Successful rural hospitals often have the characteristics of strong leadership, a culture of teamwork, and community support. In our upcoming episode, we explore the strategies for achieving this with our guest, Natalie Ryder, who serves as the Hospital Administrator at Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital & Borgess Allegan Hospital in Allegan, Michigan.
During this week’s conversation on Rural Health Leadership Radio, Natalie highlights the importance of cultivating a positive workplace culture and fostering teamwork. She provides valuable insights into her approach to breaking down silos between hospital locations and implementing standardized processes for sustainable success, and how her past roles and military background help her achieve this.
“I want anybody that works for me to feel supported and safe being themselves...there is no reason why we can’t be smiling all day”
Natalie Ryder is a Regional Hospital Administrator covering three hospitals in SW Michigan: 2 Critical Access Hospitals & 1 Long Term Acute Care Hospital. Ryder is a registered nurse and board-certified nurse executive who began her healthcare career in 2013, as a school nurse in Germany, following nine years in the U.S. Army as an Engineer Officer. Ryder held various nursing & leadership roles before becoming the administrator of Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital in 2018 and adding Ascension Borgess Allegan and Ascension Borgess-Pipp Hospitals in Aug 2022.
Ryder’s goal is to provide resources and remove barriers so her hospitals can provide the best possible care to their communities, right where they live, without any need for travel. She led her team through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and remained relentless in upholding their mission of delivering uninterrupted, high-quality care when & where it mattered most.
Ryder earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Point Park College in her home state of Pennsylvania and an associate degree in nursing from Columbus Technical College in Georgia. She went on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration degree in healthcare management from Western Governors University. Ryder has been an active member of the Michigan Center for Rural Health Critical Access Hospital Planning Committee since 2019, and an Ascension Advocacy and Public Policy Committee member since 2020.
Collaboration and connection are aspects we often emphasize in rural health. The rural advantage allows us to collaborate with each other and uniquely connect with our communities.
Our guest this week on Rural Health Leadership Radio is no stranger to collaboration. We are delighted to share with you our conversation with Kevin Bennett, a Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Chair of the Department of Translational and Clinical Sciences, Director of the South Carolina Center for Rural & Primary Healthcare, and the Research Center for Transforming Health.
Dr. Bennett discusses his work in rural health, emphasizing the importance of addressing food insecurity and bridging gaps in healthcare access. He highlights the need for comprehensive solutions, including collaborations with medical education institutions. We also explore how to attract young professionals to a rural lifestyle.
“Rural is more than a label, there’s a beauty to it and a strength in the community connection.”
Dr. Bennett is Professor and Chair in the Department of Translational and Clinical Science, at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, in Columbia, SC. He serves as the Director of the Research Center for Transforming Health and Director of the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare.
He also serves on the National Rural Health Association’s Board of Trustees and as President-Elect (2024). His work focuses on care delivery for vulnerable and underserved populations and how policies and legislation affect these populations. He has also worked extensively with community organizations, rural health networks, healthcare systems, and state agencies to create, facilitate, and evaluate the impact of innovative care delivery programs.
We love to celebrate on Rural Health Leadership Radio, and this week is one of our favorite occasions of the year: National Rural Health Day on November 16th! Since 2011, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) has devoted the third Thursday of every November to spotlight rural health and pay tribute to rural communities. This week, we welcome Tammy Norville, CEO of NOSORH, as our special guest to discuss how NOSORH is marking National Rural Health Day this year. We discuss Tammy's personal journey in the field of rural health. Additionally, we explore various ways everyone can participate in National Rural Health Day, either virtually or within your local community. Check out these websites for more information on National Rural Health Day: NOSORH.org, PowerofRural.org
“National Rural Health Day is a celebration of the positive and the crazy, creative, and innovative ways rural health providers meet the needs of those folks they serve every day.”
Tammy Norville joined the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) team in March of 2018 as Technical Assistance Director and moved into the NOSORH CEO role in June of 2022 with more than two decades of rural health experience.
Tammy is a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate. She served rural safety-net providers for almost 15 years in the North Carolina DHHS Office of Rural Health. Tammy currently maintains Certified Professional Coder – Instructor (CPC-I), Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Registered Medical Coder (RMC), Registered Medical Biller (RMB), and Registered Medical Manager (RMM) certifications.
If you are a veteran, thank you for your service! In recognition of all veterans, Rural Health Leadership Radio is proud to publish this special episode to honor all veterans this Veterans Day Nearly a quarter of all U.S. veterans choose to live in rural areas upon their return from active military service. Rural communities offer strong community support and close-knit relationships, enhancing the appeal of rural living for veterans. On the other hand, veterans contribute valuable leadership skills and core values to these rural areas. In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio, we are celebrating veterans and the great ways they contribute to rural communities. We are joined by three veterans and rural health leaders:
We welcome these three healthcare and military heroes to celebrate Veterans Day with us on Rural Health Leadership Radio!
“Veterans are all over the place using those things we learned from being in the military in our daily lives. We are in your local hospital, and ready to serve you in a new and different way now”
Athena Minor, hailing from Ohio County, Kentucky, enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1985 and completed specialized Leadership Training with honors. She transitioned to a nursing career, earning her nursing degree from Owensboro Community College and a master's in Executive Leadership from Walden University. Currently pursuing a doctorate in Executive Leadership, Athena boasts diverse nursing experience, from neonatal and critical care to emergency and cardiac care in rural and urban settings. She's dedicated to managing chronic healthcare populations and led initiatives against infant mortality and childhood obesity in the Green River District during her five-year tenure in public health leadership. Athena serves as Chief Nursing and Clinical Officer at Ohio County HealthCare, actively participating in advisory committees, the Green River District Executive Board of Health, and healthcare panel discussions.
Kenda Clopton, RN, BSN is the Chief Nursing Officer of Ozarks Community Hospital. She has been married to her husband Marty for 32 years and they have three grown sons that are her absolute pride and joy. She graduated from Cox College of Nursing in Springfield, MO in 1998 with her ASN and returned to obtain her BSN in 2017. Currently, Kenda is taking graduate courses to obtain a Masters in Community-Based Health from Oklahoma City University. The calling to be a nurse and desire to help people needing care came early in life for her. She joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1989 and proudly served as a surgical technologist (91D) until 1997. Her husband, oldest son, youngest brother, and brother-in-law are all veterans or still serving in the military today.
Hannah Zaun is the Chief Nursing Officer for Dakota Regional Medical Center and Griggs County Care Center in Cooperstown North Dakota. Originally from Texas and a veteran of the United States Air Force, she has chosen to put all of her experience and efforts into making nursing and healthcare a better experience for all involved. She is a graduate of Mayville State University with a Bachelors in Nursing and plans on continuing into a Masters in Nursing. An ER nurse by trade, Hannah has a passion for emergency medicine, for creating safe spaces for nurses to work, mental health, policy change, and increasing resources and services in rural healthcare.