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 or e-mail
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Rural Health Leadership Radio™






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Apr 20, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about the rural collaborative advantage; how rural community leaders can recognize the resources within their community and then then collaborate with the various organizations within their community to create a culture of health. We’re having that conversation with Chris Thompson, President and CEO of the West Missouri Community Action Agency.

“Whether you’re in an urban area or a rural area, it is what it is. Poverty is poverty.”

~Chris Thompson

Chris is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of West Central Missouri Community Action Agency located and West Central Community Development Corporation (d/b/a New Growth) located in Appleton city, Missouri. Prior to joining West Central in 2014, Chris coordinated community economic development efforts in Clarkston, Georgia -- a community that has been described, variously, as the “most diverse square mile” in the United States and as “the Ellis Island of the 21st Century,” and on American Indian reservations (in South Dakota); and has served as an economic development advisor to, and provided administrative oversight of, large networks of resources for community transformation in twenty of the most economically challenged counties in the United States.

During his time in community economic development, Chris has led efforts to develop a unique community engagement model known as a community trust, assisted in the development of a small business accelerator model featured in a documentary, facilitated community engagements throughout the United States, consulted non-profit organizations on community development and facilitation, and has spoken on community development issues at various conferences, and on various media.

Chris also practiced commercial real estate law for over 16 years, which practice included stints at large law firms, at large international corporations, and at smaller boutique firms providing counsel to local, regional and national real estate developers and commercial/retail tenants.

Chris holds degrees in business (B.S. Business Administration), law (J.D.), and alternative dispute resolution (L.L.M.), all from the University of Missouri – Columbia.

Apr 13, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about innovations that are making a big impact on rural health and rural communities. Global STL is an organization based in St. Louis, Missouri, that is bringing innovators from around the world together to make a difference in peoples’ lives with a particular focus on rural America.

“We now have a huge toolbox of innovation. And we started to realize that many of these innovations were very valid and relevant for our rural communities.”

~ Vijay Chauhan

Vijay Chauhan is an experienced Corporate Business Development Executive and a startup CEO of multiple companies in the health & nutrition space. He leads BioSTL’s initiatives including the Center for Rural Health Innovation (CRHI) and GlobalSTL. CRHI’s mission is to help improve the health & economic vitality of rural communities through innovation & coalition building. Key priorities of the CRHI include improving healthcare access & affordability; healthcare workforce capacity; high speed, affordable broadband, and addressing the social determinants of health unique to rural communities.

The CRHI hosts webinars and an annual Rural Health Symposium, sources & deploys cutting-edge innovation (including telehealth) and captures the impact of its outcome; informs rural health policy; convenes & connects rural communities to improve health & economic vitality. GlobalSTL’s mission is to recruit companies with cutting-edge global innovation to St. Louis and rural Midwest rural communities to create economic vitality. GlobalSTL is leveraging St. Louis’ massive buying power in healthcare by convening 18 healthcare organizations, whose combined revenues are over $360 billion to source and deploy cutting-edge healthcare innovation. GlobalSTL also hosts an annual Health Innovation Summit that has become Midwest’s premier event for healthcare innovation.

Apr 6, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about some of the unique things Kevin DeRonde and his dynamic team are doing at Mahaska Health, a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital located in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

“One of the first things we did at Mahaska Health is we reversed the organizational chart.”

~Kevin DeRonde

Kevin DeRonde grew up on a farm in Iowa just north of Pella, where he still helps his dad on the farm. Kevin’s dad is a four-time cancer survivor, who is doing well now, and his cancer in remission. Kevin’s concern for his wellbeing provided the motivation to return to Iowa and to serve in healthcare.

Kevin has a strong resumé of healthcare business management, professional leadership, and has been recognized for building high-performing, cohesive teams focused on delivering high-quality, compassionate care. He has led strategic initiatives to improve financial operations and enhance employee and physician recruitment and engagement. In his previous management and executive roles at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., UnityPoint Des Moines, John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines and MHP, DeRonde led numerous capital improvement projects.

Kevin holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Masters of Healthcare Management (MHM) from Middle Tennessee State University. Prior to earning his master’s degrees and playing football in the NFL, DeRonde earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Iowa State University, completed the Pre-Optometry program, and served as a team captain for the ISU football team.

Mar 30, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about various initiatives centered around health and child well-being, wellness, strengthening families, transportation, a diversity of projects and activities in rural communities through the Randolph County Caring Community Partnership. We’re having that conversation with Lorna Miles, Project Director, and Brian Williams, Executive Director of Randolph County Caring Community Partnership in Missouri.

“Our goal is to remove all barriers.”

~Lorna Miles

Brian Williams has served as the Executive Director of the Randolph County Caring Community Partnership since 2007 and has facilitated several workshops on organizational, program, and community development. He also serves on the board for the Network for Strong Communities, the industry leader for affordable and innovative capacity building, programs and services and resources that strengthen nonprofits, and as the Chair for the Northeast Alliance Advisory Coalition of the Office of Minority Health.

Brian works extensively with community and faith-based agencies, government agencies, and health agencies to implement diverse health and social-health-related projects within Northeast and Central Missouri.

Lorna Miles, MBA, BS Paralegal Studies is currently employed as a Project Director for Randolph County Caring Community Partnership (RCCCP) since 2011. She supervises Community Health Workers (CHW's), as well as plans, directs, coordinates, and leads activities of their Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Opioid federal grant.

Lorna formerly worked as a Governmental Paralegal to the Missouri Attorney General Jeremiah Wilson "Jay" Nixon for several years. Lorna operated the Victim’s Compensation Fund, as well as provided resources, counseling, advocacy, and referral for thousands of victims of crime and their families.

Prior to Lorna’s employment with the Missouri Attorney General, she was a leader in the healthcare industry for over 20 years. On the business side of healthcare, Lorna has expertise in the area of risk management and catastrophic case management, and long-term care. Through each of these experiences, Lorna has been an advocate for the patient and family, which allowed her to have a broad scope of the practice and an understanding of how and why the area of patient advocacy is emerging as a key tool to engage patients to be active participants in their health and healthcare.

Lorna is the Co-Chairperson for the Northeast Alliance Advisory Coalition for the Missouri Office of Minority Health. She serves as a Civic Interest Representative on the board of North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC); a non-profit agency that has been managing and delivering an abundance of social service, community health and public housing programs to the low-income, elderly, youth, handicapped and disadvantaged rural Missourians since 1965. She is a board member of the Missouri Coalition of Oral Health and is on the Planning & Zoning Commission for the City of Moberly (her term ends 2024).

Mar 23, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about the value of community collaboration and leadership in rural healthcare with Brian Williams, the CEO of Coal Country Community Health Center in Beulah, North Dakota.

“As a healthcare leader in your community, I think you’re more visible than other leaders in the community.”

~Brian Williams

Brian Williams and his family love living in rural America, he does not believe that by living in rural communities one must sacrifice their healthcare. Brian has spent the last 12 years working with hospitals and community health centers in providing services to rural communities and those who are underserved. He is currently the CEO of Coal Country Community Health Center and Sakakawea Medical Center, which is a unique collaboration between a critical access hospital and a community health center.

Center for Rural Strategies

Mar 16, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about improving economic and social conditions in rural communities around the world. We’re having that conversation with Dee Davis, President of the Center for Rural Strategies.

“Life is what happens when you’re not making plans.”

~Dee Davis

Dee Davis is the founder and president of the Center for Rural Strategies. Dee has helped design and lead national public information campaigns on topics as diverse as commercial television programming and federal banking policy.

Dee began his media career in 1973 as a trainee at Appalshop, an arts and cultural center devoted to exploring Appalachian life and social issues in Whitesburg, Kentucky. As Appalshop's executive producer, the organization created more than 50 public TV documentaries, established a media training program for Appalachian youth, and launched initiatives that use media as a strategic tool in organization and development.

Dee is the chair of the National Rural Assembly steering committee; he is a member of the Rural Advisory Committee of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Fund for Innovative Television, and Feral Arts of Brisbane, Australia. He is also a member of the Institute for Rural Journalism’s national advisory board. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Institute for Work and the Economy. Dee is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. Dee is also the former Chair of the board of directors of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.

Mar 9, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about the financial problems rural clinics and hospitals are facing because of the payments they receive for their services. We’re having that conversation with Harold Miller, President and CEO of the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.

“Most of what people believe about the causes of the problems and the solutions to them are wrong.”

~Harold Miller

Harold D. Miller is the President and CEO of the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform (CHQPR), a national policy center that facilitates improvements in healthcare payment and delivery systems. He also serves as Adjunct Professor of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. Harold is a nationally-recognized expert on healthcare payment and delivery reform.

He has twice given invited testimony to Congress on how to reform healthcare payment, and he has worked in more than 40 states and several foreign countries to help physicians, hospitals, employers, health plans, and government agencies design and implement payment and delivery system reforms. He served for four years as one of the initial members of the federal Physician-Focused Payment Model Technical Advisory Committee that was created by Congress to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services on the creation of alternative payment models.

Mar 2, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about some of the unique things Hillsdale Hospital is doing to serve their community. We’re having that conversation with the hospital’s CEO, J.J. Hodshire. Located in southern Michigan near the Ohio and Indiana borders, Hillsdale Hospital is a Critical Access Hospital located in Hillsdale, Michigan.

“Our philosophy is to take it right to the community.”

~J.J. Hodshire

Love of God, love of family, love of community. Those three things drive Jeremiah “JJ” Hodshire, ’99, in his many roles: as the new president and CEO of Hillsdale Hospital, as a minister, as a community advocate, and as a husband and father. In a year when health care and hospitals have dominated the national conversation, JJ’s love of the Hillsdale community has motivated him to work tirelessly to bring attention to the importance of rural hospitals.

A Hillsdale County resident since early childhood, JJ graduated from Camden-Frontier High School and matriculated to Hillsdale College, something he considers “the best decision of my educational career. Hillsdale College formed me into the man I am today.”

A political economy major, he fondly recalls “passionate professors” such as Mickey Craig (politics), Ken Calvert (history), and Richard Ebeling (economics), as well as his senior thesis class with then-president George Roche. “The small classes, the access to guest speakers through CCAs, the wonderful things I learned about how free markets work and about our Judeo-Christian heritage—these all gave me a solid educational foundation,” he says. “Furthermore, Hillsdale taught me how to learn and how to write, and how to manage my time—all things I use in my career.”

In 2010, JJ joined Hillsdale Hospital as director of organizational development, where he was responsible for human resources, staff education and training, safety, security, and governmental affairs. In 2018, he was promoted to vice president, then a year later, to chief operating officer. Last June, he took the helm upon former president Duke Anderson’s retirement.

“Working in health care is the best job I’ve had,” JJ says. “Every day is different and dynamic, and it’s very rewarding.”

It’s that spirit of the community that motivates JJ to volunteer his time in so many other ways beyond his job at the hospital. He currently serves on the boards of the Hillsdale County Community Foundation, Southeast Michigan Workforce Development, and the Local Development Finance Authority of the city of Hillsdale.

“I want to see this community thrive,” he says. “So I want to be at the table to make decisions that will help direct the community.”
JJ is also an ordained minister, and for 20 years, he has served in a pulpit supply capacity for local churches. “I’ve always had a passion for ministry,” he says.

With such a demanding career and schedule, JJ is grateful for the love and support of his wife and their four children. He is also grateful for the foundation he received at Hillsdale College. “It all started with Hillsdale College,” he says. “I believe in the ideals of the College. I believe in this community. It’s a wonderful feeling to serve the College and the community.”

Feb 23, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about the ‘Transcultural Care Project,’ a program created to serve the well-being of diverse cultural groups in rural Oregon. Candy Canga-Picar and her team at St. Charles Madras Hospital have had great success implementing this program and collaborating with members of the community.

“The Transcultural Care Project is an evidence-based intervention that really promotes respect for our diverse cultural minority groups.”

~Candy Canga-Picar

Candy Canga Picar is a dynamic, compassionate and collaborative nursing leader in pursuit of continued excellence. She is currently the Chief Nursing Officer at St. Charles Madras Hospital. Candy enjoys collaborating with the physicians, operational leaders, and other stakeholders to provide excellent and evidence-based patient care. She represents diversity in leadership.

Candy attained her BSN degree in Cebu, Philippines. She immigrated to the US in 1991. Since then, she has worked as a staff nurse in various healthcare settings all the way up to an executive role for over 10 years. She earned her Master’s in Business Administration degree through the University of Phoenix and Doctor of Nursing Practice through Capella University. She also has board certifications in ANCC’s Nurse Executive Advanced specialty and Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Candy was declared “Winner of the California Nurseweek Nursing Excellence Award for Leadership” in 2009. Recently in 2019, she received the Transformational Pioneer Award in Nursing Leadership given by the Northwest Organization of Nurse Leaders (NWONL). She is a frequent speaker on nursing, patient satisfaction, employee engagement, and leadership throughout healthcare organizations and at national conferences.

Lastly, Candy is passionate about transcultural care, diversity, inclusion, and equity. The transcultural care project in Madras has attracted the attention of the Oregon Medical Board and considered it as an “inspiring model of care.” It is Candy’s desire to spread the transcultural care project to all other healthcare systems providing care to a diverse population.

Feb 16, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about the ‘Grow Program,’ a new program that is trauma-focused on children who are involved in a foster care system. Nikki King and her behavior health and addiction services team found that in treating substance abuse patients, they were actually treating trauma, realizing that the vast majority of patients they were treating had adverse childhood events scores of over 8, more than double the high-risk scores.

“They are just very little kids who are experiencing significant trauma mostly due to the unchecked substance abuse”

~Nikki King

Nikki has been the Manager of Behavioral Health and Addictions Services at a rural Critical Access Hospital since September 2017. During that time, they doubled their number of providers and dramatically increased services across 4 locations in an extreme shortage area.

In addition to her management role, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Indiana Rural Health Association where she is working to design and implement a leadership Fellows program for young professionals interesting in pursuing healthcare. Furthermore, she serves as the Chair of the Membership Committee and the Behavioral Health Task Force.

Nikki worked in policy development as a member of the National Rural Health Association where she served on the Policy Congress and completed the Policy Fellowship in 2017. She co-authored policies on Medically Assisted Treatment for SUD, Congregational Health, Expansion of Practice for PAs, and Redesigning Reimbursements for Rural EMS.

Prior to her current roles, she worked as a Clinical Data Analyst focusing primarily on predictive analytics for high-risk ACO patients. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Healthcare Administration.

Feb 9, 2021

In this week's episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re having a conversation with Kyle Kellum, CEO of Cherry County Hospital, about what it takes to be a successful CEO and how “creating a psychologically safe environment" can allow individuals to become the best version of themselves.

“Even when the pandemic is over, they’re going to continue to face the challenges of healthcare”

~ Kyle Kellum

Kyle Kellum is the CEO at Cherry County Hospital and Clinic (CCH) in Valentine, Nebraska. CCH is a 21 bed, independent critical access hospital. Kyle has earned his Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Des Moines University and is a graduate of the first NRHA Rural Hospital CEO Certification Program February 2020 Cohort.

Kyle and his wife are celebrating 19 years of marriage, and together they have two wonderful kids. As a family, they enjoy all things sports and the outdoors.

Feb 2, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about how being self-aware and responding to failure can allow us to become successful leaders with Johnny Stephenson, Director of the Office of Strategic Analysis and Communication at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Resilience starts with, are we able to look at ourselves and honestly gauge what have we done well and what have we not done so well.”

~Johnny Stephenson

Johnny F. Stephenson Jr. is director of the Office of Strategic Analysis & Communications at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He also leads an organization providing strategic planning, objective analysis, and comprehensive communications to support the policy, program, and budget decisions for Marshall. In April 2015, Stephenson was appointed to the Senior Executive Service, the personnel system covering top managerial positions in federal agencies.

He was deputy director of OSAC from 2008 to 2015. In 2008, he was manager of Marshall's Performance and Capabilities Management Office in OSAC, where he led his team in analyzing Marshall's capabilities and performance in the execution of its missions. From 2002 to 2007, he served at NASA Headquarters in Washington, as chief architect and implementation lead for One NASA, and then the director of organizational readiness for the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation. Stephenson began his career at NASA in 1986 when he joined the student co-op program, as a systems engineer in Marshall's Engineering Directorate where he served in several managerial capacities until 2002.

Stephenson earned a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1987 from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received numerous awards throughout his NASA career including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award bestowed by the Agency, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and the NASA Silver Snoopy Award. He is a contributing author of the book "Organization at the Limit: Lessons from the Columbia Disaster," which extracts lessons from the space shuttle Columbia accident for application in high-risk organizations.

He and his wife, Sonja, live in Moulton and have two children.

Jan 27, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about careers in rural healthcare and the advantages of working in small-town hospitals in our conversation with Stacey Gabriel, CEO of Hocking Community Hospital.

“Once you have the opportunity to show someone what it’s like to work in rural health care, and that passion of giving back to your community, that helps them understand”

~Stacey Gabriel

Stacey has been with Hocking Valley Community Hospital since January 1995 and was appointed CEO in June 2018. She started her career at HVCH working as an LPN in the Skilled Nursing Facility. Throughout her career, she worked in various clinical settings including Med-Surg, Special Care Unit, Surgery, and the Emergency Department.

In 1999 she transitioned into a Nursing Supervisor role, and in 2004 became Director of the Emergency Department, Urgent Care, and Emergency Preparedness where she served for eleven years. Prior to becoming CEO, she served as Chief Nursing Officer for almost three years. In addition to healthcare at Hocking Valley Community Hospital, she worked as a flight nurse with Air Evac Lifeteam and still currently works as an EMT-Basic with Hocking County EMS.

She earned her Associates's Degree in Nursing at Hocking College in 1995, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Ohio University in 2007, and a Masters Healthcare Administration and Masters Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2016.

She lives in Logan, Ohio with her husband, Josh, and four children, Madison, Carter, Mollie, and Carson.

Jan 19, 2021

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about some of the challenges rural Tennessee is facing and how rural health leaders there are dealing with those challenges. We’re also talking about building community and community relationships to create a culture of health and well-being in our conversation with Jacy Warrell, Executive Director of the Rural Health Association of Tennessee.

“Having moved around the way I did was a very eye-opening experience in regard to the disparities that exist between urban areas and rural areas”

~Jacy Warrell

Jacy Warrell helps bring people and organizations together to improve health outcomes through programs, policy, and collaborations. She is a listener, strategic thinker, and achiever who maintains that the best way to bring about positive change is through community engagement and pairing direct services with advocacy.

Currently, Jacy serves as the Executive Director of Rural Health Association of Tennessee a 501(c)3 non-profit established to improve the health of Tennesseans.

Jan 12, 2021

In this episode or Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re having a conversation with Melanie Richburg, CEO of Lynn County Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital in Tahoka, TX. Tahoka is about 30 miles south of Lubbock in the Texas Panhandle. Tahoka is primarily a farming community including wind farms.

“My definition of leadership is, ‘Did I HELP?’ Did I Heal? Did I Empower? Did I Listen? Did I Persevere? Did I HELP?”

~Melanie Richburg

Melanie grew up on a 180-acre cotton farm where she learned about hard work and perseverance, working her way through college through livestock farming. She and her twin sister would rise every morning at 5:00 am to feed the cattle and do it all over again at 5:00 pm. Raising cattle paid her tuition to get her BSN.

After earning her BSN, Melanie went back to school to earn an MSN and become a Nurse Practitioner, continuing her education to receive her Doctorate in Nursing.

Today she is the CEO of Lynn County Hospital where she started as a Nurse Practitioner working in one of the hospitals, a Rural Health Clinic that was barely making it. Today, both the clinic and the hospital have grown with her guidance, and simultaneously, Melanie has mentored many students looking for a career in rural health.

Melanie is a daughter and a sister along with one of her favorite roles, being an Aunt. And according to Melanie, being a Great-Aunt is even better than just being an Aunt.

Jan 5, 2021

Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2021 with a conversation with Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. Alan shares how the COVID-19 pandemic has made an impact on rural health, the good and the bad, and talks about the opportunities the new year presents.

“The pandemic really has been an accelerant for change.”

~Alan Morgan

Alan Morgan is recognized as among the top 100 most influential people in healthcare by Modern Healthcare Magazine. Alan serves as Chief Executive Officer for the National Rural Health Association.  He has more than 30 years experience in health policy at the state and federal level and is one of the nation’s leading experts on rural health policy.

Alan served as a contributing author for the publication, “Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care,” and for the publication, “Rural Populations and Health.”  In addition, his health policy articles have been published in: The American Journal of Clinical Medicine, The Journal of Rural Health, The Journal of Cardiovascular Management, The Journal of Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, Cardiac Electrophysiology Review, and in Laboratory Medicine.  

Alan served as staff for former US Congressman Dick Nichols and former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden. Additionally, his past experience includes tenures as a health care lobbyist for the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the Heart Rhythm Society, and for VHA Inc.

He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas, and a master's degree in public administration from George Mason University. 

Dec 29, 2020

In this final episode of 2020, we are honored to have Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild as a guest. Dr. Connie shares her perspective on several timely leadership topics: the impact of history on the future, purposeful futures, systems thinking, and leadership of the future.

“My research on leaders repeatedly revealed one major finding; people are motivated by personal fulfillment and purpose.”

~Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D.

Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild, Wild Innovation’s Founder and Chief Futurist, is on a mission to help leaders and organizations intentionally create a more prosperous future in the exploding longevity economy, which is expected to be valued at $28.2 trillion by 2050.

Prior to launching Wild Innovation as a full-time venture, Dr. Connie worked at the University of Nebraska for twenty-five years. In her last position at the University, she served as the Executive Director (Interim) and Chief Futurist for the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska where she published an invited journal article, strategic foresight, leadership, and the future of rural healthcare staffing in the United States, which was the first of its kind published in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAAPA).  

Dr. Connie is a Certified Futurist, Professional Coach, and Gallup Strengths Coach with a doctorate in Human Sciences and Leadership Studies.  She loves firewalking, snow sledding, swimming with sharks, and spending time with her family.

Dec 22, 2020

In this special Christmas episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking about Christmas Miracles with Dr. Mike Keegan who shares two Christmas Miracle stories.

“In my mind, it was miraculous that even after something so bad was happening, so many good things transpired thereafter.”

~James M. “Mike” Keegan, MD

James M. Keegan, MD, is a KMA principal partner and infectious disease specialist with more than 35 years of experience in the medical field as well as 20 years’ experience in Antibiotic Stewardship. 

Throughout his career of practicing medicine, Dr. Keegan has taken an active role in improving the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes by serving in numerous medical director and hospital executive leadership positions including Chief Medical Officer of a health system. 

Dr. Keegan has taken a special interest in solving the negative impact of the overreliance on broad-spectrum antibiotics and has designed and implemented numerous and successful antibiotic stewardship programs (ASPs) that have shown to decrease the incidence of drug-resistant bacteria.

Dec 15, 2020

As a student at the University of Oregon’s Business School, Orion Falvey decided to participate in the ‘social business challenge’ with other students. It started with meeting with a team of 5 or 6 students who collaboratively worked on creating a business model that solved a local problem while simultaneously delivering a positive benefit to society. Those brainstorming sessions provided the launchpad for Orchid Health.

“I spent close to two years researching and connecting with a wide range of healthcare stakeholders before we opened our first clinic.”

~Orion Falvey

A graduate of the University of Oregon Business School, Orion has served as a consultant for several local businesses, was named the 2013 Oregon Student Impact Entrepreneur of the Year, and was awarded as a Freeman Fellow while working for a community-based social enterprise in Cambodia. His passion for improving the healthcare system and for achieving health equity stems from his experiences growing up in rural Alaska and the opportunity for large-scale positive impact.

To learn more about Orchid Health, visit their website at

In this week’s Leadership Nugget, I mention a writing by Robert Greenleaf, The Institution as Servant. You can find this work here

Dec 8, 2020

Farmers face many challenges today, dairy farmers in particular. As many of you know, I worked on a dairy farm in my youth, so this conversation with Dr. Amanda Stone truly struck a chord with me.

“Unless you really go to a farm and truly talk to that person and understand their situation, there’s really no way that you could understand them.”

~Amanda Stone, Ph.D.

Dr. Amanda Stone is an Assistant Professor and Extension Dairy Specialist at Mississippi State University.  She earned her B.S. in Animal Sciences from the University of Findlay (2009) and her M.S. (2013) and PhD (2016) from the University of Kentucky. 

She has co-authored 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 1 book chapter, and over 50 peer-reviewed abstracts and conference papers. She has received $3.9 million in grants since 2016, much of which is related to her work with farm stress and farmer mental health.

She works with a team at MSU focusing on farm stress and opioid misuse that has received funding from USDA NIFA and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association. She is a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor and works with AgriSafe as part of the Southern Farmers and Ranchers Stress Assistance Network. Her work on these teams revolves around her knowledge of the ag industry and experience with producer behavior and thinking.

Dr. Stone’s goal in all her Extension work is to improve the lives of the producers who feed, clothe, and care for each and every one of us each day.

She is a mom to two little boys and wife to a very patient husband.

Dec 1, 2020

Cara Veale became the CEO of the Indiana Rural Health Association earlier this year, right in the middle of a global pandemic, but I don’t think that has slowed her or the IRHA down one bit.

“Challenging would describe rural healthcare on any given day, let alone in the middle of a pandemic.”

~Cara Veale

Cara began her professional career as an Occupational Therapist at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Indiana, in 2006. The following year, she moved to Daviess Community Hospital in Washington, Indiana, to work as an Occupational Therapist in the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit.

Cara was promoted to the Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation Therapies in 2011, overseeing Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech-Language Pathology, and Audiology services. In 2015, Cara transitioned to executive-level leadership as the organization’s first Chief Patient Experience Officer.

During the last three years at Daviess Community Hospital, Cara served as the Vice President of Provider Services providing administrative oversight for the medical practice division.

Cara received her Bachelor’s in Psychology, Master’s in Occupational Therapy, and Doctorate in Health Sciences from the University of Indianapolis and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Nov 24, 2020

Ferry County Public Hospital only had a few days cash on hand were on a list of ‘likely to close’ rural hospitals. And having cash on hand wasn’t the only issue. In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we’re talking with Aaron Edwards, CEO of Ferry County Public Hospital as he shares his hospital’s story.

“We were on the Flex Monitoring Program of the University of North Carolina’s list of likely to close facilities.”

~Aaron Edwards

Aaron Edwards became the CEO of Ferry County Health in June of 2016 while working on his MHPA from Washington State University, graduating in the spring of 2017.    Internships at Cancer Care Northwest, Lincoln County Hospital District #3, and working for his predecessor at Ferry County Health led him into his current role.  Aaron is currently a participant in the NRHA Rural Hospital CEO Certification Program October 2020 Cohort. Prior to working in hospitals and clinics, Aaron was a successful sales representative at various pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

At home, Aaron takes orders from his two-year-old daughter, wife, black lab, and min pin dachshund mix.

Nov 17, 2020

Welcome to this special episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio in celebration of National Rural Health Day. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, otherwise known as NOSORH, sets aside the third Thursday of every November to celebrate National Rural Health Day. This year’s celebration will take place on Thursday, November the 19th. While National Rural Health Day is a special day, Rural Health Leadership Radio tries to make every day a National Rural Health Day by living our mission to improve the world by engaging rural health leaders in conversations, learning, and research.

In celebration of National Rural Health Day, we’re having a conversation with Jillian Bohl, a pre-med student at Fort Hayes State University. Jillian is the very first recipient of the Juanita and Earl Bartholomew Scholarship. Rural Health Leadership Radio created the Juanita and Earl Bartholomew Scholarship to help a recent high school graduate who wants to work in rural health to help pay for their education.

“I want to move back to my hometown because when I decide to have a family someday, I want to know that my family is in a safe environment, where everyone knows everyone.”

~Jillian Bohl

Jillian Bohl is currently a freshman at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. She is the oldest of four children and her family lives on a farm in Phillips County, Kansas. Jillian is very involved in her hometown and hopes to return to the area after she completes medical school. Jillian has been involved in many activities including Girl Scouts, 4-H, tennis, dance, and leading a walking trail committee. Her goal is to become a Family Physician and work in the rural area where she grew up. She is very determined to accomplish this goal.

During our conversation, Jillian mentioned a couple of organizations. Here are their website links.
Trail in a Box:


Nov 10, 2020

In this special Veteran’s Day episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we're talking with Kate Hill, RN. Kate is a US Army Veteran and Bronze Star Recipient, awarded in recognition of meritorious service in a combat zone while serving in Viet Nam. You may know her as Vice President of Clinical Services with The Compliance Team.

Here is what Kate had to say about receiving the Bronze Star:

“I was humbled beyond belief… I was overwhelmed because there were so many more deserving, particularly men, who served in the jungles in great peril… And so frankly, I was shocked… It reads meritorious service in a combat zone, and that it was. I spent many nights in a bunker…”

~Kate Hill, RN

Kate Hill, RN, grew up outside of Philadelphia and is a graduate of Einstein Medical Center School of Nursing. As an Army Nurse, Kate served in Viet Nam where she was awarded the Bronze Star. Kate has worked with orthopedic patients in several capacities including nearly 3 decades with Biomet in various capacities.

Kate joined The Compliance Team in early 2012 to direct TCT’s rural health clinic accreditation program and has fallen in love with Rural. As VP of Clinical Services, she has spearheaded the TCT Rural Health Clinic Accreditation program combining her clinical expertise, business acumen and passion for delivery of the best care possible to every patient. 

She presently serves on the Board of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics. She feels fortunate to have been able to speak at numerous state and national meetings about RHC compliance countrywide which gave her the opportunity to learn firsthand the diverse regional issues clinics are facing.

Kate also works with clinics in TCT’s PCMH program and is seeing that a PCMH accreditation is being increasingly rewarded by payers.

Kate lives in suburban Philadelphia with her husband and near her three granddaughters.

Nov 3, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc across the country and around the world. Dr. Brady Beecham provides a unique perspective to the current state of affairs due to the many hats she wears. One hat is that of a practicing family physician at Lexington Regional Health Center in Lexington, Nebraska. Another hat is that of the Chief Medical Officer of the Board of Health in Lexington.

“Leadership is trying to help anticipate problems and help the whole group navigate around them.”

~Brady Beecham, M.D.

Dr. Beecham is a family medicine physician, a public health advocate, and a mother to two young kids. She has lived around the world and speaks three languages but finds living in a rural Nebraska just right.  As a family doctor, she takes pride in providing the best possible care to her patients, including a busy OB practice. In addition to her primary job functions, she serves as the chief medical officer for the local health department, which this year means helping to strategize a COVID-19 plan. She has been recognized as the minority health provider of the year in Nebraska for her commitment to serving patients in this diverse rural community.

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