Bill Jolley is Vice President for Rural Health Issues for the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA). In this role, Bill is responsible for the development and implementation of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program and for expanding services, such as technical assistance and training, to rural hospitals.
He has won several awards, including the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Quality Award in 2007, the Rural Health Association of Tennessee’s Special Exemplary Project Award in 2006 and the Presidential Award in 2014-16. He was also presented with the Carl E. Carpenter Award by the Tennessee Primary Care Association.
“I think our rural hospitals are the cornerstones of their communities. They're such an integral part of our state's healthcare system and our healthcare system nationally.”
Bill also serves as the Executive Director of the Tennessee Rural Partnership (TRP), a subsidiary or THA. TRP’s mission is to maximize access to primary healthcare in rural and underserved areas of Tennessee through the recruitment of primary care providers and other support services.
John Barnas serves as the Executive Director of the Michigan Center for Rural Health (MCRH), a non-profit organization affiliated with Michigan State University. He has held this role since February of 2000. He also serves on the National Rural Health Association Government Affairs Committee and Medicaid Task Force.
In his current role as Executive Director of MCRH, John is responsible for the coordination of the State Office of Rural Health Program, the Flex and SHIP programs, policy, recruitment and retention services, distance education and other rural primary care and value-based programs.
“On a national level, I think with the guidance and support of NRHA, AHA, and NOSORH, we have a real good shot at continuing to be a part of the reform initiatives, improving our healthcare, succeeding in reducing costs and improving the quality of outcomes.”
Prior to working at MCRH, John was Director of Program Development at a Federally Qualified Health Center in Battle Creek, Michigan. He is also a past-president of the Technical Assistance Service Center (TASC) Advisory Council and National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), and is currently a NOSORH board member.
Chris Clayton appeared as a guest on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd after the last presidential election to help explain how Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America. Rural America made the difference. Chris is the Policy Editor and Interim Markets Editor for DTN/The Progressive Farmer, where he has worked since 2005. He has been recognized as writer of the year and won story of the year multiple times by American Agricultural Editors’ Association. He also won the Glenn Cunningham Agricultural Journalist of the Year Award from the North American Agricultural Journalists and served as the group’s president in 2012-13. Both The National Farmers Union and American Coalition for Ethanol have named Chris as communicator of the year.
If you close a hospital in a small town somewhere, it has a big drag on economic development, property values, things of that nature, that you're maybe not thinking about. And then just simple fact, that any kind of emergency now becomes even worse when you've got to drive longer to get some help.
In 2015, Chris self-published an e-book on Amazon entitled The Elephant in the Cornfield, the politics of agriculture and climate change, which details the debate in rural America around renewable energy, climate volatility, greenhouse gas emissions and cap-and-trade.
Joy Williams has spent the last six years working with a faith-based organization that helps improve health capacity in rural areas. Now she is writing a book about faith and patient advocacy while completing her Master’s of Divinity at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem. She has hands on experience educating rural populations on healthier living by teaching them how to grow their own food and other ways to make healthy food choices.
“I think, again, rural health is something that is a growing trend these days within public health because there's such a great need, but I know that I am invested in rural health because of what it reminds me of my childhood and of my family.”
Joy currently holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her passion for supporting people in rural areas stems from her childhood, where she grew up in farmland and helped her dad grow vegetables in their garden as a child.