Over the last several months, the collaboration between the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has enabled a blossoming relationship between NOSORH and the PCO National Committee. NOSORH has been supporting the PCO National Committee with meeting logistics, surveys, and regular check-ins. Beth Kolf, NOSORH Project Coordinator, has been the lead working directly with the PCO National Committee chair and co-chair, Dianne Roberts (IL) and Tom Rauner (NE).

“When we first started this work with the PCO National Committee, I didn’t know much about the work of a PCO,” said Kolf. “I feel like working with them has helped me to better understand the work and needs of PCOs and see how that matches up with the work being done by the SORH. Not to mention, they are such a nice group, and I really enjoy working with them!”

At the most recent meeting of the PCO National Committee, results of a Technical Assistance survey were discussed that looked at the self-reported need for education and technical assistance. The most common requests were on the Shortage Designation Management System (SDMS), followed by Needs Assessment Best Practices and the HRSA DataWarehouse. NOSORH will be working alongside the Center for Health Workforce Studies and ASTHO to deliver education for PCOs through webinars and other effective learning formats.

In addition to the work focused on the PCO National Committee, Kolf manages the logistics for the PCO Mentoring program. All participants have been selected, including seven mentees and five mentors across the country. They will attend an in-person meeting at the ASTHO offices on April 17th and 18th to help develop specific objectives for the mentoring experience and provide a broad overview of the PCO program and its partners. Afterwards, mentors and mentees will receive travel support from ASTHO to make a site visit during the summer months and complete an evaluation of their time in the program.

In the upcoming months, a couple of resources will be made available through the partnership between NOSORH and ASTHO that will target SORH, PCO, and State and Territorial Health Officials. One report will look at the relationship between education and job skills training with health outcomes, and a brief on best practices for completing a PCO Needs Assessment will also be disseminated.

“The partnership with ASTHO continues to be enable NOSORH to assist our membership in new and important ways,” said Chris Salyers, Education and Services Director at NOSORH. “We are thankful for such a strong partnership with ASTHO. The chance to work closely with the PCO National Committee has been something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and ASTHO helped us accomplish that goal.”

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