa. Before that, he worked in commercial research and academe, holding faculty appointments at The University of Iowa College of Public Health and The Iowa State University Department of Political Science.
This week’s guest is Davis Patterson, PhD. Davis is a sociologist and a research assistant professor in the University of Washington Department of Family Medicine in Seattle, Washington. He is Director of the Collaborative for Rural Primary Care Research, Education, and Practice (Rural PREP), Deputy Director of the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, and an investigator in the UW Center for Health Workforce Studies. Dr. Patterson’s research and evaluation activities seek to inform policy and improve rural and underserved populations’ access to healthcare, with a particular focus on the health workforce.
“Our work really gives leaders at all levels, local, state, federal, the information they need to advocate for change.”
His current research includes studies examining the commitment of health professions schools to produce rural practitioners, graduate medical education for rural practice, rural emergency medical services, workforce solutions to ensure patient access to oral health care, and factors affecting provision of home health services to rural patients.
He is a member of the advisory committee of AcademyHealth’s Health Workforce Interest Group and the Joint Committee on Rural Emergency Care (of the National Association of State EMS Officials and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health). He is an avid traveler and fluent in Spanish.
This week’s guest is Leslie Hall, the Executive Director of the Michigan Rural EMS Network (MiREMS). Leslie has been the Executive Director since the organization was created in 2011. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of the Huron-Sanilac EMS Network. Leslie actively initiated the organizational structure and expansion of MiREMS from a two-county initiative to a statewide network.
“Leadership is really having a vision that you can clearly communicate and then having the passion to translate that vision into reality.”
Leslie led the organization as Project Director during the implementation of six separate multi-year federal grant programs. At the same time she created a foundation of connections and relationships throughout Michigan and across the country with EMS leaders, medical control authorities, hospital CEOs, legislators, healthcare professionals, and organizations which serve the unique healthcare needs of rural populations.
As Executive Director, Leslie has initiated and supported collaborative networking efforts of EMS services, EMS professionals, and stakeholders.
She graduated from Central Michigan University with Master of Applied Arts degree in Public Health Education.
This week’s guest is Roger Wells, Physician Assistant at Howard County Medical Center. Roger grew up in Central Nebraska on a farm raising hogs and cattle, and is proud to have been a farm kid. Growing up he attended school with a total of 17 people in his class. He learned about what devotion is to his farm and family and got up in the morning with his dad to do the necessary farm chores.
“Leadership occurs when someone who has passion about an issue develops influence and impacts others to establish the coordination of efforts to accomplish a common goal.”
Roger went on to college earning degrees to become an athletic trainer, continuing his education to earn a master’s degree. After helping care for an automobile accident victim, he realized his passion for healthcare and went back to school to become a physician assistant.
Roger is active in with the National Advisory Commission on Rural Health and Human Services/Federal Office of Rural Public Policy, the National Rural Health Association, the Nebraska Governor’s Rural Health Advisory Commission, the President’s Advisory Council at the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska Rural Health Association.
Awards he has received include:
This week’s guest is Amanda Basso, President of CSuite Consulting. Amanda is an experienced, adaptable healthcare CEO, accustomed to the integration of new healthcare delivery systems and restructuring of work in an increasingly complex regulatory environment. Amanda enjoys using her skills at communicating, organizing and solving problems to raise the stature and rankings of healthcare facilities. She is an accomplished CEO who proudly maintains a highly productive, efficient and quality driven environment.
“Leadership is the act of leading others by providing vision and direction so that they’re really inspired to follow.”
Amanda is a Registered Nurse with an MSN and MBA, who has served in healthcare leadership roles for over 18 years. Before becoming a hospital CEO, Amanda worked her way up hospital leadership ranks as Nursing Department Director and then a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO). Amanda loves Healthcare Leadership and has a passion for operations.
Amanda is President of CSuite Consulting, a leadership consulting company where the mission is to bring the passion for leadership alive into organizations by igniting a spark or fanning the flame so that exceptional leadership is the true cornerstone in those served.
Amanda is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), Certified John Maxwell Speaker, Trainer, and Coach, and Certified DiSC Administrator.
This week’s guest is Dr. Tim Putnam, CEO of Margaret Mary Health. Tim began his career in healthcare in 1983 working in clinical laser and minimally invasive surgery research. For the last fifteen years he has worked exclusively in rural healthcare leadership and is currently CEO of Margaret Mary Health, a Critical Access Hospital in Batesville, Indiana.
Tim currently chairs the National Rural Health Association’s Policy Congress:
“The Rural Health Congress… (is about) making sure we get everybody’s voice heard and presented in a way that people understand… the more good people we have on Policy Congress, the more robust the policy positions are and the better we can tell our story.”
Tim also chairs the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium and the Indiana Board of Graduate Medical Education. Additionally, he serves on several other regional and national healthcare boards.
In 2015, he was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and serves in that capacity with Batesville Fire and EMS.
Tim has degrees from Vincennes University, Oakland City University, University of Southern Indiana and received his Doctorate in Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina.
This week’s guest is Pamela Tripp, Chief Executive Officer of CommWell Health, who often uses Chief Encouragement Officer as her title. Ms. Tripp is passionate about rural healthcare in NC and America. She and her team of colleagues at CWH have raised the profile of Health Centers as credible and invaluable providers of primary, high quality multidisciplinary, integrated care in NC and across the nation.
CommWell Health is a thriving healthcare organization receiving national recognition for service excellence and patient integrated care, offering medical, dental, behavioral health services, HIV/AIDS among 16 office locations spanning 6 counties in southeastern North Carolina.
“…the most pivotal thing in a turnaround is being able to change your culture.”
Pamela has been active in the NC legislative branches, and at the national congressional level advocating for rural community health centers vital mission, as long-standing member of the NC Community Health Center and the National Associations of Community Health Centers.
CommWell Health was the first community Health Center in the nation (2016) to receive the Governor McCrory’s Milestone One Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In 2017, CommWell Health was awarded the Most Outstanding Rural Health Organization, the by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), for excellence in areas of Culture, Quality, Finance and Governance as a safety net for the multiple southeast counties served by Medical, Dental, Behavioral Health, and HIV/AIDS services. Ms. Tripp recently received the BCBS Robert Gretzen Jr. Healthcare Leadership award, which came with an unrestricted donation of $25,000 to her organization.
Pamela is the author of “The Culture Cure: Transforming the Modern Healthcare System”, and to accompany her book a Master Mind Guide that will be released late summer 2017. Over 25 years Pamela Tripp also developed a Transformational Blueprint for healthcare organizations titled Corporate Transcendence. Ms. Tripp has been a returning speaker/panelist for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) supporting
healthcare leadership in NC and beyond. She is on social media, where she blogs on healthcare transformation and leadership. firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s guest is Dr. Mark Lindsay, an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He has practiced at Mayo Clinic Health System Eau Claire since 1997 and has served as Quality Officer for Mayo Clinic Health System from 2006-2010 supporting Quality, Patient Safety and Service Excellence for 19 hospitals and 70 clinics in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
“We support critical access hospitals and urban hospitals in creating these models that benefit not only the acute care hospital but the critical access hospital and most importantly, the patients.”
Dr. Lindsay received his Master’s in Medical Management in 2004 from the USC School of Business. His Master’s project was development of 11 Transitional Care programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. He presently serves as Medical Director for Allevant supporting rural healthcare post-acute pathways.
This week’s guest is Christian Curtis with the Fort Peck Tribes Health Promotion Disease Prevention program (HPDP). Christian is a registered nurse who started working with the Tribes in August 2015. Her plan to continue to work for this program to assist in providing medical services to children on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
“Anytime you work with a cultural group or a native population, it’s important to know their history and what they’ve gone through as a people.”
Christian grew up on the Fort Peck Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Tribe. She graduated from one of the High Schools on the reservation in 2011 and continued her education at the Fort Peck Community College. While a student there, she was given several opportunities to pursue a nursing career. In August 2012, she continued her undergraduate studies at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, MN, where she graduated in May 2015, with dual degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Christian Studies.
Christian chose to work for the HPDP program because of the unique opportunities to expand in providing services on the reservation. She loves the work and hopes to continue on this path in providing and enhancing healthcare for her community.
This week’s guest is Don Kelso, the Executive Director of the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA). Don has been with IRHA since 2008. Previously, he served as Vice President of Operations at Daviess Community Hospital in Washington, Indiana from 2008-1998, and from 1994-1998, he served as Vice President of Human Resources. Don was also Director of Human Resources at Jasper Memorial Hospital in Jasper, IN, from 1991 to 1993.
“If I could change one thing in rural health, we would have many more psychiatrist and social workers.”
With a staff of 18, Don leads the largest state rural health organization in the United States. With over 3000 members, IRHA has demonstrated success and leadership in many rural health initiatives, such as: broadband connectivity through fiber construction, rural hospital networking, Telehealth adoption for mental health and stroke care services, Rural Health Clinic disaster preparedness/education and support, tobacco cessation education, E-Learning/education, and annually hosts one of the largest state rural association annual conference’s in the country. Don is also responsible for the management of $1,500,000 in federal grants from HRSA and ORHP (Office of Rural Health Policy).
Lara Brooks serves as a Rural Health Analyst with the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health, and Dr. Brian Whitacre is a Professor and Extension Economist in Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. Lara and Brian have been working together since 2008 on increasing community and hospital engagement in rural areas. They focus on things like funding and grants, quality of life and technological advancements.
“I like to think of leadership as the x-factor and it’s something that’s not necessarily tangible, it’s not equipment that you can purchase or hardware or software. But it’s the x-factor that can really make the best of an organization, business or even government.”
Lara primarily works with Oklahoma Critical Access Hospitals within the Flex program, the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant program. Brian generally works in the area of rural economic development, and also teaches an undergraduate class on rural development. Together they both work to help improve the quality of quality of life for people in rural America.