Educational Exchange Scholarship

NOSORH promotes educational exchange and mentoring among SORH in recognition of the fact that SORHs often learn best from other SORH. Jim Bernstein, former Director of the North Carolina Office of Rural Health, was a mentor to many SORH around the nation. During his distinguished 35-year career, Jim Bernstein formed the first State Office of Rural Health (North Carolina) and served as president of the National Rural Health Association. He was also a model mentor for many leaders in the national rural health movement.

Jim Bernstein and the early leaders of the State Office of Rural Health movement were masters of change; they knew how to work within existing policy frameworks and built sustainable programs that addressed longstanding problems. It is that philosophy that dedication that serve as the foundation of NOSORH’s efforts to cultivate the next generation of rural health leaders.

Read the full Jim Bernstein Mentoring Philosophy.

What Resources are Available?

Any NOSORH member may request travel scholarships to meet with another SORH to learn about a topic of importance to that member’s SORH. Scholarships support travel which enable a NOSORH member to link with a mentor or peer at another SORH who will help that member develop or enhance his or her expertise and leadership skills; adopt a promising practice; and/or improve their program management or strategic planning/implementation effectiveness.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

SORH staff – including directors, FLEX coordinators, program coordinators or other staff – is eligible to apply for travel scholarships for educational exchange activities. Consultants to SORHs are not eligible.

NOSORH’s Web-based directory of SORH staff will be used to verify whether applicants are eligible for funding. Eligible applicants must also have the verifiable endorsement of their respective SORH director to apply for funds.

Complete and submit your application for approval to Chris Salyers.

To submit or if you need help or have questions, contact Donna Pfaendtner at (586) 336-4627 or

How May Scholarships be Used?

Travel scholarships may be used by NOSORH members to visit another SORH in order to:

  • Develop or enhance their rural health expertise or knowledge;

  • Cultivate their leadership skills;

  • Adopt a promising practice; or

  • Improve their program management and/or strategic planning and implementation effectiveness.

Travel scholarships may not be used to support the following activities:

  • Travel required by any federal grant;

  • Consulting fees for state-specific projects;

  • Activities already budgeted for by other funding streams; or

  • Conference travel

How Are Applications Approved?

Requests are approved by the Educational Exchange Committee Co-chairs.

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of need for support, compatibility of the project with Educational Exchange purpose, compliance with the Cooperative Agreement, reasonability of the requested budget and availability of funding. Applications may be approved for full or partial funding.

How Do I Receive My Scholarship Funds?

Scholarship funds are reimbursed according to NOSORH travel procedures outlined on the Travel Reimbursement Packet form. Requests for reimbursement must be submitted within 30 days of completion of the educational exchange; payment is made upon submittal of travel reimbursement request AND upon completion of the Educational Exchange Experience Evaluation.