Peggy Wheeler is the Vice President of the Rural Healthcare Center at the California Hospital Association. Peggy also serves on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, which is an independent advisory body to the Department of Health and Human Services on issues related to how the department and its programs serve rural communities.
“Rural healthcare is an integral, vital component of all healthcare. You don't have urban healthcare without rural healthcare. It's an integral component of all healthcare in California and in the entire country.”
As Vice President of the Rural Healthcare Center at the California Hospital Association, Peggy develops, advocates and executes public policies, legislation and regulations on behalf of rural hospitals at the state and national levels. Peggy also serves as the Issue Manager for Language Access and Governance Issues, as well as Hospital-Prison issues.
Pat Schou is the Executive Director of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network and the Illinois Rural Community Care Organization. She was recognized for being among the Top 25 Women in Leadership for Peoria, Illinois in 2013, received a Women of Distinction award in Illinois Valley in 2013, and was recognized as the 2014 Illinois Rural Hero by the National Center for Rural Health Professions, University of Illinois School of Medicine, Rockford.
“I think the CEOs that are really excelling has to do with that they have a strong board support, they have good connectivity with their board in their community, and they have good connectivity with their medical staff.”
Pat also serves on the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Rural Congress and Government Affairs Council, and was recently elected as NRHA Secretary. Additionally, she serves on the Accreditation Association for Hospitals/Health Systems Board, was recently Chair of the Technical Advisory Services Committee for National Rural Resource Center, and served as Co-Chair of Illinois’ State Health Improvement Plan Implementation Council from 2010-2015. She has served as Chair of the local health board for over 20 years, and is a Fellow member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Toniann Richard is the CEO of Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri (HCC). HCC is a rural health network dedicated to developing and implementing programs to respond to the health needs of local residents. Toniann also serves as the President of the Missouri Rural Health Association. Among many accomplishments, Toniann has raised more than $12 million in grant funding since 2008, that money going toward providing healthcare access to underserved populations.
“You can drive so much momentum and spirit, and sustainable systems, leadership programs and leadership teams, just by getting out of your office.”
Toriann grew up on a cattle farm in Central Kansas, which is still run by her father and brother to this day. She is an active member of her church, and a strong proponent for women in leadership. Her passion for rural health stems from roots working in the non-profit world and a desire to serve those in need.
Nikki King is an Administrative Fellow at Margaret Mary Health, a critical access hospital in Batesville, Indiana. She was raised in the coalfields of Central Appalachia, and graduated with a degree in Economics from the University of Kentucky. Nikki has combined her life experiences with formal training to help communicate the challenges facing rural America on both the regional and national stages. Recently, she has done quite a bit of research into the opiate epidemic.
“A lot of the doctors were operating under the information that it was not addictive, or at least not very addictive, so they were giving it out hand over fist, because this was the miracle pain relief, and they got a bunch of people addicted.”
Nikki recently completed her formal studies in the Masters of Health Services Administration program at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before entering the healthcare industry, Nikki worked for the Center of Business and Economic Research, studying economic development in Southeastern Kentucky.