In December 2015, Chris Salyers (formerly with the KY SORH) participated in a NOSORH Educational Exchange with the Colorado Rural Health Center to learn more about their programs. Chris’s overall goal was to come back to Kentucky prepared to help implement new ideas and replicate some of CHRC best practices.

Over the course of a few days, Chris met with the majority of the Workforce and Outreach teams to identify areas of improvement for KORH. He spent time with Bridgette reviewing their policies and procedures for outreach – including their communications plan, marketing policies, and more. This exhaustive manual provides the framework for why CRHC is a leader at meeting the charge of information collection/dissemination.

Chris took away ideas and information on how KORH and the Kentucky 3RNet member could work together moving forward. CRHC also set up a meeting with the Colorado PCO, who manages the CO State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP). Chris shared, “While the majority of the meeting pertained to each state’s management practices it is always eye-opening to see how differently the program can be managed on a state-by-state basis. The meeting allowed me to evaluate the changes that KORH has been making to their SLRP and tweak them moving forward.”

The majority of the visit was spent with Melissa and Amanda, who provided major assistance on the KORH Annual Report and legislative packets for the NRHA Policy Institute. Chris continued, “You should have seen the marks and suggestions made on the KORH’s previous annual report to help make this year’s even better! This group really knows their stuff, and they offered some of the most constructive criticism I’ve ever received. “  CRHCs willingness to share their best practices with other states allowed KORH to develop a new publication, entitled “The State of Rural Health in Kentucky.”  Ernie Scott, Director of KORH, shared, “The collaborative nature of the CRHC empowered KORH to develop a new document that can be built upon for many years to come.”

In just a few short days, Chris feels he gained an invaluable skill set and made friends that he can call upon at any time for help.  And as he puts it, “This is, after all, exactly what an Educational Exchange is all about.”

Chris is happy to bring this experience to NOSORH and use this information to plan the upcoming Data Institute and to develop resources to assist SORHs with building capacity for data analysis.

“From experience, I know educational exchanges are a valuable opportunity for SORHs,” Chris continues.  Over the past few years, the top 5 reasons for educational exchanges include:

  1. Workforce and Recruitment Strategies
  2. Internal Policies and Procedures (including Strategic Planning and Board Development)
  3. Revenue Strategies
  4. Public Policy Issues
  5. Flex Program Best Practices

For more information on how to request an educational exchange, visit the NOSORH Travel Scholarship page or contact Chris Salyers.

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