Member Spotlight

September 2018

i Oct 16th No Comments by

Timothy Lopez
Director
New Mexico Office of Rural Health

What I’m currently reading: “Between The World And Me” by T a-Nehisi Coats.

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: The amazing colleagues and partners

What I’m working on right now: Working on completing the New Mexico health plan

Best advice I ever received: To live each day to the fullest and to spread joy and happiness.

If I weren’t doing this, I would be… A chef in my own restaurant.

3 great things about rural health in New Mexico: Amazing healthcare providers, dedicated leadership and staff.

Last place I traveled to: Philadelphia

People would be surprised if they knew: I was a roadie for concerts in the 90’s

Who inspires you? My mother

My Top 3 Goals for 2018:
Get a knee replacement
Continue to work in the Office of Rural Health
Increase the number of healthcare providers in rural New Mexico

July 2018

i Oct 16th No Comments by

Alisa Druzba
Director
New Hampshire Rural Health and Primary Care

What I’m currently reading: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Last place I traveled to: Oregon! I was there from June 24 through July 5, and we did a road trip that showed us many beautiful places in Oregon. And this time I didn’t make my husband take side trips to look at little hospitals and clinics 🙂

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: The passion and dedication of our internal partners and our external stakeholders, and the ability of the communities to use their own strengths.

Who inspires you: My national colleagues. I always feel recommitted to the work after seeing them at conferences.

People would be surprised if they knew: I get really nervous before doing a speech.

If I weren’t doing this, I would…Post retirement I want to volunteer at national parks and wander the trails answering questions.

Favorite quote: “It’s a lucky man or woman gets up in the morning, puts both feet on the floor, knows what they’re about to do, and thinks it still matters.” – Joe Biden

June 2018

i Jul 9th No Comments by

Graham Adams
Chief Executive Director
South Carolina Office of Rural Health

What I’m currently reading: The Unauthorized Biography of Teryl Eisinger: A Previously Untold Tell All
Favorite thing about working at a SORH: The ability/flexibility to tailor programs to the needs of rural communities. I like being an advocate for the underdog.
What I’m working on right now: Creating a broader vision of rural in South Carolina. Rural advocates have historically stayed pretty much in their own lane (health care, housing, education, etc). Helping people to connect the dots and appreciate the interconnectedness is a challenge, but worth doing.
Best advice I ever received: Hire good people and let them do their work.
If I weren’t doing this, I would be…messing with vintage sports cars and trucks, mostly European but anything unusual.
People would be surprised if they knew: I played drums when I was young.
Who inspires you? Not really “who”, but rather “what”. I think seeing the goodness in people inspires us all to do better.
What’s your secret talent? Awesomeness… and humility.
My Top 3 Goals for 2018: Just do the best you can everyday.

May 2018

i May 17th No Comments by

Lara Brooks
Oklahoma Office of Rural Health
Rural Health Analyst
NOSORH Member Since 2015

What I’m working on right now: Community Health Needs Assessments

Last place I traveled to: New Orleans, LA, for the Annual NRHA Conference

Best advice I ever received: “Make yourself a resource to others.”

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: My background is Agricultural Economics,
and I feel that working for the OK SORH allows me to continue in my chosen field and
niche of rural and community development.

3 great things about rural health in my state: The people, the people, the people-
Truly those involved in rural health in Oklahoma are the best people you will ever meet.

If I weren’t doing this, I would…probably be in finance or banking.

Favorite quote: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

 

April 2018

i Apr 19th No Comments by

Heather Anderson
Virginia State Office of Rural Health
Division Director of Primary Care & Rural Health
NOSORH Member Since 2015

What I’m working on right now: The Flex funding extension and hiring a Flex coordinator.

My Top 3 Goals for 2018: Survive my son’s wedding, travel somewhere awesome for my 30th wedding anniversary, and keep a cleaner desk at home and work!

Best advice I ever received: Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: The people. Everyone is so interesting and committed to making their world a better place.

3 great things about rural health in my state: There are pockets of greatness everywhere. Our CAHs are pretty awesome, we have great providers that work hard to make a difference in their communities, and traveling to meet with everyone takes me to breathtakingly beautiful places!

If I weren’t doing this, I would…probably be running an AHEC Program or promoting my husband’s art work full time.

What I’m currently reading: I wish I were reading something. Instead, I am working on projects for my son’s wedding in August. I’m gathering family recipes for a cookbook and putting together a slide show.

People would be surprised if they knew: I used to sing in a quartet and sang the national anthem at a baseball game on the 4th of July.

March 2018

i Mar 16th No Comments by

Julie Casper
Illinois Center for Rural Health
Director
NOSORH Member Since 1996

What I’m working on right now: Today I am working on a mental health conference that is March 20th, an opioid conference on June 27th, and a new competitive SLRP grant.

Who inspires you? My friends and family, including my NOSORH family.

Favorite quote: “The way you do one thing, is how you do everything.”

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Every day is different in our SORH. Kind of like a box of candy. I never know what the flavor of the day will be.

3 great things about rural health in my state: The people with whom I work, the communities I am able to serve, and the mission I can promote to increase access in rural.

If I weren’t doing this, I would be… outside as much as possible! Probably walking, gardening and playing with my dogs.

Last place I traveled to: Carefree, Arizona

People would be surprised if they knew: I used to have a Harley and still have my motorcycle license.

February 2018

i Feb 23rd No Comments by

Robert Duehmig
Oregon Office of Rural Health
Deputy Director
NOSORH Member for 12 Years

What I’m working on right now: My SORH grant

Who inspires you? My kids

What I’m currently reading: White Trash:The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Opportunity to visit rural Oregon

Best advice I ever received: Just relax

If I weren’t doing this, I would be: Teaching

Last place I traveled to: Etlan, Virginia

Favorite Quote: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has limits.”- Albert Einstein

People would be surprised if they knew: I am a really nice guy

What’s your secret talent? If only……

January 2018

i Feb 23rd No Comments by

Bonnie Burlingham
Washington State Office of Rural Health
SORH Grant Manager

What I’m working on right now:

  1. Improving quality in Rural Health Clinics through mock survey, TA site visits, and developing short educational videos to help demystify the federal RHC regulations. We completed our first video on Annual Evaluation last summer and a video on Policy and Procedure development will be released soon.
  2. Palliative Care integration in rural areas. Led by our SORH director, we are developing resources to increase palliative care capacity in 7 rural communities. I’m specifically working on the telehealth aspect of the project. We are starting with a provider-to-provider case consultation 6 month pilot, all done via videoconference.
  3. Increasing rural EMS volunteers. We’ve seen a decline in rural EMS staff, particularly volunteers. We are working in partnership with Washington OneNet on an educational video series to bring community leader awareness to the topic and to help rural health leaders convene conversations in their communities about the problem and potential solutions. We are creating several more videos diving deeper into the stories of the people featured in our first short video in order to demonstrate that anyone can volunteer in rural EMS.

What I’m currently reading: Thinking in an Emergency by Elaine Scarry

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: I love working with rural community members and supporting health service development in rural areas. I also love that the SORH work changes as population health, policies, and priorities change so the work always stays interesting.

Favorite quote: “It’s not the critic who counts…” -Theodore Roosevelt.
When I was 9, my dad hung the entire quote up in our bathroom, so every time we were in there we read it. To this day, I have it memorized and it rings true so often in our SORH work. It’s easy to criticize others’ work or find all the reasons we can’t do something. It’s much harder to actually accomplish something and facilitate positive change, and that’s the work that matters in the end.

If I weren’t doing this, I would be… At the park with my kids!

3 great things about rural health in Washington:

  1. Every community is unique in population, assets, and geography. We have mountains, ocean, desert, plains and rainforest all in our rural areas, and each one has unique characteristics of the communities living there.
  2. There are some very geographically isolated areas with one road in and one road out, with thriving and creative communities living in the middle of them.
  3. We have some great rural health leadership across the state!

December 2017

i Feb 23rd No Comments by
Melinda Merrell
South Carolina Office of Rural Health
Senior Program Director

NOSORH Member Since: 2010

What I’m working on right now: My dissertation! If all goes as planned, I will graduate with my PhD in Public Health from the University of South Carolina in the next year.

My Top 3 Goals for 2018: I love setting New Year’s Resolutions! For 2018, I’m going to have one big personal goal, which is to complete a 52 Hike Challenge (one hike per week for the whole year).

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Hands down the people we work with in our rural communities. As a bonus, we have a great state and national partners and friends too!

Favorite quote: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -Theodore Roosevelt

People would be surprised if they knew: I got a tattoo this past summer honoring my grandmothers, both of whom gave me a love of rural (among other things).

3 great things about rural health in South Carolina:

  1. The diversity of people and places which make for a rich culture
  2. The ability to leave my house in Columbia and drive to any rural community in the state in 3 hours or less
  3. The food (seriously!)

September 2017

i Feb 22nd No Comments by

Kirby Lecy
Massachusetts Office of Rural Health
Outreach & Communications Coordinator
NOSORH Member Since: 2014
NOSORH Leadership Institute Graduate in 2013

What I’m working on right now: Supporting a new rural health network, National Rural Health Day plans and some health workforce initiatives.

My Top 3 Goals for 2017:
1. Getting my physical self back in line with my mental self through running.
2. Taking more time to reach out and appreciate people around me who are important to me, impact me, and inspire me.
3. Less procrastination- time pressure does not actually make me “work better”, despite all the excuses my brain tells me.

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Variety! Every day is a new topic to learn about, challenge to overcome and inspiration to receive. I have never been surrounded by such passion,
knowledge and motivation both in my state and through all our national colleagues and partners.

If I weren’t doing this, I would be…saving the world through agricultural empowerment -AKA farming!

Best advice I ever received: A stranger once changed the course of my life with a few simple
statements. The paraphrased version: “That only we have the power to create the world we live in. Take the time to build intention in your life, even if it is just how you choose to view the day or a circumstance. Those small actions radiate in ways you never thought possible.” The simple act
of re-framing small things in my world has opened up doors and happiness I never thought possible!

People would be surprised if they knew: Prior to my public health work, I was a swim lesson instructor and Aquatics Director.

3 great things about rural health in Massachusetts: The 52% of landmass in my state that is rural is home to the most collaborative and innovative people and organizations. Despite inequities,
they find ways to take care of one another using incredible partnerships that span public, private and non profit entities. Nothing pleases me more than when an urban area wants to learn more about these innovative models happening in rural because they are astounded by the work happening!