Register Soon for the SORH Leadership Institute!

i May 1st No Comments by

State Offices are invited to register for the brand-new Learning to Lead: The Jim Bernstein SORH Leadership Institute! This 12-part, online Institute provides rural-focused professional development for State Office of Rural Health (SORH) staff in current and future leadership positions. Registration is filling up quickly, so be sure to register by Friday, May 10, to reserve your spot!

Check out the Leadership Institute Flyer and Leadership Institute webpage for additional information, including session descriptions, registration information, and pricing.

Don’t miss this unique development opportunity to enhance your ability to provide influential leadership and management within your State Office (and earn a Rural Health Leadership certificate)! Please contact Tammy Norville for more information.

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State Offices Invited to Register for the Rural Health Leadership Institute

i Apr 1st No Comments by

Registration is now open for the brand-new Learning to Lead: The Jim Bernstein SORH Leadership Institute! NOSORH designed this 12-part, online Institute exclusively for State Office of Rural Health (SORH) staff in current and future leadership positions. Inspired by the Jim Bernstein Mentoring Philosophy, the sessions provide rural-focused professional development to build the skills, characteristics and knowledge base needed for effective leadership of a SORH.

Sessions begin May 16 and will be held every other Thursday from 1:00-2:30 pm ET. A Rural Health Leadership certificate will be awarded to participants who meet all Institute requirements.

Check out the Leadership Institute Flyer and Leadership Institute webpage for additional information, including session descriptions, registration information, and pricing.

Registration closes Friday, May 10, 2019.

Don’t miss this unique development opportunity to enhance your ability to provide influential leadership and management within your State Office! Please contact Tammy Norville for more information.

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Learning to Lead: Session Descriptions

i Mar 21st No Comments by

Orientation Session – EduBrite Learning Management System (MANDATORY)
MAY 16, 2019

SESSION 1 LEAD: Introduction to the Leadership Institute
MAY 30, 2019

The first session will introduce the Institute and will outline the course progression and requirements. Participants will be introduced to the Jim Bernstein leadership philosophy with a focus on general principles of community driven leadership, program management and accountability. Discussion topics include: the differences and similarities between leadership and management, the SORH Leader role, and an assessment of their own leadership and how it relates to their SORH capacity.


  • Define and compare the concepts of leadership and management
  • Summarize the framework of the Bernstein leadership philosophy
  • Understand their own leadership style, strengths and challenges


SESSION 2 LEAD: “Big Picture” Viewing
JUNE 13, 2019

Session 2 explores the concepts of vision. What is vision? Who has it? Learn the basics of how to complete an environmental scan to ensure an understanding population health, community health needs and other data to help understand rural health in your state and to shape an overall vision. Participants will review the NOSORH Futures Framework for rural communities and SORH to understand how to select a goal to impact change in rural health status in your state.


  • Utilize environmental scanning and understanding health needs to identify a vision relevant to need
  • Examine the role of a “vision” and big picture thinking in leadership positions including environmental scans
  • Describe the top 5 NOSORH futures topics

SESSION 3 LEAD: Think Entrepreneurially
JUNE 27, 2019

This session will dive into the concept of entrepreneurial thinking and explore how future thinking is essential to successful leadership. Successful entrepreneur leaders must engage in risk analysis, ongoing evaluation and program assessment to ensure they see the bigger picture to imagine possibilities outside of their own self-awareness. Participants will learn how to leverage resources with partners and to consider how to implement revenue generation strategies to grow funding beyond typical SORH grants.


  • Define and explore the concept of entrepreneurial thinking
  • Define the current integration and use of healthcare concepts in your SORH work and the impact on leadership
  • Explore opportunities for leveraging and diversification of funds for SORH and their partners


SESSION 4 LEAD: The Importance of Being Informed & Informative

JULY 18, 2019

Session 5 digs in to understanding rural health landscape in context of the past and future and technology, policy and healthcare environments including a general overview of the healthcare revenue cycle and reimbursement basics. The session will explore how to find resources to address those including trusted advisors, subject matter experts and models that work. How do you best frame and influence others to understand needs and potential solutions for rural communities to what target audience? Participants will be introduced to strategies for being a trusted advisor to policy makers, partners to show that you “bring the rural brain to the game”.


  • Understand rural health landscape and environments of the past present and future including healthcare reimbursement basics Frame the key rural health challenges and opportunities from the environmental scan to influence key rural health target audiences
  • Identify relevant resources necessary to address key rural health challenges
  • Summarize the role of trusted advisors and their impact on leadership strategies


SESSION 5 LEAD: Visionary Inspiration

JULY 25, 2019

What is an “inspired” vision? How can you lead change with an inspired vision? Session 4 will help participants to identify, develop and implement strategies which help them to be inspired and inspire others to implement that vision. Learn how to articulate vision effectively so that a team wants to “follow your lead”. The roles of resiliency and being a change agent in your current environment will be introduced. General concepts of psychology and how group behavior affects how a group can be inspired by appropriate vision development, articulation and implementation. This session will explore some scenarios in how leadership and team challenges can be addressed.


  • Utilize communication techniques of inspired leaders
  • Understand the role of a change agent and examine the potential for that role in your SORH
  • Identify and utilize a key resiliency strategy to ensure and maintain vital, inspired leadership in your state


SESSION 6 LEAD: Lifelong Learning

AUGUST 8, 2019
This session will examine lifelong learning in its purest form; from “do you know it all” to being open to different perspectives. What about diversity dynamics? How do they play out within your leadership style, the overall SORH vision and how the SORH is managed? Discussion of how we can learn from collaboration and community development models will include concepts of adult learning and how to use those concepts to further your leadership.


  • Describe the role of lifelong learning in leadership and management
  • Describe and define dynamics of diversity and potential rural health aspects
  • Identify 3 community development models which can ensure lifelong leadership lessons


SESSION 7 MANAGE: Be the “Worker Bee”
AUGUST 22, 2019

In session this session effective program management skills are introduced including planning, organizing and controlling a rural health program. Participants will learn to use the SORH Proficiencies self-assessment and be provided a perspective on the program planning and management functions needed to administer a successful rural health programs and partnerships.


  • Identify opportunities to build capacity to perform SORH core functions
  • Utilize program planning a management techniques and tools to ensure a plan for achieving an inspired vision
  • Ensure effective and efficient program evaluation techniques


SESSION 8 MANAGE: SORH Operational Literacy

This session will take a deeper dive into the operational aspects and functions of managing the resources of the SORH program and “business”. Topics covered will include planning, organizing and controlling both financial and staff resources. Components of business planning; best practices for team accountability will be examined. The session will dig into succession planning as an operational necessity (what if you — the person “in charge” — suddenly left?) and examine trends in turnover rates — potential root causes and possible tips and tricks to develop a well-balanced team culture and retention plan.


  • Describe and define the concept of Operational Literacy
  • Identify three ways a grants manager may plan, organize and control financial resources
  • Describe and define characteristics of a well- balanced team culture
  • Define components of succession and retention planning


SESSION 9 COMMUNITY: Approaching Approachableness
SEPTEMBER 26, 2019

The ability to establish and nurture community relationships is a key factor in the success or failure of a leader’s vision development, articulation and implementation. In this session, participants will explore the concept of social capital and what makes a community want to stay engaged. This session will also review ways to leverage/integrate programs such as Flex, SHIP, and SORH to get the highest value (ROI) while being true to the “big picture” vision.


  • Appraise various models of stakeholder engagement which encourages future connections
  • Demonstrate the capacity to nurture and sustain relationships with communities and partners
  • Define social capital and discuss its role in achieving a vision


SESSION 10 COMMUNITY: Pay It Forward Community Partnerships
OCTOBER 3, 2019

Humility and a generous spirit are two of the traits of great leaders. Session 10 will explore this concept of a desire to cultivate leadership skill in others including how to apply components of succession planning (developing the people around you) and becoming a community driven leader. This session will review the foundational concepts of the Bernstein leadership philosophy, why this philosophy is key to improving the future of rural health and the emphasis on developing future leaders. Power of Rural resources will be reviewed to demonstrate their use to support community leaders.


  • List the key attributes of a community driven leader
  • Understand the role of community in improving rural health and the use of the Power of Rural tools to support community leaders
  • Summarize how succession planning applies to development of community leadership and the improvement of rural health
  • List partnerships for rural health services and examine their impact on collaboration and or community development models

SESSION 11 Presentations
OCTOBER 17, 2019

Presentations are a formal recap of all assignments; which shall include an identified vision, demonstrating a personal understanding of how the session learning objectives and other aspects of the Jim Bernstein Leadership Philosophy provide a framework for the participants’ future work with rural communities. Participants shall be able to describe how this philosophy plays into current leader’s success or failure and how each of the newly introduced topics can be integrated into their leadership efforts and succession planning in their office and with rural communities. The participant must make a presentation in order to earn the Rural Health Leadership certificate.


SESSION 12 Wrap Up
OCTOBER 31, 2019

We’ll begin with a recap of where we’ve been and what we’ve explored – what, where, when, why, and how of leadership and management and using these leadership skills to inform the work of NOSORH and other SORH on ensuring innovative rural health infrastructure, leading population health and health equity initiatives and building capacity for data driven programming. This session will be discussion based with no formal presentation.

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Rural Health Leadership Institute

i Mar 7th No Comments by

Learning to Lead: The Jim Bernstein SORH Leadership Institute, is designed to grow engaged, equipped, and resilient leaders and to provide rural focused professional development to current and future leaders and managers of State Offices.

This 12-part live webinar series is exclusively for State Office of Rural Health (SORH) staff.

The purpose of the Jim Bernstein SORH Leader Institute: Learning to Lead is to assist SORH staff to:

  • determine baseline status of their current leadership;
  • establish a foundational understanding of the unique leadership roles and concepts within a SORH to become a recognized resource in their state and to support capacity building to assist in reduction SORH leadership turnover;
  • develop, articulate and implement an inspired vision;
  • establish a succession plan.

“Rare is the leader who so many would claim as mentor and friend.”

This quote from the Resolution adopted June 14, 2005 by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, DHHS, sums up the character, integrity and legacy of Jim Bernstein. It’s also part of the inspiration for the Institute title — Learning to Lead.

I was fortunate to know the man a little, meaning he knew who I was and thanked me for my service. But, more importantly, I was one of the many “next generation” rural servant leaders forever changed by his passion, philosophy and dedication to community-driven rural service.

I’m excited to share this new Institute with you and hope you will join me on the journey to uncover your leader-potential!

Tammy Norville

A Certificate of Rural Health Leadership will be awarded to participants at the conclusion of the Institute when a participant:

  • attends and completes quizzes for 75% of the 12 sessions
  • satisfactorily submits 75% of seven (7) homework assignments (approximately 30 minutes to complete each assignment)
  • develops and completes the Institute presentation (built on homework assignments)
  • completes the final comprehensive evaluation of the Institute.

Contact Tammy Norville at (888) 391-7258 ext. 105 or tammyn@nosorh.org for additional information

Coming Soon: SORH Leadership Institute

i Feb 4th No Comments by

NOSORH is delighted to announce the newly developed Learning to Lead: The Jim Bernstein SORH Leadership Institute. This 12-part (90 minute sessions), online Institute is designed exclusively for State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) , focusing on the skills, characteristics and knowledge base important to successful leadership of a SORH. The Institute cost is $1,000 including all webinars, materials, optional in-person experiences and a Certificate of Completion. It is expected to start this spring and will deploy a variety of expert speakers and interesting materials (including TED Talks) to spark innovative leadership thinking and action.

The Institute is designed for SORH staff in current and rising leadership and/or management positions interested in developing the unique skill set required to become and remain an effective leader and manager in the rural health environment. The Institute includes topics that build capacity within the SORH Proficiencies framework and is inspired by the Jim Bernstein Mentoring Philosophy.

Jim Bernstein and the early leaders of the SORH movement were masters of change; they knew how to work within existing policy frameworks and built sustainable programs that addressed longstanding problems. Participants will focus on general principles of community driven leadership, program management and accountability. It is that philosophy that serves as the foundation of NOSORH’s efforts to cultivate the next generation of rural health leaders.

“I’m a former student of Jim Bernstein and am passionate about leadership,” said Tammy Norville, NOSORH Technical Assistance Director and Institute lead. “I know it’s going be an excellent opportunity for all.”

Additional information will be forthcoming, including registration information, full description of the sessions and requirements for earning a Certificate of Completion. In the meantime, contact Tammy (tammyn@nosorh.org) for additional assistance.


SORH Proficiencies

State Office of Rural Health Proficiencies and Self-Assessment

The SORH Proficiencies are a member-driven set of competencies and proficiencies which will help build the capacity of all 50 SORH and guide the educational strategy of NOSORH. The Proficiencies include a set of four target areas with their own rubrics, an instructional Proficiencies Guide that includes the rubrics and definitions, a self-assessment, and future Benchmarking Report.

Webinar: SORH Capacity Building Webinar: Overview of the Proficiencies and Self-Assessment (9-18-2018)

Webinar Recording

Webinar Slide

Target Area Rubrics
Target Area 1: Grants Management
Target Area 2: Information Dissemination
Target Area 3: Funding
Target Area 4: Organizational Structure

Instructional Materials
SORH Proficiencies Guide
SORH Proficiencies FAQ Fact Sheet

Assessing Your Office
SORH Proficiencies Self-Assessment
2020 Proficiencies Benchmarking Report
2019 Proficiencies Benchmarking Report

Weekly Radio Program Interviews Rural Health Leaders: Let’s Hear from Your SORH

i Jul 21st No Comments by

An up-and-coming weekly radio program is bringing attention to the work of rural health leaders across the country by providing an avenue to share ideas, success stories and lessons learned. Rural Health Leadership Radio, founded by Bill Auxier, is a free podcast featuring leaders of clinics, hospitals, organizations, and communities working to make a difference in rural health. State Offices of Rural Health are encouraged to contact Auxier to share their lessons in leadership and to connect their stakeholders to this great resource.

After moving to Florida, Auxier was having a conversation with the CEO of a Critical Access Hospital and asked what his greatest challenge is as a leader in rural health. His response was that it is hard to know what other rural health leaders are doing that’s working or not working, and what new things they are trying. He could learn these things by going to meetings, but that costs time and money that he didn’t have. He wished there was an easy, cost-free way for sharing that information.

“The next day, I was out for a run listening to my favorite podcast. In the middle of my run a light bulb went off! I wonder if anybody is doing a podcast focused on rural health?” When Auxier researched it, and couldn’t find anything of its kind, that’s when Rural Health Leadership Radio was born. The first episode launched in July 2016 and had 24 downloads.

“I was excited about that because I don’t have 24 people in my family, so I knew somebody other than a family member had listened to it.”

Since then, there have been over 6,000 downloads across 22 countries. And this is all without any formal promotion. Most guests come as referrals from other guests or from meeting people at events Auxier attends. When rural organizations have been recognized for their work, he will reach out to them as well.

“My whole goal is to share stories,” Auxier said. “It’s always good to hear success stories, but more importantly, it’s the lessons that we’ve learned from our failures. I always try to get my guests to share a lesson learned story. I think a lot of times those are the most powerful stories.”

Auxier grew up in the bean fields of Southern Illinois and at the age of 17 was introduced to rural health care when he got his first job as a nurse’s aide at a local rural hospital. After graduating from college, he worked in sales for a medical supply distributor and worked his way up to CEO of a surgical device company. Auxier has a Ph.D. in Leadership and provides coaching for healthcare executives. He strongly believes that leadership and communication are two of the most important aspects that affect the outcomes of any organization.

“I ask every guest what their definition of leadership is,” stated Auxier. “It’s always interesting to hear the different definitions. There are always commonalities, but also subtle differences. I find that fascinating. I also ask how they got into health care and how they got into rural health in particular. Everybody has a different journey in how they got to where they are and it helps my listeners get to know that individual better.”

Auxier recently applied for Rural Health Leadership Radio to become a 501c3, stressing that this is not a money-making venture; instead, it is his way of giving back. He would eventually like to offer scholarships for students who plan to pursue a career in rural health care or help practicing rural health leaders take advantage of leadership development programs.

“I’m totally humbled and delighted at the same time to be able to talk to some of the movers and shakers in rural health,” said Auxier. “Whether they are movers and shakers that anybody else knows about it is not the important part. It’s that they’re making a contribution. By sharing these stories, I’m hoping that somewhere in rural America, if someone can pick up one nugget that helps deliver health care in a rural part of the world, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

SORH colleagues, such as John Barnas, Executive Director of the Michigan Center for Rural Health, and NOSORH Executive Director, Teryl Eisinger, have been featured on the program. If you would like to be a guest on Rural Health Leadership Radio or if you would like to recommend a guest, please send an email to bill@billauxier.com

Visit www.Rhlradio.com to listen to the podcasts.

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Margaret Brockman – February 2017

i Feb 17th No Comments by

Margaret Brockman
Nebraska Office of Rural Health


How did you get to where you are now with the Nebraska SORH?
Most of my career has been in nursing. I started out doing hospital work and taught nursing courses at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the University of Texas at Tyler. I was then a rehabilitation consultant and started my own company doing consulting work for insurance companies. When I first went into business, case management was in its infancy. I developed a lot of nurses in that role and did a lot of speaking on it. I’ve gone between teaching and consulting work for several years and still occasionally teach case management and nursing administration classes at Nebraska Wesleyan. I started at the Nebraska Office of Rural Health 3 ½ years ago under Dave Palm and moved into the position of administrator for the Office when he left. The entrepreneur in me has been perfect for my role at the SORH because I have been able to develop pilot programs and come up with new ideas to try in the state. That’s the part I love!

What is the most important thing you are working on right now?
We are working hard on integrated care, which includes building patient-centered medical homes, dental and oral care, and the mental health aspect of it. Because we are a large state with 64 CAHs and over 140 RHCs, we must rely on telemedicine because we just don’t have the number of providers needed in the state. This includes the recruitment and retention of healthcare providers.

It’s also important to know what’s going on nationally. The opioid crisis hasn’t hit Nebraska as strong as other areas, but it doesn’t mean we must wait until it gets here. How do we keep ahead of it? Being involved in national organizations helps me do that. Our Department recently applied for a SAMHSA grant we have been part of and we have started on a pilot project where we will have a rural hospital be the hub for opioid patients. I’ve been working with our prescription drug monitoring program as they have been identifying where our “hotspots” are. Communities can send patients to this hub with a provider and nurses on staff who are trained to care for those individuals, supplementing with telehealth. What I hope to do is use swing beds if patients need to go through withdrawal. We will be bringing these parties together and using a facilitator to help build the infrastructure. Right now, I have momentum with the behavioral health providers and a payor on board who are willing to participate. It will take all of us.

What is the biggest challenge facing SORH leaders today?
As a newer SORH Director, my challenge has been to get myself out there so people know what’s available through our Office and how we can assist them. How do you build those collaborations and include everyone, especially in a large, mostly rural state? How do I let those hospitals know that they don’t have to do things all by themselves? I am trying to make our website more current and interactive so people are aware of what we have to offer and can easily access our resources. We’re also working on moving from paper to electronic applications and resources.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a SORH leader?
I’m always making sure my team has the ability to attend classes and conferences to increase their knowledge of current issues. I want to give them opportunities to grow and develop in areas they want. I challenge them to take on new things and look at how we can do things differently. If it sounds crazy, that’s okay! I have a lot of crazy ideas, but I’m willing to try them. I hope as a leader that I lead by example; that they see me come up with these ideas and actually get them up and running.

Temi Oshiyoye – January 2017

i Jan 13th No Comments by

Temi Oshiyoye
Maryland State Office of Rural Health


How did you get to where you are now?
I went to school in Indiana where I got my bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in public health with a concentration in behavioral and community health. I started working with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in January 2014 as the SORH Program Administrator. After 6 months of working, the SORH Director at the time got another offer and I applied for the position of the Maryland SORH Director.

What inspires you or excites you most about working for a SORH?
The breadth of impact I can make across the state. When I took over the position, I traveled across the state and went to all 18 rural counties to develop a relationship and understand each county’s unique rural health needs. During my visits with the key healthcare players, I realized that partners are excited to work collaboratively to make a change within their communities. My current partnership with other state agencies has given me an opportunity to advocate for initiatives and funding to address rural issues in Maryland. One of SORH’s partners, the Rural Maryland Council, was awarded state funds to provide grants to the rural communities. Based on my relationship with the organization, I was able to write the grant requirement for rural health based on what partners have informed me during my visits. This grant opportunity allowed us to award $324,937 to 8 rural health community organizations. This has given me drive and inspiration to find more statewide initiatives that can improve access to care in rural Maryland.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My mom. She has a strong, dedicated, and determined. Whatever she sets her mind to, she gets done. She went back to school to get her PhD at 50. She had so many discouragements, but she had her mind set on it and she did it. Her strength inspires me.

What is one characteristic that you believe every SORH leader should possess?
It’s important to be a “peacemaker”—a person who tries to create peace and foster collaboration. Our counties have unique needs, but their needs are also very similar. Many are working in silos, so it’s important for a SORH leader to be able to build relationships and encourage collaboration because in the end we are all working towards one goal.

What are some great things about rural health in Maryland?
The uniqueness of rural health in Maryland. Maryland isn’t a typical rural state, which sometimes makes me feel like we get the short end of the stick, but with new leadership within the state, there has been a lot of focus on rural health needs in different statewide initiatives. I’m pulled in on these meetings and discussions which helps to voice these needs. This year SORH is involved in a couple of initiatives: Tax Credit Preceptor Program- this program authorizes a credit against the State income tax for individuals who have served as a preceptor in healthcare workforce shortage areas of the state. Preceptors receive $1000 tax credit for each student they precept for 160 hours of clinical rotation. The idea is to expose students and encourage physicians to stay in rural and underserved communities. In addition, the SORH and other partners are currently writing a new rural health plan, which will come later this year.

Jody Ward – September 2016

i Dec 22nd No Comments by

Jody Ward
Senior Project Coordinator
North Dakota Center for Rural Health

How did you get to where you are now?
I have a master’s degree in Advanced Public Health Nursing from the University of North Dakota and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Minot State University. Before joining the Center for Rural Health in 2008, I was a Health Care QI Project Coordinator for our state’s QIO and was an ICU registered nurse. I currently coordinate activities of the ND Flex Program. I have led the ND CAH Quality Network(Network) in a number of quality and patient safety initiatives and serve as a liaison to statewide stakeholders, facilitating the exchange of information and network development.

What are 3 great things about rural health in your state?
1. The Network serves as a platform for CAHs to share best practices, policies and processes to improve quality improvement and safer patient care.

2. ND CAHs have strength in numbers!  100% (36/36) participate in the Network to share ideas or topics. Through collaborative work of the Network, ND Flex Program, SORH and other stakeholders, a statewide stroke system of care was developed.

3. The ND Flex Program provides an opportunity for CAH staff to learn from their peers.The Rural Healthcare Peer Exchange Program provides travel support for individuals or small groups to meet with similar entities from other areas of the state and share information and successful approaches to improving quality and access to healthcare services.

What is the most important thing you are working on right now?
The Network recently completed an update to a  CMS Conditions of Participation CAH regulations checklist that has been created using Flex funding. The checklist highlights conditions that require policies and processes in place to meet the regulation. The technical assistance provided has been identified by our CAHs as a top priority area. In addition to the checklist, the Network hosts quarterly webinar meetings, which all ND CAHs join with their teams to discuss their state survey experience, and deficiencies, along with their plans of correction.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
I stay engaged in rural topics and always look for opportunities to learn from what others are doing. I regularly attend meetings offered by our project officers and national technical assistance center, attend education opportunities, volunteer to be on committees (a good way to meet other state programs), and read as much as I can. Engage other state programs and ask how they had success on something and learn from them.

What do you do when you are not working?
Make memories with my husband of 33 years and 2 daughters. We also have 2 little dogs that I groom and walk. I am a movie-goer, enjoy reading, and attend Aqua Dance and Aqua Exercise 3 days a week.