My Three Goals for 2015:

  1. Travel more for pleasure
  2. Make time for exercise
  3. Eat better and stop drinking Mountain Dew!

What is on your desk right now that you want/need to read?

The State Auditor’s Special Report on the Financial Strength of Kentucky’s Rural Hospitals

What do you do when you are not working?

Aside from my lengthy daily commute, I remain very involved with my family and in our community’s local school (124 kiddos grades K-8).  My wife and I also recently accepted an appointment to serve as Youth Pastors at our church.

What is the most important thing you are working on right now?

In January, we launched the first edition of our new magazine called The Bridge: Kentucky’s Connection to Rural Health Issues. This consumed a lot of energy and focus, but it has been a huge success.  This quarterly publication will focus on rural health issues and topics pertaining to the Commonwealth, while spotlighting individuals and programs that exemplify innovation or excellence in Kentucky’s rural health landscape.  The first edition of The Bridge is funded in part by federal HRSA Primary Care Office grant funds awarded through the Kentucky Primary Care Office.  We hope The Bridge will be used as a tool to provide key information to decision-makers and highlight best practices throughout the state.

What inspires you and excites you most about working for a SORH?

Every day is a new challenge, and no two days are alike.  I live in the most rural area of the state, so I live and breathe these issues.  With all the changes, it is almost overwhelming at times.  It is sometimes hard to see where your attention needs to be in that day.  I like to dig deep, but it difficult with just 5 staff.  However, this stimulates innovative and requires us to collaborate with others and not be so caught up in own world.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a SORH leader?

I like to surround myself with rural-minded people.  You become who you surround yourself with.  When you serve on committees and boards, you develop like minds.

How did you get to where you are now? (What positions, schooling, bumps along the road, etc., led you here?)

I worked as a pharmacy tech in school.  By trade, I am a registered rad tech.  I began working in clinics and hospitals.  I specialized in mobile MRI services and saw real rural healthcare.  I went back to school to change over to an administration mindset.  Next, I developed a career pathways grant program at a community college and then gained employment with a large rural FQHC in the state.  I got more involved in the grants side of things – black lung, etc., and conducted an EHR implementation for 30 providers until Jan 2013.

What skill sets do you think SORH staff need—and how did you achieve them? (And what skill sets are you looking to improve or expand upon next year?)

I am big on multi-tasking.  You need to be able to balance multiple projects at one time and think outside the box.  They need the freedom to openly share ideas, whether we implement or not.

How much do you unplug from the office? What do you do to unplug (and unwind)?

I unplug during my 13 hours I commute each week. I am also out on the road a lot visiting the state, so I listen to great music.  I am also very active in community, my church and daughter’s community school.

What are three great things about rural health in your state? What are the current challenges?

Medicaid expansion has been positive. The early adopters have had great successes. We have seen a big increase, but the sustainability is troublesome to me.

Lots of communities have embraced Smoke Free to protect employees from second hand smoke.

We all get along and have a sense of community. People work together.

What are three (life or work) lessons you would share?

  1. It is okay to say no. You don’t have to serve on a committee or speak at a conference.
  2. Respect is earned – I keep my word.
  3. You can’t let the little things get to you. I have to remind myself of this every day.

    Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a SORH leader? Maybe some one who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

Larry Allen – former director at SORH – took me in and really served as a mentor and still stays in contact.  He encouraged me to focus on my strengths and challenged me to reach beyond my comfort zone.