As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country, NOSORH and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) were gearing up to host the 2020 Primary Care Office (PCO) Training Academy. The Academy includes a face-to-face meeting at the ASTHO offices in Arlington, VA, followed by site visits between each paired mentee and mentor.

Originally modeled upon NOSORH’s mentoring program, the Academy has been conducted for nearly 10 years and continues to grow in popularity with new PCO staff. When the health and safety of Americans became a concern, the decision was made to move the Academy to a virtual format.

Participants in the Academy overwhelming responded to the survey with positive reviews of their experience! Of the respondents to the survey, 100% indicated that the meeting was satisfactory or highly satisfactory. Though not quite the same experience as being face-to-face, the mentor and mentee pairs were able to break out into private chat rooms to have smaller conversations. Participants indicated that 100% found the virtual meeting useful in building working relationships and that the virtual meeting format was useful. In addition to specific mentor and mentee time, introductory presentations were delivered by the following partners: the Bureau of Health Workforce’s (BHW) Shortage Designation Branch, Loan Repayment Branch, Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Branch, Division of Participant Support and Compliance, and the Division of Regional Operations.

NOSORH would like to extend our thanks to all of the mentors that shared their expertise: Amber Myers (MI), Allison Mikuni (HI), Robert Martiniano (NY), Thomas Rauner (NE), Anna Riggan (VA), Cindy Ellis (TX), and Lynn Ann Bishop (KY).This year’s Academy included mentees representing PCO offices from Alaska, U.S. Virgin Islands, Iowa, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.

For more information on NOSORH’s collaborative efforts with the Primary Care Offices, please contact Beth Kolf, Project Coordinator, at