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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Jan 29, 2019

Dr. Deepak Pahuja is the Chief Medical Officer of Aerolib Healthcare Solutions LLC. He is Board certified in Internal Medicine and has an MBA in Healthcare Management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst-Isenberg School of Management. Dr Pahuja specializes in innovations in healthcare and serves as the Founder of the Empowering Physician Advisor Show.  

“Small and rural hospitals are subject to the same level of regulations as big academic centers.” 

Dr Pahuja is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Fellow of the Society of Hospital Medicine and member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the American Association for Physician Leadership. 

His company, Aerolib Healthcare Solutions, is a physician-owned physician-led consulting firm providing Physician Advisor Gap Coverage for hospitals, Clinical and Regulatory Education for providers, Healthcare Analytics and Artificial Intelligence for healthcare organizations. 

Jan 22, 2019

Phil Polakoff, M.D., M.P.H., M.Env.Sc. is the Founder and CEO of A Healthier We. He is a consulting professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and an affiliated scholar at Stanford University Bill Lane Center for the American West.

He has been in the healthcare industry for forty-five years and has a wide range of experience in clinical services, product innovation, network development, care management, organizational and business enhancement, policy formulation, communications and financing.

“Our current system with health and healthcare delivery is fragmented. We’re inefficient, ineffective, and it’s costly. “

In his first years of practice he was short listed as US Surgeon General. He has experience working with various industries as well which includes being a Senior Managing Director for publicly traded consulting firms, advisor to numerous payers, providers, investors, employers, labor organizations and public entities. He was the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Total Health Advocacy Partners (Thap!).

Dr. Polakoff holds degrees in Medicine/Healthcare Policy Study from Oxford University, an M.P.H in Epidemiology from UC Berkeley, a Medical Degree from Wayne State University, an M.S. in Environmental Sciences from The State University of New Jersey, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University.

He has published five books, over two hundred articles, and has written a weekly nationally syndicated health column.

“Leadership is both a skill set as well as a personality set to motivate yourself and others to accomplish a purpose that has both a return on investment as well as hopefully, socially meaningful results.”

A humble and effective leader, Dr. Polakoff has produced numerous health-related media productions including videos being aired as “Phil Polakoff MD - Thrive Global.”

Dr. Polakoff has faculty appointments at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and UC Irvine.

Click here to learn more about the Healthier Rural West summit.

Jan 15, 2019

Lori Zindl is the President of efficientC, a comprehensive, software-as-a-service (SaaS) that provides healthcare organizations a single solution with unmatched performance.   

“Beside your physical building, account receivables are your largest asset.” 

Lori began her revenue cycle career in 1985 as a medical bill collector. She was amazed at the amount of bad debt sent to collection agencies which were still owed by third-party payers. She wondered why healthcare providers couldn't get paid by the insurance themselves, a question that ultimately led her to a revenue cycle consulting role.  

In 1993, Lori founded her first company OS inc., to support revenue cycle services at hospital’s struggling with their collections.  Never one to shy away from innovation, in the late 2000s she spearheaded the development of efficientC – a state-of-the-art claim processing and denial management software used by her own staff and rural hospitals across the country.   

When Lori isn’t busy managing the day-to-day operations at efficientC and OS inc., she enjoys spending time on the speaking circuit educating healthcare leaders on revenue cycle best practices.  

Jan 8, 2019

Diane Calmus is Regulatory Counsel for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).  Diane joined the NRHA staff in 2015. She is one of NRHA’s federally registered lobbyists.

“We really saw the voice of rural Americans saying how important healthcare is to them.”

She previously worked as a legislative assistant to Rep. Kevin Brady, the chair of Ways and Means, where she handled a variety of health care issues with a focus on Medicare policy. She also worked as a health policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation. 

Diane earned a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Lake Superior State University and psychology from Central Michigan University.

Diane will be part of the NRHA Rural Health Policy Institute February 5-7 in Washington, DC.  Act by January 11 to take advantage of discounted registration. You can register by clicking HERE.

Jan 1, 2019

Lauren S. Hughes, MD, MPH, MSc, FAAFP, is a practicing family physician and Deputy Secretary for Health Innovation in the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In this role, she creates and leads statewide strategies to improve health and health care delivery for all Pennsylvanians, with a focus on initiatives combatting the opioid and heroin epidemic and transforming rural health care delivery.

“The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model is designed to provide greater financial stability and predictability for rural hospitals.”

Prior to joining the Department, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan where she studied health services research.

“(The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model) also provides rural hospitals with a volume to value pathway to transform how to deliver care to better meet the community’s health needs.”

She holds degrees in zoology and Spanish from Iowa State University, an MPH in health policy from The George Washington University, and a medical degree from the University of Iowa.

Dr. Hughes served as the national president of the American Medical Student Association for one year prior to completing her residency at the University of Washington in Seattle.

She has volunteered through AmeriCorps in a federally qualified health center, worked for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, and studied medicine and health systems in Brazil, Sweden, Tanzania, and Botswana. Dr. Hughes has also been a visiting scholar at the Robert Graham Center, ABC News Medical Unit in New York City, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and The Commonwealth Fund.

In 2015, she was named a regional finalist in the White House Fellows program, and in 2016, a recipient of the Women Leaders in Medicine Award from the American Medical Student Association and the Early Career Achievement Award from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. In 2017, she was elected to a five-year term on the American Board of Family Medicine Board of Directors, and in 2018, as a Presidential Leadership Scholar.

Dec 25, 2018

Rolland “Boomer” Bojo is the Administrator of Grover M. Hermann Hospital, and also the Vice President of Patient Care Services and CNO of Catskill Regional Medical Center. 

Grover M. Hermann Hospital was recently recognized as a Top 20 CAH by the NRHA for the 4th time in the last 5 years. 

“Our secret sauce is that we strongly believe in the community.” 

Boomer joined Catskill Regional Medical Center in 2004, where he has held several leadership positions including Administrator of Patient Care Services and Emergency Manager, Grant Director, Clinical Director of the Emergency Department and Director of Infection Control. 

As Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer, Mr. Bojo is responsible for providing nurse leadership throughout the hospital as well as oversight for nursing practice, nursing standards and patient care delivery. 

Boomer holds a BS in Nursing and earned his Master’s degree in Nursing from Norwich University.  He holds certifications as a NYS EMT, Professional Development Emergency Department, Fire Fighter 1, Haz Mat Technician and ICS 400.  He is also the Deputy Coordinator of the Delaware County Office of Emergency Services and Chief of the Hancock Fire Department and a founding member of the Town of Hancock Ambulance Corp. 

Dec 18, 2018

Joe Lampard is Vice President and partner at HPSA Acumen.  With over 15 years’ experience in analyzing areas with health professional shortages through HPSA Acumen, Joe has extensive knowledge about the underserved communities in the US. 

 “The truth is in the data.” 

Joe’s professional focus is on increasing access to care for the marginalized and underserved.  This is accomplished through Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations, Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P) designations, and Rural Health Clinic establishment which provide benefits to encourage clinicians to relocate and remain in underserved areas.  

“Knowing the exact supply of medical services in your community and region is the first step to addressing your shortages.” 

Joe attended the University of Stony Brook in Long Island and has since relocated to Western New York, where Acumen is based.   

To learn more about HPSA Acumen, click here. 

Dec 11, 2018

John Roberts was appointed Executive Director of the Nebraska Rural Health Association on February 1, 2004. He has been involved in the association since its inception, and served on its board of directors for six years prior to becoming Executive Director.

“Really successful leaders truly are able to articulate a clear vision for their organization, for their hospital and for their communities.”

With over 38 years of professional experience in both healthcare and leadership development, John brings great value to rural health leaders.

“The most effective leaders have a great self-awareness of their own leadership.”

He currently serves as President of Midwest Health Consultants, Inc. a position he has held for the past 18 years. The firm has considerable expertise in the areas of healthcare administration, rural health care policy, strategic planning, association management and the implementation of hospital performance improvement activities such as the balanced scorecard, lean healthcare and values-based leadership. John also serves on the National Rural Health Association Board of Trustees.

“Effective leaders have really worked on developing. They just don’t leave it to happenstance.”

John received his designation as Lean Sigma Black Belt in 2009. He serves as a Lean Coach supporting clients through the implementation of the Lean concepts and tools in healthcare settings. John has developed leaders and managers in Lean Management concepts and tools, including the development and delivery of education and training to hospitals staff.

Prior to starting his own consulting firm, he was a lobbyist with the Nebraska Hospital Association for 12 years, was a Cancer Control Administrator with the Nebraska Department of Health and served as assistant administrator of a small rural hospital in western Nebraska for six years. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Health Services Administration and earned a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Leadership Development.

Dec 4, 2018

Brant Couch is President of HealthSure, where he provides leadership for business development, programs and strategic account management. HealthSure is the program manager for RHIA, the Rural Hospital Insurance of America. For nearly 15 years Brant has worked closely with community hospitals to develop new and better ways to ensure their success.

“Leadership is one word, and that word is grit.”

Brant grew up in a small town in Central Texas, about an hour North of Austin. He is a fifth generation Texan, and most of his family is still resides in the area. Brant’s mom was a school teacher and his dad had a small insurance business. The Couch family was very involved in the community. In fact, Brant’s dad was mayor.

Brant majored in accounting at Texas State University, and upon graduation, went to work for Ernst & Young as a CPA. Along the way, he interned at a local hospital in the accounting department and worked part-time for the Texas Senate. After eight years with Ernst & Young, he was recruited by his father to help grow his independent insurance consulting and brokerage firm called HealthSure. 14 years later, HealthSure is a national firm that specializes in a program developed for rural hospitals in their hospital associations.

Brant has been married for 17 years. He and his wife have two beautiful daughters, ages 14 and 11.

Nov 27, 2018

Amy Yauk is the Director of Nursing at Harper County Community Hospital (HCCH), in Buffalo, OK. HCCH was recently recognized by the National Rural Health Association as a Top 20 CAH.

“We pretty much always know all of our patients so it’s real easy to care for them like they’re family.”

Amy started her career at HCCH in 1999 as an LPN. She had identified nursing as a good career path for a single mother and her grandfather also pushed her in that direction. Enrolled in the Oklahoma University BSN program, after three years in the program, she was eligible to test for the LPN license, which she successfully did. Simultaneously, she continued her education to finish her BSN in 2000. Amy became the Director of Nursing 3 years ago.

Amy grew up in a small town, Kiowa, Kansas. In 1999 she moved to Buffalo, OK, where she started her nursing career at HCCH.

Amy has worked in several areas of nursing, including the ER, Med-Surg, OB, Critical Care and Home Case Management and In-Home Nursing Visits.

She describes herself as “a normal person living out here in Oklahoma.” She has two children and one grandson. Her husband coaches boy’s football, basketball and baseball, so if she’s not at the hospital, you can probably find her at a ball game.

Nov 20, 2018

Marc Ringel grew up in Chicago, went to college in New Orleans and Madrid, and did his medical training back in Chicago.  He even drove a Chicago Transit Authority bus one summer. Nevertheless, his life led him to serve with the National Health Service Corps as a general practitioner in Yuma, Colorado, a prairie town of 2000 people.  And the die was cast. Marc fell in love with country people, country ways, and rural family practice.

“Science is but one avenue of understanding.”

-Digital Healing:  People, Information, Healthcare, p. 10

Dr. Ringel has been a rural family doctor in Wisconsin and in Colorado ever since, and has been a teacher to medical students, nurse practitioner students, residents and practicing physicians.  

“Why do you crave a person to talk to?  Because if given some latitude, a person can still solve problems that a computer cannot anticipate.  Just as importantly, because a person can, in the space of a few sentences, form an idea of who you are and respond to you.  That interpersonal connection is one of the things that makes us human beings tick.”

-Digital Healing:  People, Information, Healthcare, p. 55

He has written several books and a number of medical articles, as well producing regular columns in the lay press and commentaries on Colorado Public Radio.  

Ringel’s abiding interest in healthcare informatics stems largely from his understanding, acquired firsthand, that information and connection are the keys to the success of any medical practice, especially a rural one.  

His latest book, Digital Healing:  People, Information and Healthcare, was published this year by Taylor&Francis.  

Marc has been sort of retired since last summer.  He has three children and two grandchildren. He lives in Greeley, Colorado.  

Nov 12, 2018

Happy National Rural Health Day!  To help us celebrate, we’re having a conversation with Kristine Sande.

“It’s really great to focus on what makes rural communities great!”

Kristine Sande is an Associate Director at the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health.   She also directs the Rural Health Information Hub, formerly known as the Rural Assistance Center, which serves as a national information portal for rural health.  

“The people who provide healthcare within those rural communities are so important and it is great to have a day to celebrate that.”

Prior to the launch of RHI Hub in 2002, she served as the Project Coordinator of the North Dakota Flex Program and worked at two different rural electric cooperatives. 

Kristine was raised on a family farm 20 miles outside of a North Dakota town of 1,200 people. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Dakota.

Nov 8, 2018

In this special episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™, we honor our Veterans. Veteran’s Day is right around the corner, and to recognize our Veterans living in Rural America we’re having a conversation with Hilda Heady.

Hilda has 50 years of experience as a rural health leader, Hilda has had a variety of roles serving rural America including being a direct service professional, a health professions’ educator and as an advocate for rural families and rural women’s health care. Hilda is also a strong advocate for Veterans.

“I began to notice this pattern of a number of veterans who lived in rural areas that we served.”

Hilda Heady’s work and advocacy is focused on how best to inform policies and practices which impact rural people and the service institutions in their communities.

“Not everyone has a sense of service, is as patriotic and believes in service to family and community like rural people do.”

She served as a charter member of the VA Secretary’s Rural Health Advisory Committee from 2008 to 2013 and as the 2005 President of the National Rural Health Association. For 18 years, she was the associate vice president for rural health at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at WVU, and for seven years the senior vice president with Atlas Research, a service disabled veteran owned small business.

Hilda is a frequent national speaker on rural culture and resilience, and issues faced by rural veterans and their families.

Oct 29, 2018

David Conejo is the CEO of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHCS) in Gallup, New Mexico.  He has been running hospitals since the time Richard Nixon was President, with more than 30 years of experience in the position of CEO for multiple healthcare facilities throughout the United States.  He has worked in hospitals in South Dakota, Texas and New Mexico.

 “Somebody coming to see us may have 100-mile trip, of which 80 is on muddy roads.” 

 “We’ve been able to acquire a bus that we’re going to be taking out to the reservation to different locations.” 

 He was exposed to working in healthcare while in high school, where he worked as a volunteer in a psychiatric hospital where is mother was employed.  After high school, he served in the Marine Corps for a few years.  Once finished with his military service, he returned to healthcare where he worked his way up, advancing his career into supervisory and leadership roles.

David was educated at Columbia Pacific University in Novato, CA.

Oct 22, 2018

Dr. Mike Maxwell is the CEO of North Olympic Healthcare Network in Port Angeles, Washington. He began his career in 1991 as a partner in Family Medicine of Port Angeles and greatly enjoys the practice of full-spectrum family medicine which included High-Risk Obstetrics for 25 years. Even though he serves as the Chief Executive Officer for NOHN, he continues to practice part-time medicine.

“We had to find a different path and that’s when we chose to transition to a community health center.”

Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Dr. Maxwell earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Seattle University, Summa Cum Laude. He received his Medical Degree with honors from the University of Washington School of Medicine and completed a family medicine residency through the University of Washington in Spokane.

His professional interests are diabetes, heart disease, chronic disease management, quality improvement and health care administration. He enjoys teaching as clinical instructor for the University Of Washington Department Of Family Medicine.

In his free time, you’ll find Dr. Maxwell backcountry hiking, cycling, traveling, or playing guitar.

Oct 16, 2018

Mary Shores is the Owner and CEO of Midstate Collection Solutions. As the founder and CEO of what has been called one of the most unique collection agencies in the country, her philosophy of maintaining a positive approach to life and to debt collection has re-framed her entire organization and the lives of those she’s trained.

“We’re collecting debt in a way where we’re truly focused on building connection, rapport and trust with the patient.”

Mary is also a best-selling Hay House personal development author, and a businesswoman who discovered a roadmap for how to get in control of your own life. Check out her book, Conscious Communications.

Mary has a free gift for all Rural Health Leadership Radio™ listeners. She is offering you a free miniature Words That Work workbook download. It’s a value-packed 11-page workbook with Mary’s proven tips and tricks to level up your communication. Here’s the download for listeners:

If you would like to connect with Mary, her contact information is:


Oct 8, 2018

Portia Brown is the Vice President at Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital located in Luray, Virginia. She has 35 years of healthcare experience to include 30 years in leadership positions working in large and small hospitals, a 1000 bed Veterans Administration hospital, academic facility, and Martin Marietta contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy.

“We added a pharmacist to help support our patient care in our rural health clinics…She supports patients with opioid prescriptions and substance use disorders…discusses a narcotic contract with the patient and the patient signs that contract.”

Portia has a passion for patient safety, risk reduction, performance improvement, patient experience and providing an environment where staff and physicians have a great place to work and patients to receive high quality compassionate care.

She received undergraduate degrees in laboratory technology and medical technology from Auburn University and a Master of Science in Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia. Portia is a certified professional in healthcare quality (CPHQ), patient safety (CPPS), and healthcare risk management (CPHRM) as well as Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).

Currently, Portia serves on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Rural Healthcare Association as well as on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management.

Oct 2, 2018

Ray Rogers is the Chief Executive Officer for the National Center for Health Care Informatics (NCHCI) and The Praxis Center for Innovative Learning located in Butte, Montana. Ray serves as the CEO for the NCHCI, a non-profit corporation dedicated to improving the management of health care data, information, and knowledge. His company is leading an effort to develop the Praxis Center for Innovative Learning - a $35 million, 70,000+ square foot rural healthcare simulation training center. This will be the nation's first independent, non-profit, non-affiliated medical simulation training center dedicated specifically to the needs of rural healthcare practitioners.

“Mastery is achieved through practice.”

Ray has extensive experience developing simulation training for the USAF Special Operations Forces (Pararescuemen). He has hosted regional conferences and has spoken to audiences nationally on the topics of electronic medical records, personal health records, and health information exchange. He has also worked with Hewlett Packard and CrossFlo System on a syndromic surveillance Health Information Exchange (HIE) demonstration project, and served as a lead planner for the past three Montana Economic Development Summits hosted by Senator Max Baucus. 

Ray has over 15 years’ experience in higher education administration, fundraising, marketing, and business development, 13 years’ experience working in the field of health care informatics, and 5 years as a marketing engineer for a full-service environmental consulting company.

In 2001, Ray led an effort on behalf of the Montana University System to create the nation’s first undergraduate degree in Health Care Informatics.

He is a part-time faculty member at Montana Tech.

Ray holds an undergraduate degree in Engineering and a MS degree in Technical Communications.

Ray has three grown children and enjoys skiing, running, hiking and fly-fishing.

You can reach Ray by email at

Sep 24, 2018

David Clayton is the Youth Outreach Coordinator for Families Against Narcotics. David is a person in long term recovery from drugs and alcohol. In his role as Youth Outreach Coordinator, he has had the opportunity to spread awareness on addiction prevention and recovery across the state of Michigan to drug courts, hospitals, local news and high schools all the way to the collegiate university level.

“Drug addiction and alcoholism does not discriminate, it can happen to anybody at any time, no matter your age, your race, your socio- and economic statuses, how you were raised, how you weren’t raised. It does not discriminate.”

David also assists in running Dillon Recovery Homes, a successful sober and structured living environment.

David also sits on the board of directors for MyCare Health Center and has been involved with getting their Medication Assisted Treatment program up and running to give people a chance at recovery.

Sep 18, 2018

Danielle Culberson is a Health Information Technology Specialist with the Michigan Public Health Institute.  In this role, Danielle assists providers around Michigan with electronic health record adoption.

“Rural health is one of the most important fields within healthcare, but also one of the most overlooked.” 

A Michigan native, she received her graduate degree in Health Informatics from the University of Michigan in 2017 and is passionate about all things health IT, especially when it comes to data.

Prior to her career at MPHI, she worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan as a Customer Service Representative for state of Michigan employees.

During her free time, she enjoys being a foodie, traveling to new locales, and lots and lots of reading.

During our interview, Danielle mentions a couple of websites.

For providers in Michigan, you can go to  When you get to the home page, scroll down to the very bottom and you will the a “contact us” form.  Fill that out and submit, and someone will get back to you within 24 to 48 hours.

For providers outside of Michigan, use this website:

Sep 11, 2018

Brock Slabach is leading the national discussion on quality improvement and alternative payment models in rural health. Brock was recognized for his work in rural health when the National Rural Health Resource Center presented him with the Calico Leadership award last year.

“Workforce, vulnerable populations and chronic poverty; we are focusing on all of these topics at the NRHA Rural Health Clinic & Critical Access Hospital Conference later this month.”

Brock currently serves as the Senior Vice-President of Member Services at the National Rural Health Association, a membership organization with over 21,000 members nationwide. With over 28 years of experience in the administration of rural hospitals, Brock is definitely an expert and experienced rural health leader. From 1987 through 2007, he was the administrator of the Field Memorial Community Hospital in Centreville, MS. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma Baptist University and his Master of Public Health in Health Administration from the University of Oklahoma.

For more information on the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Clinic and Critical Access Hospital Conference in Kansas City, September 25-28, 2018. click on this link:

Sep 4, 2018

Robert Thorn is the Principal at Summit Healthcare Strategies, where he assists hospitals and healthcare organizations in the identification of and response to market needs.

“How do they see us? Are we serving their needs? Are we doing everything we can to optimize the care in the community?”

Bob’s experience in telehealth includes serving as Executive Director of TRU PACE, a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, where during his tenure the organization was awarded a $100,000 telehealth grant to introduce remote monitoring technology to help people safely "age in place." He has also served as the lead developer and Executive Director of the "Quitline" Tobacco Cessation Programs for the States of Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Ohio; Chairman of the High Plains Rural Health Network; and Administrator of Ambulatory Services and Regional Rural Outreach for Banner Health, where he introduced rural telehealth solutions to bridge distances and to allow for earlier intervention.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a Master's degree in Business Administration from National University, San Diego. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Aug 28, 2018

Michael Fischer, M.D., MPH & TM has worked for the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for over 6 years in the Infectious Disease Control Unit (IDCU) and in October of 2017, he took-on the role of Antibiotic Stewardship Expert for the Health Care Safety Group of the Infectious Disease Control Unit at Tx-DSHS.

“The biggest predictor has been leadership.”

Prior to taking on this role, Michael served Texas as the epidemiologist and subject matter expert for prion disease surveillance. Additionally, Michael has also served as a medical epidemiologist, during outbreaks involving high consequence pathogens (West Africa Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in 2014) or events with elevated public concern (travel-related Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV)), providing consults to physicians, infection control practitioners, and healthcare facilities on appropriateness of testing, test results, prevention and control measures, and mechanisms of disease transmission.

As the Antibiotic Stewardship Expert, Dr. Fischer's primary role is to promote the implementation and enhancement of antibiotic stewardship programs in Texas across all healthcare settings.

Aug 21, 2018

Today we’re having a conversation with Andrea Wendling, M.D., Professor of Family Medicine and Director of Rural Medicine Curriculum at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

“Today’s medical students often say, “I want to care for a community. Teach me how to do that.” I think that’s really exciting.”

Dr. Wendling completed medical school at the University of Michigan and residency training at Michigan State University’s Grand Rapids Family Medicine Residency Program. After residency, she was an Assistant Director for the residency until 2003, when she moved to Northern Michigan to practice rural medicine.

Dr. Wendling is Director of the Rural Community Health Program, a rural training program for MSU-CHM medical students, and the Rural Premedical Internship Program, a pipeline program for undergraduate students interested in rural medicine.

She has received many teaching awards including MSU-CHM’s Arnold P. Gold Humanism Award, Outstanding Community Volunteer Faculty Award, and most recently, the Rural Professional of the Year Award from the Michigan Center for Rural Health.

Dr. Wendling has served on the editorial board for the Family Medicine journal since 2004, including Editor of the Dedicated Issue on Rural Health (2010), and Assistant Editor for the journal since 2013. She is also a founding Associate Editor of Peer-Reviewed Reports in Medical Education and Research (PRIMER). She participates on rural workforce research groups for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and has presented and published in the areas of medical education and the rural health workforce.

Dr. Wendling lives in rural Northern Michigan, with her husband and four wonderful kids. When her family is not having adventures traveling the world they can be found playing bluegrass music, camping, or skiing and snowmobiling around Northern Michigan.

Aug 14, 2018

Today we’re having a conversation with Nicole Thorell, MSN, CEN, Chief Nursing Officer at Lexington Regional Health Center in Lexington, Nebraska. Nicole has been at Lexington Regional for ten years, and has been Chief Nursing Officer for four years. Prior to becoming the CNO, Nicole was a staff nurse and Director of Nursing Quality.

“The secret sauce is really the transition care team.”

Lexington Regional Health Center was able to reduce readmissions by over 80%. Nicole was one of the key players to accomplish this along with Leslie Marsh, CEO, and Dana Steiner the Chief Nursing Officer prior to Nicole being in that position. Nicole was the data collector at the beginning and the first Transitional Care Director really got a great foundation of where hospital needed to go. Current Director of Transitional Care, Brittany Hueftle, is now taking the program beyond what was thought to be possible.

Nicole received her diploma in nursing from Bryan College of Health Sciences, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Masters of Science in Nursing from Kaplan University.

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