The 9th annual National Rural Health Day (NRHD) was celebrated on November 21, 2019, with a record number of nationwide events held by State Offices of Rural Health, rural partners, communities, providers and other stakeholders. What began as an annual, single day of recognition has grown to be a national conversation and movement! On November 21 alone, the #PowerofRural trended on Twitter with over 3,400 tweets and 16 million impressions, surpassing 2018’s numbers by 9 million impressions! The week of NRHD saw an astounding 19.8 million impressions and close to 5,000 tweets!
NOSORH was honored to release the 2019 Community Stars e-book on NRHD. This year’s publication (also available for purchase in a new hard copy format) features the inspiring stories of individuals and organizations from 44 different states who are working every day to make a difference in their rural communities through innovation, collaboration, education and communication. Close to 100 nominations were received, so thank you to all who took the time to nominate a deserving rural health hero. Please be sure to take a moment to read these incredible stories and be sure to shine a light on your state’s star!
There was no shortage of opportunities to celebrate the Power of Rural this year. Featured activities included a two-week screening of the award-winning documentary film The Providers, a weeklong lineup of events hosted by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and other national agencies and organizations, Walk with a Doc walks, and a call to action to post the #PowerofRural at 11:21 in each time zone to create a coast-to-coast virtual conversation. The Rural Medical Education (RME) Collaborative partnered with NOSORH to host a free online CME event on November 23 for rural primary care clinicians. Hundreds of providers participated in this unique, inaugural event. NOSORH also hosted a live webinar discussion with The Providers documentary filmmakers and Matthew Probst, PA-C, one of three rural health care providers featured in the film. The recording can be found here on the NOSORH website. Additionally, NOSORH and the RHIhub co-hosted the Twitter chat “Access to Funding for Rural Health Projects”, featuring special guests from HRSA, USDA Rural Development, Healthcare Collaborative of Rural Missouri, American Hospital Association, Rural Philanthropy Analysis Project, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Helmsley Charitable Trust Rural Healthcare. Click here for a transcript of the chat and resources shared.
Along with the multitude of events promoted by national partners, all 50 State Offices of Rural Health across the country took part in NRHD activities, including obtaining 25 gubernatorial proclamations. State Offices conducted site visits, held contests, presented rural health awards, reached out to policymakers, produced videos, hosted The Providers screening parties, held rural health conferences and meetings, presented to medical students, engaged in social media conversations, and much more.
As always, NOSORH greatly appreciates the support and engagement of nationwide partners and the 50 State Offices of Rural Health! Your support helps NRHD receive broader national attention and reach new audiences to bring even more awareness to the amazing work being done in rural and underserved areas. Let’s work together to keep the Power of Rural momentum going throughout 2020! Mark your calendar for Thursday, November 19, 2020, and join NOSORH for the 10th annual National Rural Health Day.
The 2020 regional meetings are just around the corner and NOSORH is ready to start planning! All the sites and locations are secured and the planning committees are forming. If you are interested in volunteering for your region’s meeting planning committee, please contact Matt Strycker. NOSORH is now accepting speaker proposals for all 5 regional meetings and the NOSORH Annual Meeting. Proposals must be submitted by January 31, 2020.
Region A will take place on June 16-18, 2020, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square. It’s surrounded by restaurants and just a short walk over the Monongahela River into the heart of downtown. There will be a pre-meeting on the morning of June 16 (topic to be determined).
Region B will take place on May 5-7, 2020, in Lexington, Kentucky, at the Marriott Lexington City Center. Just a short walk from the city square with tons of restaurants and shops in downtown Lexington. There will be a pre-meeting on the morning of May 5 (topic to be determined).
Region C will take place on July 29-30, 2020, in Chicago, Illinois, at the Westin Michigan Avenue on the Magnificent Mile in the heart of downtown Chicago. There will be a pre-meeting on the afternoon of June 28 (topic to be determined).
Region D will take place on June 3-4, 2020 in Reno, Nevada, at the Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno. There is a rock climbing wall at the hotel, so bring your climbing gear! A pre-meeting will be held on the afternoon of June 2 (topic to be determined).
Region E is tentatively scheduled for July 15-16, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. NOSORH plans to host a pre-meeting the afternoon of July 14 (topic not yet determined).
Contact Matt Strycker, NOSORH Program Manager, if you have questions about any of these meetings.
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.
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.
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.