Rural healthcare centers have traditionally been the source of advocacy and education for their communities. This makes them primary sources for population health management. Today we are talking with Jennifer Barbour, the Director of Relations and a Community Champion. Jennifer will discuss the complex community she serves and why understanding your communities’ needs is essential.
“Listen to your community. Do what your community says. Learn from it and repeat”
Jennifer Barbour is the Director of Relations at Sparta Community Hospital in Sparta, Illinois, where she has spent the last three years serving as the Community Champion for the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program. Jennifer has over 15 years of experience in healthcare and social services marketing, public relations, and outreach. In addition to working with the community to help identify and address community health needs, Jennifer leads employee engagement and medical student recruitment efforts at Sparta Community Hospital.
Happy National Rural Health Day! Established in 2010 as an opportunity to celebrate the “power of rural,” today we are honoring the selfless spirit found in rural healthcare. In this episode, we are talking with Matt Bancroft, a Program Specialist at the National Rural Health Resource Center. Matt discusses health equity and his hopes for the future of rural health.
“I would say when it comes to rural healthcare or health equity the thing that you should take away is don't be scared and do your best”
Raised in Arkansas, Matt has a passion for working in rural communities. He brings over six years of healthcare experience with him and an abundance of communication knowledge. His career path has found him living in Washington, D.C., Tampa, and Abilene, Texas before returning home to Arkansas.
He obtained his Master’s in Health Communication from Boston University in December of 2021. As a Program Specialist, Matt provides technical assistance with the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) to the state Flex Program grantees including resource creation, identification of best practices, conference planning, etc. He also provides technical assistance to the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP).
Don't forget to check out the Stepping Up: Health Equity in Rural Hospitals Podcast Series! Hear the stories and experiences of different rural health leaders leading their rural communities toward greater health equity.
This week, we’re celebrating Veteran’s Day and all those who have served! To honor our Veterans across the country, we’re having a conversation with commander (CDR) Jeanette Arencibia, a Plans, Operations, and Medical Intelligence officer for the Marine Corps Forces Reserve Command and the Marine Corps Forces Southern Command. Today CDR Arencibia will discuss her definition of leadership and the dynamic relationship that exists between the military and rural healthcare.
“I really look forward to a time when I can dedicate myself to what's going on in the civilian sector and utilizing some of my military experience to practice that in our own country”
-CDR Janette Arencibia
CDR Arencibia is an accomplished Plans, Operations, and Medical Intelligence (POMI) officer. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, she graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1995 with a Bachelor's degree in Health Science Education and a Master’s in Public Administration–Public Health as a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellow Awardee in 1996. Upon a direct commission to Lieutenant Junior Grade in 2003, CDR Arencibia earned a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Navy War College and is a graduate of the Marine Corps University. CDR Arencibia is as well a graduate of the Global Health Strategies for Security program at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland.
Commander Arencibia’s initial assignment at the Naval School of Health Sciences(NSHS)was as Officer in Charge of Healthcare Facilities. Upon transfer, she completed her first of several Individual Augmentee tours in support of the Oregon Army National Guard 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team; Operation Enduring Freedom and was assigned Chief, Joint Visitor’s Bureau (JVB) for Task Force Phoenix V-Afghanistan. She served as Officer in Charge of the first Female Afghan National Army Security Unit. In September 2006, she reported to NRD New England and then to the National Naval Medical Center as Department Head for Contingency Operations. CDR Arencibia assumed lead medical planning roles in support of Operation Unified Response (USNS COMFORT) and Continuing Promise 2010 (USS IWOJIMA).
She was selected as a Plans, Operations, and Medical Intelligence Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Joint Staff Surgeon Internship program at the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. During her Joint Staff tenure, she completed Verification, Validation, and Accreditation of the Joint Medical Planning Tool, now a required casualty estimation tool per the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan. CDR Arencibia was subsequently assigned as the Lead Medical Planner for NORAD/NORTHCOM followed by her assignment to Marine Forces Central Command whereby she instituted Global Health Engagements resulting in noted capability improvements to international bilateral agreements between the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Follow-on assignments include U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet (USNAVSO/FOURTHFLT) and USNS COMFORT GlobalHealth Advisor in response to the 2019 Venezuelan Crisis.
As Deputy Medical Director and interim Medical Director, she completed her assignment at Naval Amphibious Force, TF 51/5thMarine Expeditionary Brigade, Crisis Response having instituted the R2LMERSS Playbook for continuity of operations during COVID-19. A Joint Qualified Officer, CDR Arencibia is recently returned as Deputy Surgeon, United Forces South Korea.
Commander Janette Arencibia’s personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Navy-Marine Commendation Medal (two awards) along with various individual and unit decorations.
Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs, seek to offer quality care to patients while keeping healthcare costs low. What does this model look like for rural hospitals? Today we are talking with Michelle Franklin the CEO of Sullivan County Community Hospital in Sullivan, Indiana. Michelle will discuss her organization's move into an ACO network and how it has reshaped her thoughts toward the community she serves.
“I'm most optimistic about the role that rural healthcare should always be playing towards health care in America.”
Michelle Franklin is the CEO of Sullivan County Community Hospital, a critical access hospital in rural central southwestern Indiana. Michelle has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare field. As a Registered Nurse, her clinical experience has included medical-surgical nursing, nursing management, staff education and development, home health care, and hospice management.
In addition to these roles, Michelle has had the honor of serving in senior leadership positions at her hospital in both the Chief Nursing and Chief Executive Officer roles; careers that have spanned over 20 years.
Michelle is married with two teenage children and two fur babies. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, cooking, state-side, and international travel.
Healthcare centers, both rural and urban, have benefited from financial relief efforts given out during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now with the state of emergency being lifted but the effects still lingering, what can rural facilities count on? Today we are talking with Alexa McKinley, Government Affairs & Policy Coordinator for the National Rural Health Association. Alexia will be discussing the Rural Emergency Hospital model and how it can be a beneficial tool for rural health providers.
“…I’m excited to see what innovations and policies will come out of this administration, the next administration, and the 118th Congress.”
- Alexa McKinley
Alexa earned a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. During law school, she interned with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, a Pittsburgh-based corporation, and served clients at the Pitt Environmental Law Clinic. Previously, she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Michigan State University where she interned with the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs at the Department of Education and served as a fellow at MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.
Public health may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about rural healthcare. However public health officials have worked alongside rural health professionals to engage rural communities for years. Today we are talking with Gina Gulley, Health Program Specialist for the Arkansas Office of Rural Health, and Primary Care within the Arkansas Department of Health. Gina will discuss her transition into public health and how her work impacts rural hospitals.
“Allow yourself to be uncomfortable because that uncomfortable place is where growth happens.”
Gina Gulley is a Malvern, Arkansas native who currently works as a rural health program coordinator at the Arkansas Department of Health’s Office of Rural Health and Primary Care. In this role, she is responsible for the overall direction of three federal rural health grants that are used to serve Arkansas’ small rural hospitals.
Before entering the public health field, Gina was a middle school science teacher who empowered children, exposing them to STEM and healthcare careers. She obtained her Master of Public Health from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, as well as her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from Arkansas State University. Because of her commitment to public health, she is always looking for opportunities to expand her knowledge. She is passionate about strengthening rural health infrastructure and improving patient care in Arkansas.
In our first episode with Dr. Emma Watson, the 2021–22 U.K. Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Executive Medical Director of NHS Education for Scotland, we talked about the research she started on the challenges faced in rural Scotland and Rural America. This week, Emma is back to tell us about the results of her research into why effective leadership is so important.
“Be super proud of being a rural leader, or rural healthcare provider, or a rural community member because it’s an amazingly special thing to be.”
-Dr. Emma Watson
Professor Emma Watson MSc, FRCPath, FRCPEdis a 20/22UK Harkness Fellow in Healthcare Policy and Practice. A Consultant Medical Microbiologist by background and a senior clinical systems leader in Scotland, she is an expert in quality improvement and in medical education, and workforce planning.
Emma is now the Executive Medical Director of NHS Education for Scotland, the organization charged with commissioning and delivering undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in Scotland. Prior to her fellowship Emma was Deputy Medical Director at NHS Highland and held the clinical leadership for4 acute hospitals (3 of which are small rural hospitals) she was also a senior medical adviser in the Scottish Government. In both these roles, her focus was on developing innovative approaches to ensuring equitable access to high-quality healthcare services with a sustainable health and care workforce, particularly in remote and rural areas.
Emma has led a number of major change programs including the development of Scotland’s first graduate-entry medical school. Emma previously held a post in the Scottish Government as Clinical Lead for the Scottish Patient Safety Program during which time she ensured quality improvement methodology translated from the development of health policy and strategy through to implementation across the entirety of the Scottish healthcare system. Scotland was the first country in the world to implement a patient safety program on a whole system basis at a national level. As Director of Medical Education in NHS Highland, she focused on delivering high-quality medical education as a tool to increase recruitment and attract young doctors to the region and ensuring there is now an established program to encourage young people from the area to go to medical school. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she led the clinical response in her region and ensured there was a whole system approach to manage the impact of the virus.
Organizational culture is vital to the well-being of not only the organization but the community as well. Today we are talking with Dr. Bill Auxier, President, and CEO of the Dynamic Leadership Academy and Executive Director of Rural Health Leadership Radio. Bill will discuss organizational culture and the necessity for leadership to value their cultural identity.
“By improving the culture of your organization, you can improve the culture of your community as well.”
- Dr. Bill Auxier
Bill Auxier, Ph.D. is the Program Director of NRHA’s Rural Hospital Certification Programs and an expert in rural health leadership development. Dr. Auxier has worked with rural health leaders across the country to improve their organizations through more effective leadership, cultural transformation, and strategic plan development. Bill is President, and CEO of the Dynamic Leadership Academy™ and the Center for Rural Health Leadership, and Executive Director of Rural Health Leadership Radio™, a 501(c)3 non-profit that produces the podcast Rural Health Leadership Radio.
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.
You know the saying two is always better than one; How true is that when it comes to CEOs? Today we are talking with Jayd Keener and Mat Slaybaugh, Co-CEOs of Garfield County Hospital District. They will discuss how they acquired the Co-CEO role and what it takes to make Co-leadership successful.
“We're both here for the good of the facility, the good of the patients, the good of the Community, and the good of the staff.”
"It's not about me, it's not about Jayd, it's about what's best for the organization and the patients.”
Jayd obtained her Associate's degree in Nursing from Walla Walla Community College in 2006 and has been blessed to have her talent for leadership be seen. She was hired in 2017 at Garfield County Hospital as the Director of Nursing and became the Co-CEO in the Spring of 2019. She is on the local Recovery Navigator Program and Southeast Washington Alliance for Healthcare board and participates in several county healthcare coalition meetings. Jayd is a wife and mom to four boys aged 8 to 21 who keep her on her toes. In her free time, she enjoys watching her boys play baseball and as a family, they enjoy prospecting for Gold, camping, and attending concerts together.
Mat has a BS in biology from Lewis-Clark State College and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Idaho State University. He has been working at Garfield County hospital since 2017. Started initially as a staff therapist, then as director of rehabilitation, and now as Co-CEO since the Spring of 2019. He works with the local high school offering free PT evaluations to injured athletes, volunteering as a weight room supervisor, and working as the assistant wrestling coach. Mat enjoys most of all, spending time with his wife and children. With the little free time he has, he enjoys camping, hunting, and woodworking.
Once a farmer’s daughter now a fiercely passionate rural health advocate. This week, we are talking with Dr. SuLynn Mester, an advisory board member for the NRHA CNO certification program. SuLynn talks with us about her passion for rural healthcare and her interesting background in nursing.
“I think we have an opportunity to make a change to reset the trajectory of how rural health is shaping up…”
-Dr. SuLynn Mester
SuLynn Mester has been in nursing since 1987, specializing in critical care, cardiovascular surgical care, and trauma care, prior to moving into management and administration. She is committed to education, not only for herself but for others. She is a lifelong learner, receiving her Associate Degree in Science from Clarendon College in 1984, Associate in Nursing from Amarillo College in 1987, Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2016, Master of Science in Nursing in 2018, and Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2020, all from the University of Texas at Arlington. She sits on the board of Clarendon College School of Nursing, as well as the Area for Health Education Center (AHEC).
Succession leadership for rural healthcare is of utmost importance to her. Thus, she helped develop and is now serving as an Advisory Board Member on the NRHA Rural Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Certification Program. She is passionate about rural healthcare advocacy issues and is actively involved in efforts in Austin and Washington, DC to ensure and preserve rural healthcare access. She is heavily involved in rural health policy, serving on the Texas Nurses Association as the Governmental Advising Committee liaison, as well as serving as a Hospital and Community Health Systems Constituency Group Representative for NRHA Rural Health Congress.
She is a recipient of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH), National Rural Health Association (NRHA), and Texas Hospital Association Leadership yearlong leadership fellowship programs. She is currently an active fellow in the Coldiron Senior Nurse Executive Fellowship. In her final year of doctoral studies, she was chosen for the John and Louise Shira Fellowship Scholarship. Her rural-focused work and research have been published in Nursing Management Magazine and have an upcoming publication in the Emergency Nursing Journal.
She grew up a farm girl and currently resides in the remote rural area of Childress, Texas with her husband Randy. Her inner circle includes many four-legged family members; three of her favorites being Fred the Red Head, a Murray Gray steer and Ruby, a Texas Longhorn, and Harper, a Black Angus bottle baby.
Think about overseeing the same halls you once used as your personal Hot Wheels track. This week we are talking with Eric Swanson, the president and CEO of Adventist Health Tillamook. A true homegrown kid, Eric shares his experience managing the hospital he grew up in as a child.
“What excites me is, is how we can be collaborative and creative to serve our unique community”
Eric Swanson is President of Adventist Health Tillamook. He has been with Adventist Health for 30 years and has served in a variety of leadership roles, both clinical and non-clinical. Eric holds an MBA with an emphasis in Healthcare Administration and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare CareExecutives. He is also an Oregon licensed, and Nationally Registered Paramedic.
Rural healthcare is full of innovative solutions to the unique obstacles they face, including access to care. What happens when technology is introduced to bridge the access gap? This week we are talking with Dr. Jenny Schneider the CEO of Homeward Health about collaborating in the competitive world of rural healthcare to increase access to care.
“At the end of the day, we're caring for people, not patients”
Dr. Jennifer Schneider is the chief executive officer of Homeward, a company focused on improving access to high-quality, affordable comprehensive care in rural communities. Having grown up in the small town of Winona, Minnesota, and being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a young age, she experienced first-hand the lack of primary and specialty care that millions of families across rural America deal with every day. This fueled her passion to create a new approach to comprehensive, value-based care in rural America.
Previously, Dr. Schneider served as the chief medical officer and president of Livongo. While there, her team led the company through the largest consumer digital health Initial Public Offering in history and the industry’s largest merger ever between Livongo and Teladoc Health, valuing Livongo at $18.5billion and beginning a new era of consumer-centric virtual care. She also served as chief medical officer of Castlight Health
Can a four-day work week work in rural healthcare? This week, we are having a conversation with Monica Bourgeau, a futurist and CEO of New Phase Partners. Monica shares her experiences as a futurist and the changes that rural health leaders should expect.
“When I look at leadership, the most important thing to me is being able to create a vision for the future and then being able to share that vision”
Monica Bourgeau, MS is a futurist, award-winning author, and CEO of New Phase Partners, a consulting firm specializing in Future of Work strategies, planning, leadership coaching, and training. Monica has nearly twenty-five years of experience in healthcare leadership positions, including nearly ten years leading national rural healthcare transformation programs, business development, and strategy.
She has a master’s degree in Management with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership from Warner Pacific University, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Colorado State University, and completed the MBA Foundations program at the University of Montana. She has studied futures thinking at MIT, Future I/O, and the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies. When she’s not working, you’ll find Monica walking on the Oregon coast, snuggling her rescue dogs, and spending time with her family. Monica believes we each have a duty to leave the world a little better than we found it.
Financial viability has become a hot topic for health leaders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, we're talking with Rich Scheinblum Vice president and CFO of Monadnock Community Hospital.
"Cash provides you flexibility in both good and bad times"
Executive Vice President-Administration & Chief Financial Officer Rich has been with MCH for 24 years, as Controller, Director of Peri-operative Services, and now as Chief Financial Officer. He obtained his BS in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut, and his MBA from Plymouth State College. Rich’s work experience includes a mental health facility, a children’s hospital, an insurance company, and a rehabilitation facility.
He is a member of HFMA, ACHE, served as treasurer of the New Hampshire Rural ACO, and serves as treasurer of New Hampshire Value-Care. In addition, he has served on the town of Dublin Budget Committee for 12 years and 9 years as a trustee of trust funds. In his spare time, he was active on the local Cal Ripken League board as a Board member and coach and served on the Monadnock United Way Finance Committee and CONVAL School District COVID Reopening Committee. He resides in Peterborough with his two sons.
What can a home-grown lawyer offer to rural healthcare? This week we are having a conversation with Elizabeth Burrows, the owner of Burrows Consulting Inc. A lawyer turned health consultant, she provides a unique perspective on rural health and policy.
What scares me the most about our future is finding providers or signing providers that are going to embrace living in rural areas
Elizabeth is an alumnus of North Vermillion High School and graduated magna cum laude from DePauw University with a degree in Political Science and Communications where she studied abroad at Oxford University. She went on to receive her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Elizabeth worked at the Indiana State Department of Health as the Director of the State Office of Rural Health, where she more than tripled the amount of federal funding for critical access hospitals.
Elizabeth then returned to Cayuga, her hometown, to start up and serve as the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Valley Professionals Community Health Center (previously the Vermillion-Parke Community Health Center), which grew over 1000% in the eight years she served as CEO. During that time, Elizabeth started the first mobile school-based health center with leadership from Senator Lugar and his staff to serve rural schools. She was selected as a leader in the CMS Practice Transformation project leading her health center to become nationally accredited as a Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home.
In 2014, Elizabeth started her own business, Burrows Consulting, Inc. where she has assisted numerous rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers, institutions of higher education, critical access hospitals, rural health associations, and other non-profits attain over $92,000,000 in grant funding and over $100,000,000 in enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and 340B Shared Savings. She has worked with health care facilities in 28 states and created over fifteen new federally qualified health center entities. Through her consulting business, she has also served as an Interim CEO for entities seeking FQHC designation.
She graduated from the Lugar Series for Excellence in Public Service, received the Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders, is a 2011 National Rural Health Association Rural Health Fellow, and was given the DePauw University Alumni Community Leadership Award. Elizabeth was named a Fellow for the National Leadership Academy of Public Health and is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association. Elizabeth resides near her family farm in Vermillion County, Indiana, and enjoys spending time with her husband, Steve, and daughters, Eleanor age 12, and Amelia age 10. Together, the four enjoy traveling, visiting Indiana and national historic sites, and competing at sheep shows.
Two weeks ago, we shared the top ten most listened to RHLR episodes ever! Number two on that list was Episode #103 a Conversation with Kate Hill. This week we’re highlighting that episode with Kate Hill and listening back to her story.
“Our motto is actually safety, honesty and caring.”
Kate Hill, RN, is a graduate of Albert Einstein Medical Center School of Nursing in Philadelphia, PA. As an Army Nurse, Kate served in Viet Nam (27th Surgical Hospital in Chu Lai) where she was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service. Kate has worked with orthopedic patients in several capacities including Head Nurse of Orthopedics in Newark, NJ., followed by Biomet working in various capacities.
Kate joined The Compliance Team (TCT) in early 2012 to direct TCT’s rural health clinic accreditation program and has fallen in love with Rural. As VP of Clinical Services, she has spearheaded the TCT Rural Health Clinic Accreditation program combining her clinical expertise, business acumen and passion for delivery of the best care possible to every patient. She presently serves on the Board of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics. Kate also works with clinics in TCT’s PCMH program and is ensuring that a PCMH accreditation is being increasingly rewarded by payers.
This week we’re having a special conversation, celebrating the memory of one our hosts’ longtime friends and a dedicated rural health leader Walter Anthony Mauck Junior, DDS, also known as “Junior.” Junior was the “homegrown kid” who came back to serve his rural community after becoming a dentist.
“We're dedicating this episode to my lifelong friend, Walter Anthony Mauck Junior, DDS.”
~Dr. Bill Auxier
Junior was a Dentist for 38 years and practiced in McLeansboro, IL and Dayton, OH. He was honored to once serve as the President of the Wabash River Dental Society and enjoyed the fellowship of his colleagues throughout his career. He was an avid golfer, and his favorite pastime was playing golf with his dear friends he made during dental school. Junior was a marathon runner, having completed thirteen full marathons and countless half marathons. He served others through the Catholic Society Service of Dayton, was a lector, taught religion classes, and was a devoted member of the Catholic Church.
This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio we’re celebrating our 6-year anniversary! We’re thrilled to have shared these wonderful conversations with our listeners over the years, and in this week’s episode, we’ll be counting down the top 10 most listened to episodes in RHLR history.
“It’s hard to believe that rural health leadership radio is 6 years old!”
Dr. Bill Auxier founded Rural Health Leadership Radio 6 years ago with the mission of impacting rural healthcare at a very fundamental level. Rural Health Leadership Radio provides a forum for conversations, learning, and research, to assist rural health leaders in becoming more effective leaders. We provide a space for rural health leaders to discuss and share what ideas are working, what is not, lessons learned, success stories, strategies, things to avoid, and anything else relating to rural health leadership.
Thank you for joining us on RHLR’s journey!
Community engagement has become a focus of many rural communities in addressing population health needs. Jonathan Dayton, Executive Director of the Maryland Rural Health Association, is our guest this week sharing his passion and insights on engaging rural communities in whole health.
“There's a lot of good, innovative things that not only Maryland is working on, but the nation is working on, and they're really going to address a lot of these issues that we're talking about.”
Jonathan Dayton is a Western Maryland native and Resident living with his wife, Addison. Jonathan comes to the Maryland Rural Health Association (MRHA) with an extensive background in healthcare delivery systems, value-based care models, rural community health care development, program development, and administration, rural under-served community enhancement, and non-profit marketing. He has previous experience with the MRHA serving on the Conference Committee for several years.
Before joining MRHA, Jonathan served as the Community Relations and Population Health Manager for Mountain Laurel Medical Center, a federally qualified health center located in Oakland, MD. Previously, Jonathan served on the Mountain Laurel Medical Center Board of Directors and worked at UPMC-Western Maryland in physical therapy.
Jonathan serves his community in various roles, including a volunteer firefighter/EMT with Potomac Volunteer Fire Company and Baltimore Pike Volunteer Fire Company. Jonathan brings legislative experience and formerly served two terms on the Maryland Youth Advisory Council.
On our last episode, we talked about the innovative program connecting libraries and health liaisons in South Carolina to make a difference in rural healthcare. This week we’re talking with one of the librarians who has successfully implemented this program! Amy Schofield is the Director of the Kershaw County Library in Camden, South Carolina.
“We’re not just rooms with books, we’re also places that are trying to connect very deeply to people who have issues that we want to address and that we want to connect with the community.”
Amy’s professional story begins in 1994 when she graduated from library school and moved to New York City where she worked as a public librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. She began her first stint as a Library Director in Kershaw in 2008. After a five-year hiatus working for Richland County Public Library, she returned to Kershaw in 2020. Amy sees public libraries as catalysts for individual and societal change. Her work is geared toward creating an environment that centers on respect, with the belief that a space conducive to work can create self-sufficiency, that the joy of reading is contagious, and that fulfillment comes from understanding and exploration of our larger world. Also, working in libraries is fun!
Have you ever heard of libraries working with healthcare organizations to better serve their rural communities? This week, we’re talking to Dr. Megan Weis and Alanti Price about how they have innovatively connected local libraries with social workers to better meet the needs of their rural communities in South Carolina.
“There’s so much opportunity and so much moving forward with more nontraditional access points because it’s not just libraries. There are other community areas. And I think that there’s really a movement we’ve seen in South Carolina but also, nationally.”
~Dr. Megan Weis
Dr. Megan Weis is the Director of Community Engagement for the SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare. She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist with over 20 years of experience in public health education, promotion, research, and policy. Her work bridges practice and academia to unite non-traditional partners from various disciplines and organizations to jointly address public health and healthcare challenges at the community and state levels. She is a graduate of Furman University and received her graduate degrees from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.
Alanti Price is a Program Manager for the SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare. She has worked in the public and non-profit sectors on several public and community health initiatives. Alanti holds a Master of Public Health from Georgia State University and a B.A. in Biological Sciences from Clemson University.
Cancer care can be a rare sight in rural healthcare, however, there are an increasing amount of opportunities to bring cancer care back to rural communities. This week, we’re talking about the Rural America Cancer Patient experience with Dr. Wade Swenson, Medical Director, and Medical Oncologist at Lake Region Healthcare.
“Decentralizing cancer care in the United States and in rural areas can make economic sense and practical sense, both for patients, families, communities, and health systems”
~Dr. Wade Swenson
Wade Swenson, MD, is a rural oncologist who has practiced at Lake Region Healthcare in Fergus Falls, Minnesota for 17 years. He is originally from Moorhead, Minnesota. He attended Medical School at the University of North Dakota and residency and fellowship at the University of Iowa. He is a father to a high school senior and recent college graduate. His professional interests include rural cancer delivery, leadership, and health policy. He recently completed an MBA in Healthcare at the University of St Thomas in Minneapolis. He also was a Rural Health Fellow at the National Rural Health Association from 2021-2022.
This week, we’re introducing you to another new member of our team! Say hello to Laura Pemble, the first resident of the Center for Rural Health Leadership (CRHL). Laura will be assisting CRHL with their work with NRHA’s Rural Hospital Certification Programs.
“This is really meaningful work and one of the reasons I went into healthcare in the first place is to help people and I believe the work here is doing just that.”
Laura Pemble is currently pursuing her master’s in health administration at the University of South Florida. She has been interested in healthcare since childhood and has enjoyed her first year as an MHA candidate. Her main experience has been in healthcare talent acquisition, but now she joins the Center for Rural Health Leadership for a year-long residency.
Rural Health Leadership Radio is growing by an extra member – we’re excited to introduce our new Intern, Raven Muse! Raven is a current Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) student in Tampa, Florida who has a unique perspective having grown up in a rural Florida town.
“I wanted to be a part of rural health so that I can make sure I bring everything that I know back to my city.”
Raven Muse is currently a candidate for the Master of Health Administration degree at the University of South Florida. She completed her undergraduate degree at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee Florida. While still being a new careerist, Raven has already developed a desire to better understand the avenue of rural healthcare and its leadership.
She has experience in monitoring and observing rural healthcare leaders through her internship involvement with The Villages Regional Hospital. Exposure to this kind of health system along with her upbringing in the small rural city of Wildwood, Florida gave Raven the ambition to pursue further knowledge in all things rural healthcare-related. Moving forward, she hopes to be a vital part of the upstart of additional rural healthcare centers within Florida.
Have you ever heard of a rural hospital CFO working remotely? This week you will! We’re having a conversation with Rhonda Wild, a rural hospital CFO who is working remotely in Idaho for her hospital in Kansas.
“What excites me most about the future of our rural health is that we have the capacity to provide patients with the best of both worlds. We're large enough to offer top technology and small enough to still be personal.”
Rhonda works remotely from Idaho as the CFO of Stanton County Hospital in Johnson, Kansas. She has a 29-year tenure in the healthcare field. She started out wanting to become an RN and attended the University of South Dakota and North Idaho College.
After completing her prerequisites and pre-nursing, she faced the issue of applying for the program, and due to the program only accepting a certain number of candidates it became apparent, that she had to move on to something different in the healthcare field. She then graduated from Shoreline College with a degree in Health Information Technology and became a Registered Health Information Technician. She and her husband live in the great Northwest Idaho, where they enjoy all the outdoor activities beautiful Idaho has to offer.