The NOSORH Educational Exchange Committee is pleased to announce a newly revamped Educational Exchange Scholarship program! Known by many names previously, the Educational Exchange Scholarship program is designed to provide State Office of Rural Health (SORH) employees with travel funds for the opportunity to visit with peers in a face-to-face manner and exchange best practices.
Included in this revamp is a new application form, a new web-based evaluation format for both the traveler and the host state, and a soon to be newly designed set of “areas of expertise” on the NOSORH website.
“The revamped process will not only allow NOSORH members to easily apply for an educational exchange travel scholarship, but it’s accompanying content expertise list (being updated this summer) will make it easier to connect with offices that have skills to share,” said workgroup member Kirby Lecy (MA). “Most importantly, the whole process helps create the building blocks to other mentorship and educational empowerment programs, so SORH staff can be supported in all levels of development both personally and for their State Office.”
The areas of expertise currently listed on the website will become more specific to assist members in searching for someone with the right expertise for an exchange. They will be updated by SORH at the NOSORH Regional Meetings and updated on the NOSORH website once complete. The application form continues as a fillable PDF document so that it calculates totals and makes for an easier application process; while moving the evaluations to Survey Monkey will make the process easier for those completing the evaluation. More information on these documents can be found on the NOSORH website here.
NOSORH would like to thank the Educational Exchange Scholarship working group: Ashley Wallace (KS), Kirby Lecy (MA) and Melinda Merrell (SC)) for guidance on revamping the program and documents. Their insight was imperative in making programmatic changes to meet the greatest needs of the NOSORH membership.
The three nonprofit State Offices of Rural Health gathered for their third annual meeting on September 27-28. Hosted by the Michigan Center for Rural Health (MCRH), the Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC) and the South Carolina Office of Rural Health (SCORH) traveled to Lansing, MI, for two days of collaborative discussion and exploration.
“As nonprofit SORHs, we are built and run a little differently than other SORHs. It’s helpful to learn how we all manage and engage with our Quality Networks, board of directors, and recruitment efforts,” said John Barnas, MCRH director.
To assist with the associated travel costs, Michelle Mills, CRHC director, and Graham Adams, SCORH director, utilized the NOSORH Educational Exchange scholarships to cover the costs of their travel to Lansing. Leveraging the available resource from NOSORH.
“The educational exchange with Michigan and South Carolina are an invaluable opportunity to share,” said Mills. “We don’t only share; we learn and help one another with creating innovation and sustainability as a nonprofit.” Mills also added that coming away from this meeting, she found high value in the takeaways that “true collaboration with an ACO allows the SORH access to data that helps our CAHs move into the future, and taking the entire SORH staff to visit with a rural community creates real excitement for our mission and vision as SORHs.”
“We find the educational exchange with Michigan and Colorado extremely rewarding,” said Adams. “It’s always great to learn from the other nonprofit SORHs, share struggles regarding staffing, board governance and overall sustainability. At this meeting, we focused a lot on how we might do things together to better serve our rural communities.”
SORH continually state that they often learn best from other SORH. To facilitate this peer-to-peer learning, NOSORH’s Education Exchange committee focuses on enhancing the leadership of SORH through education and training assistance. The EE committee oversees the topics/suggestions for webinars, learning communities, institutes, mentoring, toolkits and promising practices. Co-Chairs Natalie Claiborne (MT) and Scott Ekblad (OR) lead the work of the Education Exchange Committee. “The Education Exchange committee is working with other NOSORH committees and the NOSORH Board to enhance the learning opportunities for SORHs. This is a great time for SORHs to weigh in on their educational needs,” encourages Scott Ekblad.
In addition to the many learning opportunities provided by NOSORH, travel scholarships may be used by NOSORH members to visit another SORH in order to:
Click here to access the application.
The NOSORH Board has been considering a strategic focus for educational activities. A high priority for NOSORH is to “Identify high-value educational activities and other services to serve SORH through the CA and other resource”. Last month members of the Executive Committee, Education Exchange, FLEX and PPMT committees met to focus on how NOSORH should refine educational goals and best plan to meet the educational needs of SORH.
Stephanie Hansen, NOSORH’s Education and Services Director explains, “This is an exciting time to plan education opportunities for SORH while still in the midst of health reform.” If you are interested in helping to plan future learning activities, contact Natalie or Scott to join the committee.