Congratulations to the 2019 NOSORH Award recipients! Awardees were honored at a ceremony during the NOSORH Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on October 17.
A special thank you to the NOSORH Awards Committee, co-chaired by Margaret Brockman (NE) and Cathleen McElligott (MA)! We appreciate all who took the time to submit a nomination!
SORH Award of Excellence
Arizona Center for Rural Health
“In addition to improving access to quality health care services, this SORH is deeply focused on social justice and health equity. They demonstrate a true dedication to reducing the health disparities of the deeply disenfranchised and impoverished families and individuals in their bi-cultural and bi-national communities. They have also been working with state and local health and social services organizations to address such important and timely topics as the opioid epidemic, human trafficking, adverse childhood experiences, women’s health, innovative telemedicine use, border health issues, American Indian access to care, and behavior change for social good.”
Emerging Leader Award:
Kathryn Miller, Wisconsin Office of Rural Health
“While Kathryn is not new to her position as a Flex Coordinator, and her coworkers have always seen her excellent work up close, in the last few years she has emerged on both a state and national level as someone others recognize and look to for leadership. As a leader, she is collaborative: she’s quick to help someone with questions, and lend her assistance on a project. She’s strategic: she keeps a real-time tally of invoices and payments on two federal grants for over 60 hospitals, so she knows which projects are withering and can reach out to add extra support, or see eventual failures coming and take action. And she’s able to flow with changes: as the Flex program has shifted to a primary focus on quality, added layers of measurement and evaluation, and as our purchasing department rolls out new requirements and documentation monthly, she rises to the continuing changes and keeps everything moving forward and the quality high.”
The James D. Bernstein Mentoring Award:
Roslyn Council, New Jersey Office of Rural Health
“Roslyn’s calming presence and warm nature drew me in – her knowledge, support of the region, and expertise have been invaluable to me. Over the past year, she has taken me under her wing and showed me how to be a regional representative. Roslyn has been so supportive, from answering questions or reaching out to check in. Her ability to listen, observe, and understand the needs of those around her is incredible and it makes her capacity to mentor so effective. I am certain there are many of us who have benefited from her work in public health over the years.”
The Distinguished Andrew W. Nichols Rural Health Advocate Award and the Legislator of the Year Award will be announced at a later date.
by Beth Blevins
Funding from HRSA’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) program has helped several State Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) recently start—or strengthen—their work related to substance use disorder and opioid use disorder (S/OUD). Those who receive the RCORP Planning grant have a year to create or strengthen a consortium focused on SUD/OUD. (HRSA currently offers an RCORP Implementation grant that some SORH have received as well.)
For example, the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) had never focused on S/OUD activities prior to receiving the RCORP Planning grant, according to Lindsey Kilgo, SCORH Director of Network Development. For them the grant was “about how we can understand what’s going on in the state,” Kilgo said. “There’s been a lot of information gathering, a lot of consortium and office conversations, a lot of convening and bringing folks together.”
Forging Stronger Partnerships
While creating their consortium, the Virginia SORH (VA SORH) discovered new partners. “There are additional people at the table who might not have been there because of the consortium,” said Heather Anderson, VA SORH Director. “We added to the conversation and got community health centers and other folks that maybe weren’t involved before. We have stronger partnerships in the region.”
Anderson continued, “Because of our experience with the planning grant, another agency was willing to run with the implementation grant. So we said, ‘Go for it. You’re local, you know all the people. We will support you any way we can, give you technical assistance, and help you convene people.’”
For the Michigan Center for Rural Health (MCRH), the planning grant “has allowed us to really bring everybody to the table and wrap our arms around the importance of the challenges in those counties we are working in,” said Crystal Barter, MCRH Director of Performance Improvement. “I think everyone has really bought into it, whereas before everyone was working in their own silo. And now we are working as a consortium and starting to leverage the resources each organization has.”
Hanneke Van Dyke, former SORH Coordinator at the Texas SORH, also talked about the importance of community outreach. “It was important to use relationships we already had and having an openness to expanding relationships to new project areas,” Van Dyke said. “In both of our (RCORP) project areas, community advisory councils—made up of community members and community leaders who are there for every step of the process—have been central. Making sure we built in a few back routes tied back to the community was very important for us.”
No Prior Expertise Needed
When asked what skills are needed for SORHs to engage with S/OUD work, Kilgo replied, “Having the determination to make things better and to make change—and then not being afraid to ask questions, in an effort to build knowledge, partnerships, and relationships.” Kilgo added, “For folks who work in this particular realm, it requires a level of passion and commitment. And when you have that shared passion and commitment, the relationship and trust come fairly easily. We all have a common vision and common theme. We’re moving forward together in a positive manner.”
The ability to seek out experts was also key for Van Dyke. “None of us on staff had worked on an S/OUD issues or had any particular training or experience with it,” she said. “As project coordinator, I’ve taken it on to educate myself through reading and talking with experts. I’m not an expert but I’m pretty comfortable now, knowing who to go to to get the right information.”
Although the North Dakota Center for Rural Health (NDCRH) has been involved with S/OUD activities for the state for a few years, they had no broad expertise in their office when they started their RCORP work, said Lynette Dickson, NDCRH Director. “Our knowledge has grown and continues to grow,” Dickson said.
“Even if you are not an expert in the field you can still have an impact in this arena,” Dickson explained. “Because what we (SORHs) do is convene people, and reach out and find the resources. You can have more confidence that you can have an active role in this—you can convene and connect like we do with anything else.”
For more information, see the new NOSORH Issue Brief, SORH Response to the National Substance Use Crisis. A full spectrum of NOSORH resources to address rural SUD/OUD are available in the Rural Opioids Educational Resources library on the NOSORH website.
In the past few years it has become evident how much Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) want advice on strategy, finance, operations and regulations. To address that need, Lilypad, one of NOSORH’s strategic partners and developer of the POND tool, has developed an approach to get that information out to the RHCs in a way that is simple, quick and focused.
These 30-minute, monthly webinars will be hosted by Lilypad and other subject matter experts in partnership with NOSORH — and they are available at no cost to the participating organization. The webinar series was developed specifically for RHC practice managers and providers with topics focusing on financial and operational improvement strategies.
Check out the POND Webinar flyer outlining FREE 30-minute webinars happening every month over the next year presented by rural-focused industry experts! Click on the link beside the topic you would like to attend to reach registration for each session.
By Beth Blevins
Rural migrants and other immigrant Latinos in California are becoming better informed on issues that affect their health thanks to a partnership between the California State Office of Rural Health (CalSORH) and the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Binational Border Health (OBBH).
Since the partnership offered its first workshop in March 2015, community health workers (CHWs), also known as promotores, have been trained on emerging health issues that impact migrant, seasonal, and agricultural workers.
“Each year, we look at emerging health issues, listen to what the CHWs/promotores are hearing in their communities, and tailor our training with up-to-the-moment information,” said Jalaunda Granville*, former Rural Health Project Coordinator at CalSORH. “The goals of the training vary from year to year.”
The project uses a “train-the-trainer model”—trainings are held for the CHWs/promotores who then spread the information to the community, said Corinne Chavez, CalSORH Health Program Manager. “The goal of all of these trainings is to provide education and tools for participants to share in their communities. It’s an outreach and education model that offers relevant and reliable health education and resources to California’s rural population.” Chavez added, “OBBH has utilized this model for over a decade.”
Past trainings have been on pesticide illness and safety, Zika awareness and prevention, and mental health and opioid use disorder (OUD). Trainings take place in four regions of the state, with participants drawn from rural parts of those areas, Granville said. More than 300 CHWs/promotores have been trained so far, Chavez said.
“The CHWs/promotores are carefully selected,” Chavez said. “And OBBH’s strong relationships with community-based organizations and community leaders aid in their selection.” A workgroup, composed of OBBH staff, medical professionals, and community leaders and members, develop culturally appropriate curriculum and implement trainings, she said.
After each workshop, participants are given educational manuals and materials, copies of presentations, resource links, and/or contact information for the local resources involved in the workshops, Chavez said.
The CalSORH/OBBH partnership also utilizes additional partnerships with other state and federal agencies. For its workshop on pesticides, OBBH collaborated with CalSORH, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, Chavez said. OBBH and Vision y Compromiso, a leading promotores organization, facilitated its four Zika Awareness workshops in targeted regions of California in 2017, she said.
The partnership provided training and outreach mental health on the dangers of OUD in 2018. It targeted rural areas of the state based on the number of opioid-related deaths found on the California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard, Chavez said. “California rural communities have the highest rates of OUD in the State,” she said. “OBBH wanted to provide training in a culturally and linguistically appropriate setting because they believe CHWs are uniquely positioned for early intervention and to assist in increasing access to services.”
This year, the partnership is offering training on increasing awareness of antibiotic overuse and misuse in rural communities, with the goal of training 120 promotores/CHWs by 2020. That topic was chosen, Chavez said, “because of the current public health threat it poses throughout the world—we want to provide these trainings as a tool to expand access to healthy practices and services.” If each CHW who is trained on this topic delivers a short presentation to at least 20 community members, she said, the hope is that it will eventually reach at least 500 people in the state.
CalSORH currently is in a five-year intragovernmental agency agreement with OBBH for their services through CalSORH funds, Granville said, “but they also provide services above and beyond their agreement amount.” Funding for the partnership comes from CalSORH’s Federal Office of Rural Healthy Policy SORH grant.
The partnership has allowed CalSORH to reach communities and populations they might not otherwise have, Chavez concluded.
“Early on we recognized that partnering with OBBH was the best way to deliver information and services,” she said. “Working with OBBH was a natural choice in terms of trying to address our rural migrants and Latino populations that may or may not be exposed to this information. We identified their expertise, and knew that they have access to communities and resources. It was a natural link for us to partner with them.”
* Granville has recently accepted a promotion in the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, California’s federally designated Primary Care Office
NOSORH is excited to announce the relaunch of the NOSORH Mentoring Program and the newly designed Peer-Driven Resources webpage! The Mentoring Program builds upon the mentoring philosophy of Jim Bernstein, providing an opportunity for SORH Directors and equivalents to be paired with veteran SORH Directors or equivalents. The Mentoring Program requires that the Mentor and Mentee meet via phone at least two hours per month and is expected to last about 6 months. Mentees are also required to participate in a “NOSORH 101” webinar and attend the FORHP New SORH Orientation at FORHP offices. The Educational Exchange Scholarship may also be used in conjunction with the Mentoring Program to support a site visit between the Mentor and Mentee as pairs see fit.
With this launch, the NOSORH webpage for the Educational Exchange scholarships has been moved to a single Peer-Driven Resources page. This new comprehensive webpage features information on the Jim Bernstein mentoring philosophy, along with documents, applications and resources for the Mentoring and Educational Exchange scholarship programs. These guides and resources help ensure the mentoring experience is beneficial for all parties involved. If you’re looking for other opportunities for professional development, be sure to check out the Rural Health Leadership Institute and the SORH Proficiencies framework.
For more information or with questions, contact Chris Salyers, Education and Services Director, at email@example.com.
The following update was provided by Hall Render, NOSORH Policy Liaison:
Thanks to the efforts of many, President Trump signed into law the State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act of 2018 in the final hours of the 115th Congress. The bill signing was a culmination of two years of hard work by State Offices of Rural Health, their partners and Hall Render in educating members of Congress and Congressional Committees on the importance of SORHs to our nation’s rural health care. Special acknowledgement to Senator Roberts (KS) for introducing the bill, Representative Mullin (OK) and Representative Schrader (OR) and their staff for supporting SORH.
The bill (S. 2278), which is now public law, reauthorizes the SORH grant program for the first time since its creation in the early 1990s. It also authorizes $12.5 million in federal funding for the SORH grant program between fiscal years 2018 and 2022.
The bill passed the House on December 19 by a roll call vote of 357-4 and was sent to the President on December 27. The New Year’s Eve bill signing was one of the final Presidential actions of 2018.
NOSORH’s Grant Writing Institute—Beyond the Basics is now on-demand! This course is designed for individuals looking for education beyond the introductory or beginning level. This is the only grant education of its kind focused on rural health grant writers. Topics will include learning communication strategies to connect with funders, using work plans to meet basic grant reporting, understanding how to create meaningful evaluation tools, and how to use data. Past participation in NOSORH’s Grant Writing Institute is not required.
To view the brochure, please click here.
To register, click here.
For more information, contact Tammy Norville at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health has partnered with Lilypad, LLC to implement the Practice Operations National Database (POND™) program, a web-based data collection, reporting and benchmarking application for rural primary care providers. POND is a unique benchmarking program which focuses on rural-relevant financial, operational, productivity and compensation measures. POND provides a vehicle for rural practices to selectively share blinded operational and productivity data and to use peer benchmark information to guide improvements in performance and inform recruitment/retention and hospital-physician alignment activities.
POND will benefit SORHs wishing to:
POND provides an easy, consistent approach to engage RHCs and other primary care providers. It can also be used to promote community between rural primary care providers through data-based discussions and can establish the SORH as a source of relevant and unique resources.
Annual fees for SORHs are $2500 for states with fewer than 90 RHCs and $3500 for states with more than 90 RHCs. This annual fee enables all rural primary care practices in your state to participate in POND.
If you have any additional questions, contact Kassie Clarke.