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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Rural Health Leadership Radio™






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Now displaying: 2019
Jul 9, 2019

We are having a conversation about the importance of innovation and collaboration in rural healthcare with Greg Ruberg, the President and CEO of Lake View Hospital. 

“It’s my passion in healthcare to be working with rural health and helping to advance rural health whenever I can.”

~Greg Ruberg

Greg Ruberg is the President and CEO of Lake View Hospital and is the Vice-President of Saint Luke’s Hospital in Minnesota. He also serves as administrative support to North Shore Health and Board Chair of Wilderness Health to North Shore Health. Greg has had a passion for rural healthcare since high school, where his interest in physical therapy would eventually lead him to his career in rural health. Greg values innovation with his teams and embraces the importance of collaborating within the community. Greg was able to co-locate the local outpatient behavioral health clinic to the Lake View campus, bringing high quality, integrated care to their patients. 

“In rural healthcare, we have to be open to innovation and drive change to bring more value to our patients.”

~Greg Ruberg

Greg has also collaborated with local law enforcement to tackle issues together, such as patients in a mental health crisis. The relationship has carried on for five years, allowing for a team effort to better serve their community. Greg has also brought forth other valuable connections with the local school district to stimulate student interest in the healthcare profession.

Jul 2, 2019

We’re talking about occupational health issues within the agricultural community with Knesha Rose-Davison, the Health Communications Director at AgriSafe. 

“We known farming is a tough occupation but they have some of the hardest working, and most dedicated people…”

~Knesha Rose-Davison

Knesha was born in Arkansas Delta, with many of her family members working in agriculture. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences in 2002, and in 2016, obtained a certificate in Agricultural Medicine, focusing on rural occupational health and environmental health safety. At AgriSafe, they focus on protecting the people that feed the world, and through the Total Farmer Health Program, Knesha and her team is able to look at all of the potential factors that can affect a producer’s health and wellbeing. 

“Everything impacts a farmer or producer’s life and we have to take that into consideration…and try to provide information to help them alleviate some of those concerns…”

~Knesha Rose-Davison

Knesha also serves as the 72nd president of the Louisiana Public Health Association and is a March of Dimes Gretchen C. Carlson Advocacy fellow. She has covered the spectrum on care, ranging from infants to the elderly, and eventually took her position with AgriSafe, bringing her back to her Delta roots. Knesha has over twelve years of public health experience, and is passionate about serving vulnerable populations and increasing health care access and equity. 

Below are the resources mentioned during our conversation:

Jun 25, 2019

We’re talking about empowering rural communities to address impactful health disparities with Dr. Fran Feltner, Director of the University Of Kentucky Center Of Excellence in Rural Health.

“Within these beautiful mountains there’s a lot of poverty and people who need our help and need improved access to care.”

~ Dr. Fran Feltner

Dr. Feltner was born and raised in rural Kentucky, having served rural health care in numerous different ways. She has held positions ranging from office nurse, to delivering babies, to caring for elderly patients, and has enjoyed every moment of being a nurse in rural health care. Dr. Feltner became the Clinical Director of the HRSA program, which would eventually lead to her role as the Director of Lay Health Worker Division, at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Feltner would later become the Director of the Kentucky Homeplace Program, with the main goal of increasing access to care and reducing health disparities in rural Kentucky.

“Take care of yourself first so that you can take care of other people.”

~ Dr. Fran Feltner

Dr. Feltner would then become the CEO or Director of the Center of Excellence in Rural Health. The main goal for Dr. Feltner and her team is to work across rural Kentucky with assisting people in their communities to solve problems. Dr. Feltner researches links between vulnerable communities and their health care system, social determinants of health and their effects on health outcomes, as well as the role and impact of community health workers. She thoroughly enjoys both the research and community engagement that comes with her work, and how she and her team really become a part of the community that they serve.

Jun 11, 2019

We’re talking about obstetric care in rural health with Dr. Valerie Taglione, resident physician at UP Health Systems – Marquette.

“I think it’s important for us physicians to lead patients by teaching them how to improve their health and then make a decision together…”

~Dr. Valerie Taglione

Dr. Taglione grew up in Portland, Michigan where she was inspired by her sister’s trips to medical schools to focus her career in medicine, and eventually began shadowing in rural emergency rooms. She attended Michigan Technological University, where she earned her degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences. Right after college, she went on to attend medical school at Michigan State University, in the College of Human Medicine. Dr. Taglione completed her clinical training in the Marquette, Michigan, receiving education in rural medicine and completing her training in the rural physician’s program.

“…there’s a new spark for passion in rural health that I think is really promising.”

~Dr. Valerie Taglione

Dr. Taglione helped conduct a study on obstetric care in rural health, looking at the access to maternity care in rural Michigan. She looked specifically at prenatal care, labor and delivery services, and specialized obstetric throughout the Upper Peninsula, the Northern Lower Peninsula, and some counties in the Southern Lower Peninsula. The study mapped out counties in these areas and looked to identify gaps of coverage in obstetric care.

Jun 4, 2019

We’re talking about how we can provide support for caregivers with Dr. Carrie Henning Smith, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the Rural Health Research Center at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health.

“…caregiving in a rural context is different than in an urban context.”

~Dr. Carrie Henning Smith

Dr. Smith grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, with deep roots across the Midwest, in Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Farming has been in her family for years, making rural health near to her heart. She embraces the broad lens that public health has on issues, including healthcare, climate change, poverty, as well as demography and context. Dr. Smith has studied long-term care in Rural America, focusing on unpaid caregivers. Unpaid caregivers make up the bulk of the long-term care system, and Dr. Smith noticed that there was little research being done on what it is truly like to be an unpaid caregiver in a rural setting.

“I think the more we can elevate the conversation from a personal or family crisis to a larger conversation that we are all a part of, I think the better off we will all be.”

~Dr. Carrie Henning Smith

Dr. Smith delved into the differences between the rural and urban caregiving experience, as well as the unique rural challenges and opportunities for supporting caregivers. She finds that rural caregiving programs, policies, and other programs need to be designed with rural communities in mind, given the differences in rural and urban caregiving. With more constraints than urban areas, rural healthcare faces issues that require more teamwork and more open conversations in order to be conquered.

May 28, 2019

We are having a conversation about improving health outcomes and building community capacity with Dr. Sameer Vohra, Founding Chair of the Department of Population Science and Policy at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

“…we talk about rural but even in our government definition there isn’t a clear designation of what is rural.”

~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. Dr. Vohra 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 also received advanced public policy training.

“We know that in our rural community we have to work together because the cavalry isn’t coming.”

~Dr. Sameer Vohra

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 sixteen such departments in the country.

May 21, 2019

We’re talking about how long a patient has to be in an ambulance after their hospital closes with Dr. Alison Davis, Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky, and SuZanne Troske, Research Associate at Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky.

“…if the hospital hadn’t been there, that patient likely would have died on route. That hospital is now closed.”

~Dr. Alison Davis

In addition to being a Professor, Dr. Davis is also the Executive Director of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK). CEDIK is an integrated engagement/research center housed within the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky. CEDIK’s mission is to build engaged communities and vibrant economies. CEDIK’s four priority areas are economic development, leadership development, community health, and community design. Dr. Davis’ role is to build relationships across campus, Kentucky and the South with the goal of promoting a stronger sense of community and an improved economic base in rural areas. 

“We looked at how long it takes to be transported from the incident, oftentimes your residence, to a hospital – to an emergency room.’

~Su Troske

SuZanne Troske is a Research Associate at CEDIK and works with the Rural and Underserved Health Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Su’s areas of research at CEDIK are rural health policy and rural economic development with a focus on rural hospital closures and ambulance services across the U.S. Before joining CEDIK, Su worked at the College of Pharmacy where she studied drug policy in Kentucky. Her other fields of research include Kentucky K-12 education, unemployment insurance and industrial research and development. She has more than 20 years of experience working with big data and performing research in an academic research environment.

May 14, 2019

We’re talking about Telehealth in Rural America.  We’re having that conversation with Dr. Windy Alonso, Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Nursing, Dr. Elizabeth Crouch, Assistant Professor and Deputy Director of the Rural and Minority Health Research Center at the University of South Carolina, and Nicole Thorell, Chief Nursing Officer at Lexington Regional Health enter.  Wendy, Elizabeth and Nicole were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on  Telehealth in Rural America, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress.

“Leadership involves balance, humility, fortitude and mentoring”  

~Windy Alonso, Ph.D. 

Dr. Windy Alonso is currently a post-doctoral research associate in the College of Nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She received her PhD in Nursing from the Pennsylvania State University College of Nursing, University Park, PA in 2017.  Windy is a first-generation college student who was inspired by her rural upbringing to pursue a career as a nurse scientist. She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Heart Failure Society of America, the Rural Nurse Organization, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society to pursue strategies to improve the lives of individuals with heart failure living in rural areas.  Dr. Alonso has disseminated her work in rural heart failure regionally, nationally, and internationally through numerous presentations and publications. Her commitment to improving rural health led to her recognition as a National Rural Heath Association Rural Health Fellow and a Nebraska Action Coalition 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leader in 2018.

“Telehealth encompasses more than people realize.” 

~Elizabeth Crouch, Ph.D. 

Dr. Elizabeth Crouch is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Services Policy and Management within the Arnold School of Public Health and Deputy Director of the Rural and Minority Health Research Center. Her work focuses on policy-related issues across the age spectrum in vulnerable populations at the beginning of life (children) and the end of life (elderly), with a particular focus in rural-urban disparities. She is highly experienced in claims analysis, particularly Medicaid and Medicare claims. Elizabeth has produced 40 peer-reviewed articles with over half of these articles involving analysis of Medicaid, Medicare, or private health insurance plan claims.

“The barriers are really our target areas for improvement when looking at telehealth.” 

~Nicole Thorell, MSN, CEN 

Nicole Thorell, MSN, CEN, is the Chief Nursing Officer at Lexington Regional Health Center in Lexington, Nebraska. Nicole has been at Lexington Regional for ten years, and has been in this position for four years.  Prior to this, she was a staff nurse and Director of Nursing Quality in the facility.  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.

May 7, 2019

We’re having a conversation about the Medicaid Work Requirement with Portia Brown, Vice President at Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital, Shena Popat, Research Scientist at NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, and Laurel Molly, Chief Nursing Officer at UNC Lenoir Health Care.  Portia, Shena and Laurel were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on the Medicaid Work Requirement, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress. 

 “The national landscape is changing daily on this topic.” 

Portia Brown  

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.  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.  Portia 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.  

“Veterans can be affected by work requirements… and they will face the same work requirement as others.” 

Shena Popat 

Shena Popat is a Research Scientist for the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis at NORC at the University of Chicago. She has experience working specifically on rural and frontier health projects, conducting grant program evaluations and collaborating with colleagues to develop policy recommendations for federal agencies. Previously, Shena worked in administration at a critical access hospital and rural health clinic. Shena has her MHA from the George Washington University. 

“Our great discovery to highlight is that… rural does need to be taken seriously.” 

Laurel Molloy 

Laurel Molloy MSN, RN, CPHQ currently works at UNC Lenoir Health Care in Kinston, NC as the VP of Nursing and Rehab Services. As an RN for about 25 years, Laurel has contributed to nursing in many roles including bedside ICU and Emergency Department nursing, flight nursing, nurse education, organizational quality improvement, and formal executive nursing leadership. Recently, Laurel received a Hall of Honor Induction from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC where she earned her Bachelors in Nursing. She was a 2018 fellow for The National Rural Health Association and worked with a team that explored the impact of Medicaid Work Requirements in the rural setting. Her work passion is about providing excellent patient care, supporting practices that improve care delivery, mentoring new nurses and nursing leadership, and reducing disparity within the rural environment.  She is married to Dennis and they have 4 children; Audrey (25), Elijah (24), Ethan (20), and Claire (18). 

Apr 30, 2019

We’re having a conversation about Medicaid Expansion with Dr. Jeff Bacon, Chief Medical Officer at Banner Health Sterling Regional MedCenter, Miso Lee, Ph.D., a Health Disparities Analyst at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and Carey Rivinius, who holds a degree in Doctor of Nursing Practice and is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Jacobson Memorial Hospital and Elgin Community Clinic.  Jeff, Miso and Carey were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on Medicaid Expansion, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress.

“Rural hospitals and rural clinics are so incredibly important and they serve a great purpose in each community and our nation.”

Jeffery Bacon, D.O., is an experienced Family Physician with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and healthcare industry.  He is skilled in Clinical Research, Medical Education, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Emergency Medicine, and a strong healthcare services professional who graduated from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Wei-Chen “Miso” Lee is a Health Disparities Analyst at The University of Texas Medical Branch. She completed her Ph.D. in Health Services Research (HSR) at Texas A&M Health Science Center. Her research interests lie in the area of rural health, ranging from discovering disparities in health outcomes to promoting workforce development. She is also a state-certified Community Health Worker (CHW) and CHW Instructor. She was honored to be the 2018 National Rural Health Fellow and currently, she serves as editorial board member for the Journal of Rural Health (JRH) as well as the advisory committee member for the Research on Care Community Health Equity Subgroup of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Both doing research and serving in communities allow her to better understand the health issues and make a profound contribution to eliminating health disparities.

Carey Rivinius, DNP, FNP-C, is a healthcare provider in Elgin, ND. She practices acute and emergent care at Jacobson Memorial Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital and Level 5 trauma center. She takes call for the emergency department and hospital. She also provides primary care services at the Rural Health Clinic. Carey is a member of the facility’s trauma and stroke committees. She also serves as the Grant County Coroner. She has worked in rural health her entire career. Carey grew up on a ranch near Carson, ND and has lived in the area most of her life.

Additionally, Carey is adjunct faculty for the University of Mary DNP program. She is a member of the National Health Service Corps and completed a 2-year service commitment from 2009-2011. Carey received her MSN and FNP degree in 2008 from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree in 2016 from Frontier Nursing University of Hyden, Kentucky.

Apr 23, 2019

We’re talking about the 340B Program with Karen White, the CEO of Missouri Highlands Healthcare, Dennis Shelby, the CEO of Wilson Medical Center, and Austin Gillard, CEO of Clay County Medical Center.  Karen, Dennis and Austin were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on rural preparedness, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress. 

 “In our study, it was determined that 55% of rural hospitals would close if it were not for the 340B Program.”  

Dennis Shelby has worked in healthcare for 40 years.  He began his career as a medical social worker and for the last 26 years, has held various hospital CEO positions.  His journey involved stents in top leadership positions in psychiatric, rehabilitation and rural hospitals.  He believes healthcare is a calling and ministry.  He received the 2014 Custom Learning System “Inspiring Administrator” Award and was the 2016 Founders Award recipient for that same organization for over 30 years of committed leadership in the healthcare field.  He is the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Becker’s “50 Rural Hospital CEO’s To Know.”  In 2018 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his leadership in healthcare from Hope International University.  He and his wife of 44 years, Judy, have two amazing daughters and 4 grandchildren. 

“We have to be strong proponents for each other. We cannot be silos.” 

Karen R. White joined Missouri Highlands Health Care, a Federally Qualified Health Center, in March 2009 as the Chief Financial Officer.  Through her drive, integrity and work ethic, she provided financial leadership, growing the organization into a sustainable & viable health care provider while overcoming significant financial challenges. In October 2014, she furthered her passion for community health by stepping into the CEO position for Missouri Highlands.  Since that time, she has led the organization through transformation & growth, embracing the challenges of providing primary care in seven rural counties in the southern Missouri Ozarks region. Ms. White has continually sought unique care delivery options to better serve the rural population and while focusing on breaking down existing silos in providing care across the continuum of care community.   

White, a certified public accountant (CPA), obtained her Bachelors of Applied Science in Administration with concentration in Marketing and Management from Southwest Baptist University in 1994 and her Masters in Accountancy from Missouri State University in 2007. During and after college she worked in healthcare, banking, retail, management and Social Services prior to obtaining her CPA license and working in public accounting.  

Away from work she enjoys time with her 6-year-old daughter, Maive, floating the crystal clear waters of the Current River and roaming the hills of the Ozarks on her Harley-Davidson motorcycle. White’s parents are credited with instilling in her a strong work ethic, drive to succeed and commitment to serving others. “Growing up, my parents served as strong role models of integrity and faith. They never compromised their message of service, hard work and education as the path to success. This coupled with my desire to not have to feed 250 head of cattle for the rest of my life drove me to succeed.” 

“340B is vital for our rural to stay viable…”  

Austin Gillard was raised in Overland Park, Kansas. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and received a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Missouri.  Austin’s background in healthcare started in 2008 as a physician recruiter. In 2011, Austin moved into a management role and was responsible for six hospital emergency departments in Kansas and Missouri. In early 2013, Austin developed a ‘rural track administrative fellowship’ and moved to Pratt, Kansas, to work under the CEO of Pratt Regional Medical Center as an Administrative Fellow. In late 2013, Austin was given to opportunity to become the CEO of Genoa Medical Facilities (GMF), located in Genoa, Nebraska. In 2015, Austin became the CEO of Clay County Medical Center (CCMC), located in Clay Center, Kansas. CCMC is a 25 bed CAH with three RHC’s and 300 employees.  

FREE BOOK if you write a review!  I'd love to hear from you! If you would take the time to write a review, I'd appreciate it so much that I will give you a free book in return

To leave a review, visit RHLR on iTunes, click “Listen in iTunes,” then click “Ratings and Reviews,” then “Write a Review.” 

If you want to write a review from your iPhone, simply open your podcast app, search for Rural Health Leadership Radio, then tap on “Subscribe.”  If you’re already a subscriber, you’ve already done this.  Next, tap on the “Library” icon at the bottom of your screen, select “Rural Health Leadership Radio,” and once that opens, scroll to the bottom where you will see where you can complete a rating and write a review. 

Once you’ve done that, send me an email to, and we’ll coordinate sending you a free copy of What Rural Health Leaders Are Saying

What Rural Health Leaders Are Saying is a summary of the inaugural year of Rural Health Leadership Radio, filled with a collection of ideas and best practices from exceptional rural health leaders for rural health leaders.  And it’s yours for free, just for writing a review on Rural Health Leadership Radio. 

Thank you! 

Apr 16, 2019

We’re having a conversation about rural preparedness with David Barney, Business Development Manager at CHG Healthcare, Dr. Tara Haskins, Associate Professor at Louisiana Tech University, and Dr. Bishow Paudel, Chief Hospitalist at Holy Rosary Hospital.  David, Tara and Bishow were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on rural preparedness, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress.

 “Cyber-security should be part of a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan.” 

David Barney describes himself as a fun, family man who likes to work hard and play hard.  He enjoys exercise, travel and spending time with his family.  With over ten years’ experience in healthcare staffing, he enjoys helping rural hospitals with their patient coverage needs.

“This approach of coming together is very ingrained in life in rural areas.” 

Dr. Tara Haskins is a registered nurse of 32-years and Associate Professor at Louisiana Tech University in North Louisiana in the Division of Nursing.  She has been in nursing education since 2007. Prior to that she worked in nursing in a wide range of areas: neurology, orthopedics, cardiac, surgical ICU, addiction treatment, emergency, recovery, etc.  Fun fact, her graduate education is in mental health and Forensics. She is co-director of the Parkinson Resource Center at Louisiana Tech and proud mother of three.

“The challenge in the rural community is the access and the communication from the incident site…” 

Dr. Bishow Paudel was born and raised in a rural community in Nepal, so he has a lifetime of experience in the warmth and the challenges of living in a rural community first hand. His move to Baltimore, Maryland, for his residency at the University of Maryland was a big cultural change, but not when he moved to Miles City, Montana, as an internist at Holy Rosary Hospital. It didn’t take much time for him to feel like he was part of the community. Dr. Paudel and his wife, Kamala, have been able to enjoy the outdoor activities and even learned a new skill, skiing.  Skiing is now one of their favorite things to do together.

FREE BOOK if you write a review!  I'd love to hear from you! If you would take the time to write a review, I'd appreciate it so much that I will give you a free book in return. 

To leave a review, visit RHLR on iTunes, click “Listen in iTunes,” then click “Ratings and Reviews,” then “Write a Review.”

If you want to write a review from your iPhone, simply open your podcast app, search for Rural Health Leadership Radio, then tap on “Subscribe.”  If you’re already a subscriber, you’ve already done this.  Next, tap on the “Library” icon at the bottom of your screen, select “Rural Health Leadership Radio,” and once that opens, scroll to the bottom where you will see where you can complete a rating and write a review.

Once you’ve done that, send me an email to, and we’ll coordinate sending you a free copy of What Rural Health Leaders Are Saying.

What Rural Health Leaders Are Saying is a summary of the inaugural year of Rural Health Leadership Radio, filled with a collection of ideas and best practices from exceptional rural health leaders for rural health leaders.  And it’s yours for free, just for writing a review on Rural Health Leadership Radio.

Thank you!

Apr 9, 2019

We’re talking about rural Veterans and their families.  We’re having that conversation with Carter Florence, the Director of Strategy and Impact with Meals on Wheels America, and David Albright, the Hill Crest Endowed Chair in Mental Health with the University of Alabama School of Social Work.  Both Carter and David are 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on rural Veteran policy, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress. 

“When we really understand the complexity of the community, we can identify the levers that can be pulled to create opportunities for improving health holistically.” 

Carter is a problem solver and proficient in developing, implementing, and managing strategies and solutions that leverage community assets and readiness for health improvement.  With a strong record of forging and developing relationships with diverse individuals and strategic partners for system-level approaches to public health, Carter accomplishes community engagement by utilizing theory-based and evidence-informed practices while implementing solutions for dynamic population level health problems. She has an outstanding academic, professional, educational, and community-based practice background in the United States, with an emphasis in rural Appalachia. 

“I worry a little bit about rural health and rural veterans being overly politicized…” 

As Director of Strategy and Impact at Meals on Wheels America, Carter provides direction and organizational support for facilitation of strategic plans as well as evaluation of current programs.  She serves as a subject matter expert on in-home safety and fall prevention for older adults, and manages the Helping Homebound Heroes grant project.  Carter also oversees the development of internal data streams. 

David is a military Veteran and former research fellow with both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the RAND Corporation’s Center for Military Health Policy Research. Dr. Albright works to produce research that is useful for communities, Veterans Service Organizations, health care providers, and policymakers as they work to address and improve health and wellness-related determinants and outcomes among military personnel, Veterans, and their families.  

The Governor of Alabama appointed Dr. Albright to both the Alabama Executive Veterans Network, in which he serves as the Education and Research committee chair, and to the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council, in which he serves as the Community Engagement chair. He also leads a state task force to identify and develop recommendations for the Alabama Veteran population on opioid addiction and treatment, both within and outside of the Veterans Health Administration health care system.  

Dr. Albright holds an appointment on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on the Well-Being of Military Families, and currently serves both on the Rural Veterans Task Force and Health Equity Council. He serves as a rural social work consultant to the National Association of Social Workers; serves as the Delegate of the Delegate Assembly for the NASW, Alabama Chapter; and is on the Board of Directors for both the Alabama Rural Health Association and the Alabama Rural Health Coalition for the Homeless. 

Apr 2, 2019

The global budget is underway in Pennsylvania, but there is a lot more than that taking place. In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking about Medicaid expansion, rural hospital budget transformation, medical student community orientation and other topics of interest to rural health leaders.  We are having that conversation with Lisa Davis, Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and Outreach Associate Professor of Health Policy and Administration at Penn State.  


“Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the most rural states in the nation.”


In her role, Lisa is responsible for the overall direction and leadership of the state office of rural health, including ensuring that the office meets its mission of being a source of networking, coordination, and technical assistance to organizations focused on rural health care delivery; developing and sustaining linkages with state and national partners; and seeking ways to expand the office’s role in enhancing the health status of rural Pennsylvanians. 


“Medicaid expansion has been very important here in the state for a number of reasons.”


On the national, state, and university levels, Davis serves on a wide range of boards of directors, advisory committees, and task forces focused on rural health policy, rural health research, economic development, outreach and education, and vulnerable populations and specific health issues such as oral health and cancer.  She has extensive experience in the field of rural health research.


“They learned about what it means to be those individuals, what it means to live there, what the social structure is, what the economy is like in those communities.”


Davis is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, an Outstanding Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association, and an Award for Individual Contributions to Public Health from the Pennsylvania Public Health Association.  The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health received the Award of Merit from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.


She holds a graduate degree in Health Administration from Penn State.

Mar 26, 2019

This is a conversation about public health, HIV, immunization and billing with Phil Talley, Program Coordinator, and Jeffrey Erdman, Assistant Director for Programs and Compliance, both with the Illinois Public Health Association. 

“We know that definitely in rural areas and in particular in the southern part of the United States, HIV cases are more heavily concentrated than we see throughout the rest of the nation.”  

Philip Talley is a licensed insurance professional with more than 25 year of experience in various aspects of health insurance. He joined the Illinois Public Health Association in 2014 to help manage the Immunization Billing Project which has been featured on the CDC’s website as a “Billing Project Success Story”.  Mr. Talley is now focused on the IPHA’s HIV Third-Party Billing Project, assisting local public health departments and community-based organizations with building their capacity to bill third-party payers for HIV testing and other HIV prevention services.  

“Having an efficient successful billing system will also enable providers to expand and diversify their scope of services and be able to provide more valuable services, and reach perhaps communities that they’re not currently serving.” 

Jeffery M. Erdman, a nationally recognized HIV prevention specialist, evaluator, and behavioral researcher, currently serves as the Assistant Director for Programs and Compliance for the Illinois Public Health Association.  Mr. Erdman and colleagues have developed and implemented a nationally honored group HIV prevention intervention for young African-American men who have sex with men, “Very Informed Brothers Engaged for Survival (VIBES),” which has been presented at numerous conferences, including the 2005 United States Conference on AIDS in Philadelphia and the 2007 United States Conference on AIDS in Palm Springs, CA.   

Mr. Erdman and colleagues have also conducted research into the use of new technologies and HIV/STD prevention among adolescents. This work has been presented at numerous conferences, including the 2011 United States Conference on AIDS in Chicago.  Currently, Mr. Erdman and colleagues are engaged in work to implement third-party billing for HIV and immunization services among local health departments and other healthcare providers.   

In addition to these accomplishments, Mr. Erdman has been honored with awards from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the American Association for World Health, and the Society of Professional Journalists, and he has been published in various journals and periodicals for work he completed as a research specialist at IDPH, Northwestern University and the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital. 

To contact Phil or Jeff, please send an email to  You can also check out their website they mentioned: 

Mar 19, 2019

We are talking about staffing a Critical Access Hospital with Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners.  We’re having that conversation with Mark Zellmer, Ph.D., PA.-C, who has been a PA since 1983 graduating from the University Iowa PA Program.

“Having physicians is important and wonderful and necessary in rural communities, but there may need to be more than just physicians.”

Mark became a PA after serving as a volunteer EMT while teaching high school chemistry and biology in a rural Iowa community that previously had no ambulance service.  Mark subsequently becoming a paramedic.

Mark’s PA career has included practice in an Iowa county without a hospital or a stoplight, and in Minnesota in both primary care in Red Wing and later, a tertiary care practice at Mayo Clinic, Rochester.

As a PA educator, Mark was the founding director of rural oriented PA programs at the University of South Dakota and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Health, Epidemiology emphasis.

His current practice is as the lead hospitalist and an emergency room provider at a rural, Critical Access Hospital, Gundersen Tri-County, in Whitehall, WI.

Mar 12, 2019

We are talking about several different aspects of rural healthcare with Farrell Turner, President of the Alabama Rural Health Association.  Farrell had the experience of a lifetime when he attended the State of the Union Address this year while he was in Washington, DC, at the NRHA Policy Institute meeting.   

 “There needs to be a sense of urgency because we can’t just sit back on our thumbs to make incremental changes.” 

 Farrell began his career with St. Luke’s Episcopal and Texas Children’s Hospitals in Houston.  After that, he was CFO at South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel, Mississippi and has served as interim CEO and CFO in a number of small rural hospitals in the South. He most recently served as CEO of Community Hospital Corp’s Jellico Community Hospital in Tennessee and Interim CEO of Medical Center Barbour in Eufaula, Alabama for Alliant Healthcare Management. He is a subject matter expert in Rural Health Clinics, especially provider-based RHCs. 

He was educated in Alabama public schools, received a Bachelor’s degree at University of Alabama College of Commerce and Business Administration in Accounting and Health Care Management, and a Master’s in Finance at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. He is a CPA, a certified coder, and a Fellow with HFMA. He is President of the Alabama Rural Health Association and has been chapter President of the Anniston- Gadsden and Oxford Chapters of the American Academy of Professional Coders. 

He enjoys hunting and has taken up running. He completed his first half-marathon on his 60th birthday and did it again on his next birthday. He lives in rural Cleburne County with his wife Beverly. 

During our conversation, Farrell talks about an excellent tool for rural health leaders, the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.  Hopefully you will find this a useful tool as well. 

Mar 5, 2019

We are talking about the relationship of healthcare and agriculture with a special focus on mental health with today’s guest, Charlotte Halverson. Charlotte serves as the Clinical Director for AgriSafe.  

“Suicide is about the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and that’s just tragic.” 

Prior to this role, she worked for several years in hospital acute care settings and community education.  During those years, Charlotte developed and managed a Rural Outreach Health service and a Parish Health Ministry department serving nine counties in northeast Iowa.   

“Our rural counties consistently appear to have higher suicide rates than metropolitan areas.” 

A charter graduate of the University of Iowa agricultural occupational medicine course, she served as the agricultural occupational health services manager for the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety. Her primary role with AgriSafe involves development and dissemination of educational programs for health care professionals, agricultural businesses, and educators. 

Feb 26, 2019

Mike Shimmens has over 20 years of experience in the recruitment of health care professionals through various organizations and roles.  He has served as the Executive Director of 3RNet (National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network) since 2012.  In this role he works with a nine-member Board of Directors and a staff of three to assist 54 non-profit and governmental member organizations in the recruitment and retention of quality health care professionals in rural and underserved areas of our country.   

“3RNet is a shortened title because our full name is National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network and rural is obviously right there on the title.” 

3RNet has over 20 years of experience in providing a quality, interactive job board and educational services to safety net facilities.   

Prior to coming to this position, he worked for 6 years at the Missouri Primary Care Association as Director of Recruitment and Workforce Development.  There he assisted 21 Community Health Centers and other Missouri hospitals and clinics in their health professional recruitment efforts through the Missouri Health Professional Placement Service. He also served as the Organizational Member of 3RNet for Missouri and was on its Board of Directors for 2 years before taking the role of Executive Director. 

Mike’s first recruitment position in health care was as Director of Medical Staff Development at St. Mary's Health Center in Jefferson City, MO. He served in this role for 9 years and recruited for all physician specialties and advanced practice nurses at this 167-bed hospital and affiliated clinics.  Additionally, he helped create medical staff plans for the organization and served as a liaison to a large, multispecialty clinic in the community.  He has maintained membership in ASPR (Association of Staff Physician Recruiters) continuously since 1997. 

Feb 19, 2019

Barry Mathis is Principal – IT and Advisory Services at PYA.  Barry has nearly three decades of experience in the information technology (IT) and healthcare industries as a CIO, CTO, senior IT audit manager, and IT risk management consultant.  He has performed and managed complicated HIPAA security reviews and audits for some of the most sophisticated hospital systems in the country.   

“The resources in a rural health situation are obviously at times challenged so your solutions have to be sharp.” 

Barry is a visionary, creative, results-oriented senior-level healthcare executive with demonstrated experience in planning, developing, and implementing complex information-technology solutions to address business opportunities, while reducing IT risk and exposure.  He is adept at project and crisis management, troubleshooting, problem solving, and negotiating.   

Barry has strong technical capabilities combined with outstanding presentation skills and professional pride.  He is a prudent risk taker with proficiency in IT risk management, physician relations, strategic development, and employee team building. 

Barry is a member of United States Marine Corps, Health Care Compliance Association, Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors, Healthcare Information Management Systems Society and Information Systems Audit and Control Association. He was an Honor Graduate in Systems Programming from the United States Marine Corps Computer Sciences School (MCCDC) in Quantico, VA. He is a Certified COBOL Programmer, a Certified Database Management Specialist, and a Certified Cyber Security Framework Practitioner. 

Barry L. Mathis 
Principal – Information Technology & Advisory Services 
(800) 270-9629   | 

Feb 12, 2019

Dan Neenan, MBA, joined the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) staff in August of 2002 as Director. Dan is a Paramedic Specialist, Firefighter II and EMS instructor. He currently chairs the Iowa Community College Fire Coordinators and is a member of the Iowa Propane board, Vice Chair of the Dubuque County Emergency Management Commission, and Treasurer of the Dubuque County EMS. 

“Agriculture is the most dangerous industry in the United States.” 

In his work at NECAS Dan has developed several OSHA approved training programs as well as Agricultural rescue programs. Safety programs include viticulture safety, enology safety, confined space-grain bin entry, Prevention of grain storage fire and explosions, chemical safety, confined space-manure pit entry. Rescue programs include tractor rollover, combine auger rescue, grain bin rescue, manure pit rescue, anhydrous ammonia emergency response. 

The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) is a partnership in safety and health between the National Safety Council and Northeast Iowa Community College formed in 1997. Located on 12 acres in Peosta Iowa, NECAS provides safety training for Farmers, ranchers, agribusiness personnel and well as Ag rescue programs for Fire, EMS, and Law enforcement personnel. 

To learn more about Grain Bin Safety Week click HERE. 

Feb 5, 2019

In this episode on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking with Nick Brady, HIV Care Connect Associate and Trauma-Free Illinois Coordinator, along with Michael Maginn, HIV Program Manager and Prevention Lead Agent, both who are with the Illinois Public Health Association. 

“Collaboration is the key to being successful.” 

Michael Maginn began working in the HIV field in 2004 as the Executive Director for a community-based organization providing supportive services to people living with HIV. Ten years after he began working at FRIENDS, where he transitioned to a position with the Illinois Public health Association (IPHA), the oldest and largest public health association in the state, as their HIV Program Manager, Coordinator of the Illinois HIV Care Connect initiative and Illinois Prevention Lead Agent for Regions 1, 3, and 5. There are 98 affiliate organizations of IPHA, including local health departments, colleges and universities, and various public health organizations.  

Michael’s role as Prevention Lead Agent also brings him into contact with multiple public health programs that he oversees, including 1) HIV targeted testing, 2) CDC behavioral interventions, 3) targeted gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and hepatitis C testing, 4) hepatitis A and B vaccinations, 5) surveillance-based services, and 6) routine testing data collection.  

At the same time, he has also worn different hats in the HIV/AIDS community. He has been a Client Representative for the Ryan White Part B consortium. He is also a current member of the Illinois ADAP Medical Issues Advisory Board, Getting to Zero Campaign, Illinois PrEP Working Group, the Chicago Area HIV Integrated Services Council, the CDC/MMP Advisory Board member, and the Illinois HIV Integrated Planning Council, where he is the co-chair of the Epidemiology and Needs Assessment Committee  

Michael’s focus has always been to give back to his community and to give those in the community a voice and representation on a state and national level. In all of those regards, it is safe to say that he has succeeded. 

Nick Brady is a self-proclaimed strategic planning “guru” who has supported several initiatives on a local, regional, and state level in Illinois. He has worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health to revise the State Strategic Plan to Prevent Injury, Violence, and Suicide; participates in local and regional faith-based initiatives; served as the president of the Menard County Partnership for Safety and Wellness which has a focus area in substance abuse prevention; volunteers on the Illinois Diabetes Action Plan Group; and works as an HIV Care Connect Associate and the coordinator of the Trauma-Free Illinois Initiative at the Illinois Public Health Association .  

“Rural organizations are faced with some particular challenges such as having the resources…” 

When Nick is not working, he enjoys volunteering at his church, working at his family’s pizzeria, singing, riding roller coasters, and spending time with his family and friends.  

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.  

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