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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 www.rhlradio.com or e-mail bill@billauxier.com.
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Sep 21, 2021

Would you like to become a more effective leader if it only took you 5 minutes a day? If that sounds like a winning idea to you, you need to listen to our conversation with Jo Anne Preston, author of Lead the Way in 5 Minutes a Day: Sparking High Performance in Yourself and Your Team.

“Healthcare workers have really been gutted because there has been so much stress, so much pressure.”

~Jo Anne Preston

Jo Anne Preston is the Workforce and Organizational Development Sr. Mgr. at the Rural WI Health Cooperative, where she brings over four decades of her healthcare leadership experience to designing and delivering leadership and employee education for rural healthcare throughout WI and the U.S. She has an M.S. in Educational Psychology/Community Counseling from Eastern Illinois University and is the author of Lead the Way in Five Minutes a Day: Sparking High Performance in Yourself and Your Team. She also writes a monthly leadership blog. Click here to order your copy of Lead the Way in Five Minutes a Day: Sparking High Performance in Yourself and Your Team.

Sep 14, 2021

Humble people doing great things is always inspirational. Prepare yourself to be inspired today by listening to our conversation with Walter Panzirer, Trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Having lived and worked in rural America, Walter immediately knew where he could make a difference and improve lives when he found out he had been named as a Trustee.

“We were given a blank slate to see how we can improve lives around the world.”

~Walter Panzirer

Walter Panzirer, is a grandson of Leona Helmsley. Raised in California, he adopted South Dakota as his home. Having worked as a first responder in both states, Walter witnessed personally the significant disparities in quality health care available close to home – disparities that demanded attention. Serving as a paramedic, firefighter, and police officer also made him acutely aware of the range of situations encountered by these professionals – from cardiac and stroke events, to individuals facing a mental health crisis.

Upon the death of his grandmother, Walter was to his great surprise named a Trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. He realized the opportunity for investing in better healthcare for Americans in rural communities as well as for supporting communities across rural Africa to build resilience. A passionate advocate for telehealth, Walter is committed to shortening the distance between a medical emergency and life-saving treatment, including outfitting first responders with modern equipment for managing emergencies. His curiosity, coupled with a get-it-done acumen, means that he’s always looking for healthcare leapfrog opportunities that can be readily implemented.

Walter studied business and history at Black Hills State University, and pursued pastoral studies at MidAmerica Nazarene University. An inductee to American Telehealth Association’s College of Fellows as well the South Dakota Hall of Fame, Walter has served on a number of nonprofit and educational boards. He, his wife, and their family own and operate a hunting lodge in rural South Dakota.

Sep 7, 2021

This week we’re talking about the quality of care in rural America, antibiotic stewardship, taking care of cancer patients and rural hospital turnarounds. We’re having that conversation with Bob Milvet, CEO of Grant Memorial Hospital in Petersburg, West Virginia.

“What started out as a difficult conversation turned into a very meaningful discussion and dialog.”

~Bob Milvet

Bob Milvet is the Chief Executive Officer at Grant Memorial Hospital in Petersburg, West Virginia. He has served in multiple, progressive leadership capacities since 1999 in the areas of Academic Medicine, Community Acute Care Hospitals, Physician Group Practices and Critical Access Hospitals. He is most passionate about rural medicine, and has led financial turnarounds, a new hospital construction project and merger transactions. In his new role as CEO, he is leading the development of a Cancer Center and multiple other renovation projects to greatly improve access to care in his 5-county service area.

Aug 31, 2021

Once again I ask, where will our future rural health leaders come from? And once again we have found one future rural health leader, this time in the state of New York. Her name is Emma Dening, and Emma is this year’s recipient of the Rural Health Leadership Radio Juanita Bartholomew Scholarship. The Juanita Bartholomew Scholarship was established to assist high school graduates who want to continue their education in a healthcare field with the goal of working in Rural America.

“Leadership is having the courage to speak against the most common opinion.”

~Emma Dening

Growing up in a county with more cows than people, Emma saw the epidemic facing rural youth, especially the population of young girls. Not COVID, rather losing confidence in themselves because of the expectations of their surroundings, many youth in her area surrendered their potential to the opinions of those around them.

Throughout high school, Emma captained her Varsity Basketball and Softball teams, lead her Cleats for Athletes program that provided in-need student-athletes with free sports equipment, co-coached several youth girls basketball teams, began a tutoring program and started a program connecting young athletes to their varsity teams, in hopes of inspiring the youth to take control of their own futures and be their own greatest activists.

This fall, she will be entering Le Moyne College’s 5-year Physician Assistant program, granting her a Master’s in Biology and her PA license. Initially, Emma committed to St. Lawrence University to further her basketball career with the intent of entering medical school before deciding a career as a PA better suited her desired lifestyle.

Aug 23, 2021

Where will our future rural health leaders come from? We have found one future rural health leader in Louisiana and we’re having a conversation with her. Her name is Ellyn Kate Boothe, and Ellyn Kate is the recipient of the Rural Health Leadership Radio Earl Bartholomew Scholarship. The Earl Bartholomew Scholarship was established to assist high school graduates who want to continue their education in a healthcare field with the goal of working in Rural America.

“My definition of leadership would be to carry yourself with grace and determination.”

~Elynn Kate Boothe

Elynn Kate Boothe is a recent graduate of Minden High School in Minden, Louisiana. She is an active member of her youth group at First Baptist Minden where she loves to fellowship and serve others in her community. In her free time, you can find her with a book, hanging out with family and friends, and online shopping. She is excited to be starting a new chapter in her life by attending Northwestern State University in the fall to pursue a degree in nursing.

Aug 17, 2021

How do you create a healthier rural community? Collaboration is certainly a key ingredient to making that happen, but how do you go about that? Dr. Sameer Vohra and his team of collaborators are trying to make a difference in rural Southern Illinois with the ‘Building a Healthier Rural Illinois’ initiative.

“People in rural areas were more likely before the pandemic to die from the five leading causes of death in America.”

~Dr. Sameer Vohra

Dr. Vohra was born and raised in Chicago and received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northwestern University. He then went on to receive a dual degree from Southern Illinois University’s Medicine and Law Dual Degree Program, as well as traveling to India on a United States Department of State Fulbright Scholarship.

He has a passion for improving people’s health as well as the one-on-one connection that comes with being a physician, fueled by his desire to understand how he could work to improve society’s health. Dr. Vohra would go on to attend the University of Chicago where he was the first to follow the pediatric public policy track, where he trained as a general pediatrician and received advanced public policy training.

Dr. Sameer Vohra settled back into Southern Illinois University and began his journey into population health and science, taking steps to make a concrete difference in the communities he served. He was able to lead the creation of the Office of Population Science and Policy to determine if there would be support, funding, and interest in the community to launch the office as an academic department. The Department of Population Science and Policy was officially launched in July 2018, and is only one of 25 such departments in the country.

Aug 10, 2021

Oftentimes we feel like we cannot make a difference. We say to ourselves, “I’m only one voice. How can I make a difference? I work at a little hospital in the middle of nowhere, who’s going to listen to me” I’ve heard numerous rural health leaders say that or something similar. Yet I know firsthand that one voice can make a big difference.

“Small things make a big difference.”

~Bill Auxier

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, explains how trends in behavior, marketing, or business have a ‘magic moment’ when they rapidly spread like an epidemic. He calls this moment the ‘tipping point.’ I thought it was appropriate to revisit this book with its epidemic analogy and the idea that little things can make a big impact.

Rural Health Leadership Radio was created to share rural health leadership best practices at no cost. Each week, we have a different rural health leader as a guest sharing what works, what they have tried that didn’t work, and the unique approaches they are implementing.

Thank you for listening!

Aug 3, 2021

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we are having a conversation with Dr. Hannah Wenger, a clinical care specialist on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, and faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital. Hannah is a physician who is passionate about providing culturally relevant care to the residents of the community she serves.

“What does allopathic medicine have to do with a traditional ceremony like a sweat lodge? I would argue it has a lot to do with it”

~ Hannah Wenger M.D.

Hannah Wenger, MD, is a general internist and faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) having just completed MGH’s Fellowship Program in Rural Health Leadership.  She obtained her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Notre Dame and her medical degree at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.  She then completed an internal medicine residency and a clinical medical ethics fellowship at the University of Chicago.  As a rural health fellow at MGH, Dr. Wenger currently provides clinical care to the Sicangu Lakota Oyate on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  Her interests include Two Spirit and LGBTQ health, hepatitis C, and clinical ethics.

Jul 27, 2021

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re talking about movement as medicine. We’re having that conversation with Dr. Anthony Fleg, Director of Running Medicine.

“Movement is something we as leaders, as health professionals, need to remember is one of our simplest outlets that life gives us.”

~Anthony Fleg

Dr. Fleg is a family physician who thinks of his work of healing as “occasionally done with a stethoscope, more often done in communities…done with youth and elders, done through art, language, culture, and love, and through listening more than through talking.” Through NHI, Dr. Fleg created the Running Medicine (www.runningmedicine.org) program in 2016, a unique approach to mind, body, and spiritual wellness through walking and running. 

“Leadership is more about empowering people around you to see the best in themselves and to see their own ability to lead, to heal, and do for themselves.”

~Anthony Fleg

Dr. Fleg is also a co-founder of the Native Health Initiative (www.lovingservice.us), a partnership to address health inequities through loving service.  He is also a faculty member at the University of New Mexico in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and in the College of Population Health. Dr. Fleg considers himself a love activist, grounded in a deep belief that love can serve as a vehicle toward equity, justice and social transformation. For more information about Dr. Fleg’s work, see the links below!

Jul 20, 2021

This week’s guest is Christian Curtis with the Fort Peck Tribes Health Promotion Disease Prevention program (HPDP). Christian is a registered nurse who started working with the Tribes in August 2015. Her plan to continue to work for this program to assist in providing medical services to children on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

“Anytime you work with a cultural group or a native population, it’s important to know their history and what they’ve gone through as a people.”

Christian grew up on the Fort Peck Reservation and is an enrolled member of the Tribe. She graduated from one of the High Schools on the reservation in 2011 and continued her education at the Fort Peck Community College. While a student there, she was given several opportunities to pursue a nursing career. In August 2012, she continued her undergraduate studies at Crown College in St. Bonifacius, MN, where she graduated in May 2015, with dual degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Christian Studies.

Christian chose to work for the HPDP program because of the unique opportunities to expand in providing services on the reservation. She loves the work and hopes to continue on this path in providing and enhancing healthcare for her community.

Jul 13, 2021

First, it was hurricane Elsa. Then it was tropical storm Elsa. Then it became hurricane Elsa once again, and the Rural Health Leadership Radio studio was right in the projected path. Then once again it became tropical storm Elsa. As you might imagine, it was a bit of a roller coaster ride, trying to figure out how to prepare for the situation you might face. Does this type of scenario sound familiar? That’s why we’re talking about leadership resilience today.

“The way you deal with difficult time is so important to leadership.”

~Bill Auxier

Here is a link to the article referenced in this conversation: https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience

Rural Health Leadership Radio was created to share rural health leadership best practices at no cost. Each week we have a different rural health leader as a guest sharing what they are doing that works, what they have tried that didn’t work and unique approaches they are implementing.

Thank you for listening!

Jul 6, 2021

Rural Health Leadership Radio has been ‘on the air’ for five years! Starting with 24 downloads of the first episode, we are fast approaching 100,000. Over these last five years, rural health leaders from around the country have shared what is working, what is not working, definitions of leadership, and other best practices in rural healthcare leadership.

“I can’t believe we’ve been on the air for 5 years!”

~Bill Auxier

Bill Auxier, Ph.D. helps successful rural health leaders achieve lasting positive behavioral change. He accomplishes that through rural health leadership development that includes consulting, coaching, training and research. He is experienced working with rural health leaders across the country to improve their organizations through more effective leadership, cultural transformation and strategic plan development.

Bill is the Program Director of the NRHA Rural Hospital CEO Certification Program, President and CEO of the Dynamic Leadership Academy™, and Executive Director of Rural Health Leadership Radio™, a 501(c)3 non-profit established to serve healthcare leaders serving the underserved in rural America. He is the creator and host of the Rural Health Leadership Radio podcast, a contributing author to the Wall Street Journal Best-seller Masters of Success, author of the award-winning best-seller To Lead, Follow, author/editor of What Rural Health Leaders are Saying, and 35-year veteran of the healthcare industry.

Dr. Auxier is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Master’s in Business Administration and Master’s in Cybersecurity at the University of Maryland Global Campus teaching Communication, Decision Making and Leadership.

Bill started his career in healthcare as a nurse’s aide at Hamilton Memorial Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital, in his boyhood hometown, McLeansboro, Illinois. From there, he worked his way up to become the CEO of a surgical device manufacturer with global distribution.

He is an Affiliate Member of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School and recipient of the 2019 National Rural Health Association President’s Award.

Jun 29, 2021

Electronic Health Records (EHR) were implemented for several reasons, one of them being the reduction of healthcare costs. Have EHRs reduced costs? Have EHRs reduced costs in rural hospitals? If you would like to know the answer to those questions and more, listen to our conversation with Claudia Rhoades, a 3rd Year Doctoral Student and Dr. Brian Whitacre, Professor and Extension Economist in Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University.

“I was surprised to find such a different appreciation between EHR in hospital costs for urban and rural hospitals.”

~ Claudia Rhoades

Claudia Rhoades is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. Claudia has a B.A. in International Relations from Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico and an M.S. in International Studies from Oklahoma State University. Claudia’s main area of interest is economic and rural development. She is passionate about education, and poverty alleviation.

Brian Whitacre is a Professor and Jean & Patsy Neustadt Chair in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. Brian’s main area of interest is rural economic development, with a focus on the role that technology can play. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, with most exploring the relationship between Internet access and rural development. He has developed innovative outreach programs that help small towns benefit from the Internet. Brian has won regional and national awards for his research, teaching, and extension programs.

Jun 22, 2021

The new administration created the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force and handpicked Dr. Tim Putnam to be a part of that team. Why? Because he has an incredible amount of experience as a healthcare leader, particularly rural health! Tim is not only the CEO of Margaret Mary Health, a Critical Access Hospital in Indiana, he is also Past-President of the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), an American College of Healthcare Executive Fellow, and involved in many other healthcare organizations and initiatives. One of those initiatives is the creation of the NRHA Rural Hospital CEO Certification Program.

“There’s a lot of things you don’t learn in your master’s program or an academic medical center on how to make it work in a rural community.”

~Tim Putnam

Tim Putnam is President and CEO of Margaret Mary Health in Batesville, Indiana, and has over 30 years of healthcare experience. He received his Doctorate in Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina where his dissertation was focused on acute stroke care in rural hospitals. In 2015, Dr. Putnam was certified as an Emergency Medical Technician and serves on the Batesville Fire and EMS Lifesquad.

Jun 15, 2021

Rural hospitals have many challenges, and the Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH) was created to help overcome those challenges. Housed within the Rural & Community Health Institute at Texas A&M University, CORH works with the rural facilities, their providers and their communities to improve the quality of care, maintain access to care and address the challenges unique to small hospitals and the towns they serve. We’re having this conversation with Bree Watzak, a true rural health leader who wears many hats. Bree is the Director of Rural Access Programs, Director of Technical Assistance (CORH), and Patient Safety Organization (PSO #79) Pharmacist.

“The themes we are seeing in the Bright Spots are leadership, culture and upstream thinking.”

~Bree Watzak

Bree Watzak has been a pharmacist since 2008, she joined the Texas A&M Health Science Center in 2011. She is a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist and a TeamSTEPPS master trainer. Bree received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Houston and completed residency training at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Bree is the pharmacist on the PSO #79 team, listed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). 

As Director of Technical Assistance for the Center for Optimizing Rural Health, Bree spends her time working with rural communities to improve the quality of care, maintain access to care, and address the challenges unique to rural hospitals and the communities they serve.  Bree was a 2020 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association and currently serves as a Research and Education Constituency Group Representative on the Rural Health Congress.

You can learn more about CORH by clicking here.

Jun 8, 2021

After serving rural hospitals and clinics in rural Illinois for years, Pat Schou became the President of the National Rural Health Association right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. All those plans for conferences and presentations changed dramatically while the needs for rural health providers dramatically changed too. In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, Pat provides her perspective on the current state of affairs in rural healthcare.

“We are really better together!”

~Pat Schou

Pat Schou is the Executive Director of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), the first state-wide critical access hospital network established in 2003. ICAHN is comprised of 57 CAH and rural hospitals, which is providing a number of hospital support services and educational programs, as well as managing the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant, Small Hospital Improvement Program, and several other grant programs on behalf of the IL Department of Public Health and other organizations.

In addition, Pat is the Executive Director of the IL Rural Community Care Organization (IRCCO), a statewide rural accountable care organization comprising 25 critical access and rural hospitals. Pat has more than 35 years of clinical and rural hospital administrative experience and past president of the National Rural Health Association. Pat serves on the Board for the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, National Rural Resource Center Board, and Partners for Connected IL Board. She is also a fellow member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a national speaker and facilitator.

You can learn more about ICAHN by clicking here.

May 31, 2021

What would you do if the first thing your Board of Trustees asked you to do as the new CEO was to close the hospital? This CEO said no! Listen to her story, Robin Rau’s story, CEO of the Hospital Authority of Miller County in Colquitt, Georgia.

“The first thing my Board asked me to do when I came here was to close the hospital. I said no!”

~Robin Rau, CEO

Before joining the Hospital Authority of Miller County as the CEO in 2008, the organization had years of multi-million-dollar losses and had less than $100,000 in the bank and negative net worth. Annual revenues in 2008 were $17 m with roughly 150 employees. At that time, the organization consisted of a 25-bed CAH, Rural Health Clinic, and 97 bed SNF. The hospital had an average daily census of 5 patients, and the nursing home had an Average census of 62.

Today, the organization consists of 2 Rural Health Clinics, one Mobile RHC, 2 Skilled Nursing Facilities with 217 beds, 25-bed CAH, management of two other CAH facilities, a 5 county Home Health agency, Home Infusion Center, an ACO, and free-standing Pharmacy. Annual Revenues are now $84m, with 700 employees and an annual payroll of $40.5m. During the past 12 years, Miller County has not raised its Charge Master fees but selectively lowered them.

May 25, 2021

What would you do if you became the CEO of a Critical Access Hospital for the very first time in your career, and immediately had to deal with a global pandemic? All this after several years of blood, sweat and tears, turning around that same hospital from difficult times as the CFO/COO along with the entire leadership team. Hear one rural health leaders’ story who has weathered this and more along with his leadership team by listening to our conversation with Hunter Nostrant, CEO of Helen Newberry Joy Hospital.

“It was the start of breaking down any barriers and silos in communication and really having more open dialogue to truly get down to the root of issues”

~Hunter Nostrant

Hunter Nostrant, FACHE, RHCOC, is the Chief Executive Officer of Helen Newberry Joy Hospital & Healthcare Center (HNJH). HNJH is a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital with an attached 39-bed Long Term Care Facility and three Rural Health Clinics, located in the middle of the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Prior to his promotion to CEO, he was the COO/CFO and responsible for a multitude of areas focusing on the ongoing day-to-day internal operations, financial strategies, and a strategic partner to the CEO. He earned his Bachelor Degree in Public Accounting from Hope College in Holland, MI, and a Masters of Healthcare Administration. Hunter is also a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and earned a Rural Hospital CEO Certification through the National Rural Healthcare Association, amongst other credentials.

May 17, 2021

What do rural hospitals and clinics have in common with large academic medical centers? How can they collaborate with each other to their community’s benefit? How can they collaboratively create value? Find out what they’re doing in the state of Oklahoma by listening to our conversation with Greg Martin, Physician Outreach & Business Development Coordinator with OU Health.

“You take great care of my patients, but you probably couldn’t find us on a map.”

~Greg Martin

Greg Martin works as a Physician Outreach and Business Development Coordinator for OU Health, which is the most diverse medical health care system in the state of Oklahoma and recognized by Beckers Hospital Review as one of the top 100 hospitals of 2020.

In his current role, Greg helps community physicians have greater access to specialty care for their patients and collaborates with hospital leaders to maintain a vibrant health care community in their area.

His family ties run deep with healthcare. He and his wife Heather live in Tulsa where she is a private practice OBGYN, his daughter-in-law is a Nurse Practitioner, and his daughter is a Physician’s Assistant.

Greg holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Oklahoma State University and is currently pursuing two Masters Degrees: a Masters of Organizational Leadership from the University of Oklahoma and a Masters in Biblical Studies.

May 11, 2021

Can you believe that the world’s worst outbreak of HIV happened in a rural community in Southern Indiana? In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we continue the conversation with Dr. Will Cooke, who shares his story of being the sole practitioner in this rural community challenged with this incredible healthcare issue.

“We had threats to my life, people threatened to burn down the clinic, there was a lot of pushback”

~Will Cooke

William Cooke, MD, FAAFP, FASAM, AAHIVS, is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine, specializing in family medicine, addiction medicine, and HIV medicine. His work has been covered by CBS, NBC, PBS, the BBC, USA Today, the New York Times, NPR, and others. In 2019, Dr. Cooke was named National Physician of the Year by the American Academy of Family Physicians and joined the ranks of two US surgeons general and a former secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services in receiving the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award. He was also the first physician to be awarded the Pillar of Excellence by Addiction Policy Forum.

Dr. Cooke lives in his hometown of New Albany, Indiana, with his wife, Melissa, and six children.

Learn more at:
www.canaryinthecoalminebook.com

May 4, 2021

What would you do if you were the lone physician living and practicing in a forgotten rural community while facing the world’s worst outbreak of HIV? Would you believe this actually happened in a rural community in Southern Indiana? Hear Dr. Will Cooke’s story about his roller coaster of emotions and challenges that he experienced as he dealt with this hidden epidemic.

“The circumstances into which someone is born and raised has a lot to do with their health outcomes.”

~Will Cooke

William Cooke, MD, FAAFP, FASAM, AAHIVS, is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Medicine and the American Society of Addiction Medicine, specializing in family medicine, addiction medicine, and HIV medicine. His work has been covered by CBS, NBC, PBS, the BBC, USA Today, the New York Times, NPR, and others. In 2019, Dr. Cooke was named National Physician of the Year by the American Academy of Family Physicians and joined the ranks of two US surgeons general and a former secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services in receiving the Ryan White Distinguished Leadership Award. He was also the first physician to be awarded the Pillar of Excellence by Addiction Policy Forum.

Dr. Cooke lives in his hometown of New Albany, Indiana, with his wife, Melissa, and six children.

Learn more at:
www.canaryinthecoalminebook.com

Apr 27, 2021

What are some of the financial challenges rural hospitals face? What are some creative solutions? We’re talking about that and more this week in our conversation with Julie Leonard, CFO of Boundary Community Hospital.

“That program was the greatest program I would say I have been in and would recommend it to anybody.”

~Julie Leonard

Julie Leonard is the CFO of Boundary Community Hospital (BCH) in Bonners Ferry ID.  BCH is a 20-bed critical access hospital with an attached 28-bed long-term care facility.  Julie has earned 2 master’s degrees – 1st in International Business and Finance and the 2nd in Health Care Administration and is a graduate of the first NRHA Rural Hospital CEO Certification program February 2020 cohort.

Julie and her husband are avid hikers and mountain bikers so living in rural Idaho gives us everything we want and need to live life as we love it.  Being able to live and work in rural Idaho is even better!  

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.

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