Last month, representatives from 12 primary care offices (PCOs) attended the PCO Training Academy and Mentoring Kickoff meeting. The meeting, planned by NOSORH and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), was held at the ASTHO offices in Crystal City, VA.
The training academy brings together six selected mentors and six mentees as they undertake a formal mentoring experience. The kickoff meeting is the initial step in the mentoring experience where mentees are provided an orientation to the role of a PCO from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce. In addition, mentees learn about the PCO National Committee, traditional primary care access points, the evolution of primary care, and engage in a number of peer-led discussions leveraging the expertise of the mentors.
This year’s mentees come from the states of AR, DE, GA, ID, MS and VT. Experienced PCO staff from the states of CO, NE, NH, NY, TN and VA have been gracious with assisting their peers through mentoring. The PCO mentoring program is supported by NOSORH as a subcontract under ASTHO’s NOSLO Cooperative Agreement with HRSA. In addition to supporting the mentoring program, NOSORH also provides logistical support to the PCO National Committee and assists with the development of ASTHO resources for primary care and rural health issues.
During the 2018 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting, NOSORH presented Addressing the Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities: Identified challenges, opportunities and available resources. This work was done in partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) with funding from HRSA. Participants learned about challenges to multi-sector rural Networks, were introduced to joint ASTHO/NOSORH resources, and discovered ways that their State Office of Rural Health (SORH) and State Health Official (SHO) could assist in their efforts.
“This was a great opportunity for the public health sector to learn about the value of a SORH and begin thinking about what connections need to be made,” said Chris Salyers, NOSORH Education and Services Director. “Very few people in the room were familiar with SORHs, so I feel like we hit the exact audience that needed to learn about them.”
Numerous other presenters at the conference also pointed to the importance of a SORH during their presentations, including County Health Rankings community coaches, NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, and the Indiana Rural Health Association. Melinda Merrell of the South Carolina Office of Rural Health presented her dissertation research related to the impact of rural hospital closures. Congratulations, Melinda!