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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Jun 7, 2022

Have you ever heard of a rural hospital CFO working remotely? This week you will! We’re having a conversation with Rhonda Wild, a rural hospital CFO who is working remotely in Idaho for her hospital in Kansas.

“What excites me most about the future of our rural health is that we have the capacity to provide patients with the best of both worlds. We're large enough to offer top technology and small enough to still be personal.”

~Rhonda Wild

Rhonda works remotely from Idaho as the CFO of Stanton County Hospital in Johnson, Kansas. She has a 29-year tenure in the healthcare field. She started out wanting to become an RN and attended the University of South Dakota and North Idaho College.  

After completing her prerequisites and pre-nursing, she faced the issue of applying for the program, and due to the program only accepting a certain number of candidates it became apparent, that she had to move on to something different in the healthcare field. She then graduated from Shoreline College with a degree in Health Information Technology and became a Registered Health Information Technician. She and her husband live in the great Northwest Idaho, where they enjoy all the outdoor activities beautiful Idaho has to offer.

May 31, 2022

Interactions between healthcare, law, and policy, and public health can have huge impacts on the rural health landscape. Craig Wilson, Director of Health Policy at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI), tackles this complicated subject in this week’s episode!

“If we can’t improve the health of the lives in our most rural parts of the state, then we can’t do it for those in the urban parts either.

~Craig Wilson

Craig Wilson is the Director of Health Policy at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI). He leads efforts to achieve ACHI’s access and quality goals and provides analysis of laws and policies that impact health and health care in Arkansas. His focus is on developing and sustaining initiatives to provide Arkansans with improved access to quality health care by eliminating financial, geographic, cultural, and language barriers.

Craig is a graduate of Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. He is an attorney licensed to practice in Arkansas, having earned his Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law and a master of public administration from Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in Atlanta, Georgia.

May 24, 2022

Physician leaders play an important role in the sustainability of rural healthcare. This week, we’re having a conversation with Dr. Bensson Samuel, who tells us about his experiences as an intensive care physician in rural Michigan.

“The interesting fact about rural health is that small contributions that are made by each individual in that community leads to a bigger impact.”

~Dr. Bensson Samuel

Dr. Samuel is currently based out of Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, and is currently practicing at MyMichigan Medical Center Sault. He is a graduate of the National Rural Health Association’s CFO and CEO programs. He also completed the University of Oxford Executive Leadership Program and holds a Doctor of Business Administration from the Swiss School of Business and Research with a focus on Situational Leadership and its efficacy on achieving organizational goals.

His other qualifications include board certifications in Internal medicine, UCNS Neuro-critical care, Certified Health Care Financial Professional from HFMA, and Board Certified in Public Health from the National Board of Public Health Examiners.

He spends his free time with his family and four kids. His other passions include economics and human rights.

May 17, 2022

The financial environment in healthcare is constantly changing and can have even more fluctuation in rural healthcare. This week we’re having a conversation with Patrick Ritter about the financial side of rural healthcare, now and in the future.

"I do think it’s exciting about how the smaller facilities can tailor and move quickly into the needs that they see in the community to provide healthcare."

~Patrick Ritter

Patrick Ritter became the Chief Financial Officer in December 2019. He has over 20 years in healthcare and leadership experience working in several organizations within the Snoqualmie Valley. He joined the District on September 1, 2004, as Clinic Billing Manager and became Revenue Cycle Director in May 2014.

He has a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Operations Management from the University of Washington and an MBA in Healthcare Management from Western Governors University. Patrick resides in North Bend with his wife Tricia and two daughters and enjoys serving in mission work in Honduras, traveling, and spending time with his family. For more than 10 years, he served as a board member for Summit Classical Christian School, Fall City, Wash.

May 10, 2022

Transitioning to a new facility AND into a new position can be an overwhelming change, particularly in rural healthcare while recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, we’re having a conversation with Jennifer Reed, CEO of Ferry County Health, who tells us about how she made those switches and how it’s going!

“We don’t have to do it all. We can be a part of it and be a part of the solution and I see that a lot. So that’s really exciting about rural healthcare.”

~Jennifer Reed

Jennifer is the CEO of Ferry County Public Hospital, a small critical access hospital in North Central Washington state. She came to Ferry County to work as the CFO/COO in January of 2022 from a large critical access hospital in the Western part of Washington State where she was the Director of Finance for almost 10 years. She has been in the accounting field for over twenty years, specializing mainly in non-profit entities from very small to very large organizations. 

Jennifer came to healthcare finance 10 years ago finding, what she believes, is the perfect niche and industry for her. She holds a Master’s degree in Accounting, and a certification as a rural CFO from the National Rural Health Association sits on the board of the WA/AK chapter of HFMA and enjoys membership in ACHE. She enjoys the creative challenge of finance in the rural hospital and making that work within the framework of critical access reimbursement and our local government. Jennifer brings her experience in rural community development, budgeting, strategic and organizational planning, reporting, and contract compliance to her position.

May 3, 2022

Last week on Rural Health Leadership Radio, we started discussing leadership solutions available specifically for rural health leaders. We continue that conversation this week by investigating NRHA’s Rural Health Congress, which advocates for rural healthcare at the national level.

“Every rural community is so different and the more we can increase that understanding of all those distinct features in small towns in rural America, the better we can provide a exchange and distribution of ideas that's going to inform health care providers, provide research and look at methods that are going to improve rural health.

~Dr. Bill Auxier

The Rural Health Congress is the policy-making body of the National Rural Health Association. Elected representatives from each of the association's constituency groups, State Association Council, State Office Council, issue groups and officers serve on the Congress. This gives broad grassroots representation that reflects the concerns of NRHA's membership. The Rural Health Congress determines the association's positions on public policy through a series of policy briefs and issue papers.

To learn more, visit their website:

Apr 26, 2022

Are you curious about what leadership solutions are available for rural healthcare leaders who are passionate about making a difference? This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we explore another rural-focused leadership program that’s working to improve health equity, NRHA’s Rural Health Fellows Program. 

“It's very exciting things that our rural health fellows are going on to do, and ultimately what the program is trying to do which is to be more representative of what rural communities are really like and what they really need..”

~Sydney Grant

NRHA's Rural Health Fellows program is a yearlong, intensive training program that develops leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America. Each year, NRHA selects 10 to 15 highly motivated individuals who have proven their dedication to improving the health of rural Americans through their educational or professional experience. The goal of the Fellows program is to educate and develop a network of diverse rural leaders that will step forward to serve in key positions in the association, affiliated advocacy groups, and local and state legislative bodies with health equity as the main focus.

For more information, go to

Apr 19, 2022

Public health has evolved greatly over time, particularly in rural healthcare over the past few years as the COVID-19 pandemic took place. This week, we’re having a conversation with Samantha Wells who tells us all about her experience with rural healthcare, public health in rural areas, the impact of the pandemic, and how she’s working to make a difference. 

“You have way more power and influence than you feel. That’s what I want everybody to remember – just because you come from a small town or small rural area, it doesn’t mean you cannot make a difference.

~Samantha Wells

Samantha Wells is a 2nd year Doctor of Public Health (DrPH, Health Leadership) student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She currently serves as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Arkansas Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity and HIV Elimination. She has previously served as the Program Manager for Health Help Mississippi, an initiative of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. Ms. Wells graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Master of Public Health degree in 2017 and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree in 2015, both with a Health Policy/Administration concentration. 

At USM, Samantha was recognized for her commitment to Public Health with the 2017 Alton B. Cobb Outstanding Master of Public Health Award. Samantha became Certified in Public Health (CPH) by the National Board of Public Health Examiners in 2019. Driven by her commitment to improving public health in rural, minority communities, Ms. Wells is passionate about her efforts with improving health equity and eliminating health disparities.

Apr 11, 2022

If you could hit the reset button on healthcare policy, what would you change? In this week's episode, Dr. Keith Mueller shares his thoughts on what he would improve given the chance to hit the policy reset button, particularly in rural healthcare.

“The pandemic taught us we need flexibility to move resources quickly to where they’re needed. We can’t do that if your payment system is based on volume of predefined services.”

~Dr. Keith Mueller

Keith J. Mueller, Ph.D., is Head of the Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health, and Gerhard Hartman Professor in Health Management and Policy, University of Iowa. He is also the Director of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI) and its Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, and Chair of the RUPRI Health Panel. Dr. Mueller currently serves on the Rural Health Advisory Committee in the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has served as President of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services. 

He has also served on national advisory committees to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. He has published more than 240 scholarly articles and policy papers, and received awards recognizing his research contributions from NRHA, RUPRI, and the University of Nebraska. In 2016, he received the University of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence. His PhD is in Political Science from The University of Arizona, and he completed a Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Fellowship with Johns Hopkins University.

Apr 5, 2022

More and more women are taking on leadership roles in rural healthcare, and Samantha Louise is here to guide them on their journey! Having grown up in rural Minnesota, Samantha knew that there were others just like her in rural areas around the world who wanted to be and cultivate, leaders. Today, Samantha does just that! Founder of Samantha Louise Inc., Samantha guides women of all ages on their natural-born leadership journey.

“Women don’t have to be so hard. They don’t have to get so jaded and so tough. They can own the essence of womanhood and still be compassionate, still be powerful in that, still be a great leader.”

~Samantha Louise

Samantha’s passion is women's empowerment and organizational cultural branding. Currently, she is a doctoral student at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College studying leadership and learning in organizations which complements her Master's degree in Educational Leadership specializing in organizational systems change. She holds a Diplomate and Instructorship in Biocognitive Science as well as a Diplomate in Biocognitive Organizational Science with a specialty in mission and vision development to inform experiential employee training, workplace wellbeing, and business innovation. With experience in curriculum design, Samantha ensures a humanistic approach to each framework she develops for personal and career development and vocational empowerment.

Mar 29, 2022

Sydney Grant, who recently became the co-host of Rural Health Leadership Radio, takes the other side of the mic in this week’s interview! Once an intern for RHLR, and now a co-host, Sydney tells us about her experiences and journey in rural healthcare leadership and how NRHA’s Rural Hospital Certification Programs are making an impact.

“The more people we’re able to connect, especially with rural hospitals – sharing knowledge, perspectives, best practices…it’s only going to get better from here.”

~Sydney Grant, MHA

Sydney Grant is the Director of Programming for NRHA’s Rural Hospital Certification Programs. She graduated from Florida State University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science and graduated with her Master’s in Healthcare Administration from the University of South Florida in 2020. Sydney was an intern with Rural Health Leadership Radio in 2019 and is now a co-host as well as serving as the Communication Director for her local ACHE Chapter.

To learn more about the Certification Programs, visit

Mar 22, 2022


Recruiting and retaining providers is a common topic among rural health leaders.  Unfortunately, so is physician burnout.  Have you ever wondered if there was a connection between the use of electronic health records and physician burnout in rural America?  As it turns out, there is.  And that is what we’re talking about with Dr. Danielle Terry, Director of Behavioral Science at Guthrie Family Medicine.

“We might want to think about how we integrate our care in the world and really, in the United States, and how we integrate behavioral health because we are going to have a problem.”

~Danielle Terry, Ph.D.

Dr. Danielle Terry graduated from Syracuse University with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in2012. She is a Board-Certified Health Psychologist and has worked as the Director of Behavioral Science at the Guthrie Family Medicine Residency in Sayre, Pennsylvania since 2017. She developed the clinical psychology training internship at the Bath VA Medical Center and served as the Program Director for several years while concurrently working as an integrated primary care psychologist in rural medicine.

She has special interests in smoking cessation, anxiety disorders, home-based primary care, and resident wellness. She is a recent co-author and editor of the book, Providing Home Care for Older Adults: A Professional Guide for Mental Health Practitioners. Her recent publications relate to technology use among physicians, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the intersection of technology use and well-being in rural medical providers.

Information on Dr. Terry’s article:
Terry, Danielle L. PhD; Mathews, David P. Technology-Assisted Supplemental Work Among Rural Medical Providers: Impact on Burnout, Stress, and Job Satisfaction, Journal of Healthcare Management: November-December 2021 - Volume 66 - Issue 6 - p 451-458 doi: 10.1097/JHM-D-19-00182
Mar 15, 2022

Rural healthcare faces many challenges, which become even more complicated when rare disorders are involved. March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, and Shellye Horowitz, Associate Director of Education for the Hemophilia Federation of America, has experienced first-hand the obstacles that a patient with a rare bleeding disorder faces while living in a rural area.

“We need to make sure that the knowledge and information base is wide enough in our rural communities that we can protect patients with rare bleeding disorders…”

~Shellye Horowitz

Shellye Horowitz is the Associate Director of Education at the Hemophilia Federation of America. Shellye has strong ties to the bleeding disorders community with six traceable generations of hemophilia A in her family, affecting both men and women. Shellye has given presentations and served on numerous committees focused on increasing awareness of diagnosis and treatment for women's disorders. Additionally, Shellye wrote a column for Hemophilia News Today that addressed issues regarding women and bleeding disorders called "The Forgotten Factor". Shellye’s hobbies include International Folk Dance, ham radio, geocaching, knitting, hiking, home improvement projects, and walking her dog Hope on the beach.

To learn more, check out

Mar 8, 2022

Many patients living in rural America encounter unique boundaries to receiving the critical healthcare they need, particularly when faced with a rare disorder or disease. March is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, and Dr. Len Valentino is working to educate and advocate for upwards of 10,000 rural Americans living with a rare blood or bleeding disorder.

“Understanding rural health is critical to serving the population of the US.”

~Dr. Len Valentino

As CEO of the National Hemophilia Foundation, Dr. Valentino brings more than 35 years of clinical and research experience related to inheritable blood disorders to the organization. Prior to his most recent work with Spark Therapeutics, a biotech startup, he founded and led the Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where he successfully balanced a $10 million budget to support research grants, research, and clinical teams–keeping the patient and their families as his core focus. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Creighton University and Creighton University School of Medicine. 

He then completed the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Pediatric Medicine Residency before completing a fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Valentino remains an active member of multiple professional organizations, including The American Society of Hematology; International Society of Thrombosis and Hemostasis; Medical Affairs Professional Society; and The Hemophilia and Thrombosis Research Society

To learn more, check out

Mar 1, 2022

The needs in a rural community can sometimes be overwhelming, from transportation needs to medical care, dental care, and more. Sabrina Blue’s heart has always been rural because she is a country girl at heart. Her mission is to look at the deficit of the resources in rural Tennessee and figure out how to deliver holistic healthcare to the residents of rural West Tennessee.

“Our mission is to build stronger communities and improve health outcomes for West Tennessee families.’

~Sabrina Blue

Sabrina Blue is the Founder and CEO of Helping Hands of Middle and West Tennessee (HHT). The mission of HHT is to build stronger communities and help improve health outcomes for West Tennessee families. HHT provides dental, medical, and medical insurance assistance to families earning no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Blue is an Associate Pastor with the Historic First Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee.

She had earned over 30 years of corporate management, including sales and marketing strategic planning, for top Fortune 500 companies. Blue had developed and launched businesses such as the first 24-hour childcare center located in Charleston, South Carolina. Blue serves as a board member in nonprofit organizations within her community in the West Tennessee area. Blue currently serves her community in the following areas:

  • Vice-Chair, Jackson Madison County Equity Project
  • Board Member, Sister with Aspiring Goals (SWAG)
  • Board Member, Leadership Jackson Alumni
  • Member of the Jackson Rotary Club
  • Member of the Jackson Cotillion Club
  • Member of the Circle of Red and Red Tie Society
  • Member of the 10 Women Who Care of Jackson
  • Advisory Committee Member of the Jackson General Hospital
  • Chair, Jackson Mission of Mercy

Blue enjoys providing coaching and mentoring services by helping professionals and youths to develop skills in management, sales, marketing, and staffing coaching. She has studied at Trident Technical College, College of Charleston, and the University of Colorado.

Feb 22, 2022

Free training? Free tools? Free technical assistance? Yes, that is correct! The Rural Telementoring Training Center (RTTC) accomplishes this through telementoring technology. What is telementoring? You need to listen to our conversation with Trisha Melhado and Suyen Schneegans with RTTC to learn more.

“We provide free training, tools, and technical assistance to support the implementation and evaluation of current and new telementoring programs for rural healthcare workers.’

~Trisha Melhado

Trisha Melhado is the Evaluation Lead for the national Rural Telementoring Training Center. Trisha has experience in various research roles where she provides research guidance to faculty and residents on all aspects of the research process with an emphasis on study methodology and statistical analysis. She has successfully collaborated with faculty from multiple institutions to implement multi-year grant-funded projects and has worked on Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, Department of Defense, and Health Resources & Services Administration funded grants as well as provided analytical and statistical expertise to projects. She has presented research at local and national conferences in addition to co-authoring several publications. At the RTTC, she is the evaluation team lead.

Suyen Schneegans is the Training & Technical Assistance Staff Lead for the national Rural Telementoring Training Center. She has a MA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in Bicultural Bilingual Studies with a concentration in Cultural Studies and is a graduate of the University of the Incarnate Word with a BA in Spanish, Literature, and Language and a minor in Psychology. Suyen has worked on various social science projects pertaining to substance use disorders, community health, screening, brief intervention, referral to treatment (SBIRT). She is also a qualitative researcher and has presented at numerous local and national conferences and co-authored several publications. At the RTTC she is the training and technical assistance team lead.

If you would like to know more, visit

Feb 15, 2022

Nurse staffing shortages is a hot topic, not just in rural America, but everywhere, making nurse education ever more important. Educating nurses and preparing them to take care of the members of their community requires educational leadership. Hear how one nurse educator is making a difference in rural Tennessee as we talk about educational challenges and generational differences. We are having that discussion with Dr. Christie Manasco, Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Nursing.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.’

~Dr. Christie Manasco

Dr. Christie Manasco is a registered nurse with broad experience and expertise in nursing, education, leadership, and administration. Dr. Manasco is a full-time assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where she teaches in the undergraduate nursing program and is engaged in developing initiatives that promote equity and reduce health disparities for rural and underserved populations. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Manasco served as Assistant Dean of Nursing, Lambuth, where she was responsible for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of an undergraduate nursing program. In this role, she helped develop, grow, and lead the first public baccalaureate nursing program in Jackson, TN.

Additionally, she served as manager for a leading global corporation in the delivery of human patient simulation, learning applications, and training. She began her career in academics at Union University where she served as Assistant Professor/Director of Undergraduate Education for the Center of Excellence in Healthcare. Recently, Dr. Manasco is part of a UTHSC College of Nursing grant team that was awarded a $1.5 million dollar HRSA grant to increase the supply, distribution, and retention of certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who can provide timely, trauma-informed care for all sexual assault survivors in West Tennessee.

Feb 8, 2022

Nurse practitioners can truly make a difference in rural healthcare. When working in rural, you are often on your own, and you never know what healthcare challenges you may face from one day to the next. That is why this conversation today is so important because today we are talking with two nurse leaders who are doing something about helping nurse practitioners grow in confidence to be prepared for whatever walks through their doors.

"We want to make sure they are well prepared for anything that comes into the office."

~Dr. Anne Hirsch

Dr. Anne Hirsch, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at UW School of Nursing, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing and is the UW Premera RNHI Project Director. 

A native of Anacortes, WA, Dr. Hirsch is passionate about the health of rural and underserved communities and is dedicated to promoting equitable access to primary care in rural counties of Washington state. Clinically, Dr. Hirsch provides care to homeless families and teens as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has led statewide innovative programs to improve education access through online programs, co-chaired a design team to formulate a master plan for nursing education in Washington, co-chaired a sub-committee of the Washington Nursing Action Coalition to enact these recommendations, and was recently appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve on the coordinating committee to establish core performance measures for healthcare (the only educator or nurse practitioner appointed to this key policy-setting committee).

Through academic leadership roles, she has helped establish a Ph.D. program at Washington State University (WSU) and two Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs at WSU and Seattle University. Dr. Hirsch has successfully brought the WSU and Seattle University Colleges of Nursing and the UW School of Nursing through Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accreditation reviews, and currently co-chairs the CCNE Accreditation Review Committee. Dr. Hirsch is a Fellow in the Academy of Nurse Practitioners and a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Heather Novak, Medical Education Program Director, is a Nurse Practitioner at Valley View Health Center and in charge of the Nurse Practitioner Fellowship Program, New Provider onboarding and orientation, and provides family practice services for all ages.

Heather is originally from Virginia Beach, VA. She then traveled the world as a military spouse and saw the global impacts of different types of healthcare systems and the lack of access to care.

As a WA rural healthcare provider in Lewis, Pacific and Thurston counties, Heather sees the difficulty her patients have in accessing specialty care due to distance and cost.  Throughout her career in the medical field, she has worked to precept new employees and successfully integrate team philosophies into practice to improve overall outcomes. Heather is a member of AANP, ARNPs United of Washington, NW-Cape, and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Feb 1, 2022

Do you remember what the food was like in your school cafeteria? If was anything like mine, you were willing to do whatever was needed to eat something else or somewhere else. Angela Stoltzenburg, Director of Community Health at Lincoln Memorial Hospital, has done something about that. Through a collaborative effort, school cafeterias now create healthy meals from scratch! Not only are students learning about healthy eating habits, but they also see what healthy eating looks like.

We talk to the kids about ‘go’ food and how they need to eat more ‘gos’ than ‘slows’ and more ‘slows’ than ‘whoas.’

~Angela Stoltzenburg

Angela Stoltzenburg has been serving as the Director of Community Health at Lincoln Memorial Hospital (LMH) since 2012 in Lincoln, Illinois. Lincoln is located in central Illinois. LMH serves Logan County and eastern Mason County with a total population of approximately 32,000. In her current role, she oversees a variety of strategies to improve health outside the walls of the critical access hospital.

Stoltzenburg earned a Bachelors in Health Administration and a Master’s of Business Administration from Eastern Illinois University. Prior to her work at LMH she was the CEO of Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois serving six rural Illinois counties, including Logan, to address the needs of low-income and seniors. She uses her experience of the social determinants of health to guide the work of LMH as they work to improve lives and build stronger communities through better health.

Jan 25, 2022

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 the 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.

Jan 18, 2022

Ted Rogalski considers himself to be in the relationship business. Maximizing outcomes and organizational effectiveness in rural communities with limited resources require a culture of connection, a culture that fosters strong relationships. Hear Ted’s thoughts on this and much more during our conversation with Ted Rogalski, Administrator of Genesis Medical Center in Aledo, IL.

“We must create a culture and work environment that is a draw for caregivers by developing relationships outside the organization.”

~Ted Rogalski

Edward J. (Ted) Rogalski is the Administrator for Genesis Medical Center, Aledo, a 22-bed critical access hospital located in Aledo, Illinois. Rogalski completed his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration at St. Ambrose University and received his Master's degree in Health Care Administration from the University of Iowa. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

During his 24 years with Genesis Health System, Rogalski has held a number of leadership positions. Over the past ten years, he has directed operations in Aledo, IL where he joined the organization under a management agreement with Mercer County Hospital (now Genesis Medical Center, Aledo). During his tenure, Rogalski led a $1.6 million dollar turn-around effort and successfully guided the organization through affiliation and ultimately acquisition.

On February 1, 2013, Mercer County Hospital, Medical Associates Clinic (a six provider RHC) and Mercer County Nursing Home (92 bed LTC) joined Genesis Health System. The Hospital immediately embarked on an extensive $12 million renovation plan. Prior to joining Genesis, Rogalski worked for Mercy Hospital, Iowa City, IA; Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, MN; and started his healthcare career at St. Luke’s Hospital, Davenport, IA.

Rogalski currently serves as Chair-Elect for the Illinois Hospital Association Board of Trustees and Treasurer for the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network. He has also served as the Chair for the Small and Rural Hospital Committee of the Illinois Hospital Association and has been an active community volunteer and serves or has served on the boards of the American Hospital Association - Regional Policy Board, Vera French Mental Health Center, St. Ambrose University PA Program, Mercer County Better Together, Mercer County YMCA, St. Paul the Apostle School, Assumption High School Century Club, and Friendship Manor. Rogalski and his wife, Lisa, have five adult married children and one grandson.

Jan 11, 2022

Burnett Medical Center set some pretty high goals for wellness visits, complete physicals, annual wellness visits, and welcome-to-Medicare visits. They also initiated a tier management program to follow up with patients to make sure they are doing well. We’re talking about this and more with Tamra White, Burnett Medical Center’s Medical Practice Administrator and Compliance Officer.

“As much as we like to think we’re pretty good at what we do, there’s always room for improvement.”

~Tamra White

Tamra White joined Burnett Medical Center in 2001. Burnett Medical Center is a 17-bed Critical Access Hospital, Rural Health Clinic, and 50-bed nursing home in Tamra’s hometown of Grantsburg, Wisconsin. Throughout that time, Tamra has held various positions including medical transcriptionist, medical staff coordinator, HIM Director, and Compliance Officer. During those years she assisted with two EMR implementations, revenue cycle improvement, and planning for a $15 million building project.

Since 2017 Tamra has served as the Medical Practice Administrator and Compliance Officer in addition to implementing an Emergency Preparedness program. In December 2018 Tamra was asked to co-lead the organization when the hospital’s CEO had an unexpected three-month medical leave.
Tamra is currently finishing her bachelor’s degree in healthcare management through Regent University. After that, she plans to obtain a master’s degree in healthcare administration. Tamra also holds a degree in health information management from Rasmussen College.

Tamra’s mission is to serve her community, friends, and family in humility and love while ensuring they have close-to-home access to high-quality healthcare. Her professional interests involve strategic planning, medical staff relations, compliance, and regulatory issues, and goal cycles and action plans. Tamra’s personal interests include spending time with her husband and two daughters, reading, church activities, and Bible study small groups.

Jan 4, 2022

Rural Medical Centers has clinics located in mountains where there is no internet or cell service, and in the middle of a tomato field. As you might imagine, they have a few challenges providing healthcare services. I invite you to listen to a very interesting conversation with Jessica Zimmerman and Alexis Andino who are both with Rural Medical Centers in East Tennessee.

“We have a clinic in the mountains where there is no cell or internet service, so the way we access and treat people there is different.”

~Jessica Zimmerman

Jessica Zimmerman is a native of Lima, OH, and is married to Javier. They have one son, Ethan. Jessica is currently transitioning from her role as Corporate Compliance Manager with Rural Medical Services, Inc. to a position working with Auxiliary Services offered through her organization which is a FQHC located in East Tennessee. Jessica is bilingual and uses that ability to not only help her fulfill duties at work but also as a volunteer English teacher for adults one night a week.

Alexis Andino is originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Central America. He is married to Edith, and they have 3 married young adult children, who give them the joy of enjoying 6 grandchildren with one more on the way. Alexis is a bilingual Agricultural Engineer, with a diploma in Church-based community Facilitation, who worked for several years as a church-based community project facilitator for Christian Service Organizations in Honduras, Central America.

Alexis works as a Community Outreach and Transportation worker for Rural Medical Services, Inc.

Dec 28, 2021

Alice Hyde Medical Center and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospitals (CVPH) are both in upstate New York, and believe it or not, the closest major metropolitan area is in Montreal, Canada. Collaboration has been an important aspect of delivering quality care to the residents of that area. In our conversation with Michelle LeBeau, CEO of both facilities, Michelle shares her perspective on collaboration and more.

“Collaboration has been really important to understand what each county, each region needs, and how best to deliver care.”

~Michelle LeBeau

With nearly thirty years in health care as a registered nurse and Human Resources executive, today, Michelle leads a dynamic group of health care professionals in Malone and Plattsburgh, New York. She understands the impact individuals bring to their organization when they are engaged and feel valued. She emphasizes the creative inspiration of individual thought processes and strives to ensure all voices are heard.

She believes in the power of a smile, the strength of positivity, and the idea that opportunity is made. Michelle embraces the power of change, thrives on ambiguity, and inspires others with her energy and enthusiasm. Her daily mission is to foster a culture that empowers those around her - ensuring that Alice Hyde Medical Center and CVPH offer a vibrant, engaging experience for its people and patients.

Michelle is an avid learner, holding degrees in nursing, business, and human resources. She believes that learning takes many forms and that each day presents the possibility for growth.

She is most proud of her five children and marvels at watching them grow into incredible people.

Dec 21, 2021

The mission of Doing Unto Others (DUO) is to reach people with the love of Christ by practically meeting physical and spiritual needs through providing health resources, service industries, and educational opportunities with the hope of equipping individuals and communities for living an abundant life.  We’re talking about this and more with Samuel LaFave, Director of Mobile Missions at Life Church in Cookeville, TN.

“By the time they leave they really do feel like a new person.”

~Samuel LaFave

DUO Wellness is ready to encourage personal health and promote healthy lifestyles by offering wellness screenings and consultations with health professionals, all free of charge! Our team of physicians and health professionals is passionate about putting patients in control of their health by educating and building awareness.

DUO Hair is ready to serve your community by offering haircuts for all ages at no charge! Our Hair Bus is a salon on wheels and will make you feel right at home!

DUO Food is ready to bring meals to your community! Our trailer is fitted with a grill and refrigeration to make for a successful event. The trailer can be used to serve pre-made food or food can be prepared on the trailer!

DUO Outreach is ready to address the crowd with onboard audio and lighting. The stage truck is great for being the central hub of an event!

To learn more about this program, visit their website: DUO Mission (

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