May 2020

i May 18th No Comments by

Jim Harvey
Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health
Farm Worker Protection Safety Specialist
NOSORH Member since 2004

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Working with farmers

What I’m working on right now: Writing up Worker Protection Standard trainings for our Amish and Old Order Mennonite farmers

Last place I traveled to: The Crystal Coast of North Carolina

What I’m currently reading: Cave of Bones, by Anne Hillerman (a Navajo police mystery)

What was your first job? Hospital security

Where is your favorite place in the world? The Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico

What led you to a career in rural health? I was a Penn State farm safety extension educator prior to this position.

The SORH work that I am most proud of: Our compliance assistance

March 2019

i Mar 19th No Comments by

Terri Klinefelter
Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health
Outreach Coordinator
NOSORH Member Since 2003

Favorite thing about working at a SORH: Meeting so many people dedicated to improving the lives of others (especially those in rural communities).

What I’m working on right now: Coordinating PORH’s annual Community and Public Health conference and planning a new conference as part of a new initiative focused on addressing human trafficking.

Best advice I ever received: Change is hard…not changing is harder.

If I weren’t doing this, I would be…lost in the world.

Last place I traveled to: Nags Head, NC

Who inspires you? My husband and my two sons.

What I’m currently reading: “Educated” by Tara Westover

What’s your secret talent? Killings spiders on behalf of my husband.

Favorite quote: “Don’t be afraid to see what you see.” – Ronald Reagan

Promising Practice: Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health Puts Focus on Rural Human Trafficking

i Mar 4th No Comments by

By Beth Blevins

Human trafficking doesn’t just happen in big cities in the United States—it happens in rural areas as well. Lisa Davis, Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH), is working to bring more attention to this issue.

Davis said her interest in human trafficking came unexpectedly, at a presentation given at a Pennsylvania Critical Access Hospital Consortium meeting in November 2017. It was unclear if the topic resonated with the hospital leadership in the audience, she said. “But hospital CEOs came up to me after the meeting and told me they never knew that human trafficking was an issue in rural Pennsylvania or was something they should think about.”

Davis added, “It was clear that their facilities needed to be prepared to identify potential victims and to have systems in place to refer them for the services they would need.”

The administrators then asked if PORH could develop training programs for them. “PORH staff made a deliberate choice to train rural providers on the threat of human trafficking,” Davis said. “We know that we can be a resource for rural hospitals and other providers.”

Since the beginning of 2018, PORH has worked to address the issue in rural Pennsylvania. As a first step, a statewide committee of government, academic, community, and hospital representatives was organized. In November 2018, the group launched the Rural Human Trafficking Initiative with an introductory webinar targeting small rural hospitals, community-based organizations, and others interested in serving potential victims.

Since then, Davis said, “We continue to keep the hospitals informed—we’ve gotten a lot of interest from them.”

Davis also is reaching beyond Pennsylvania to raise awareness of rural human trafficking in other states. She gave a presentation in October 2018 at the Annual Meeting of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. “It was the first time anyone had talked about that topic at NOSORH,” Davis said.

“I wanted to have NOSORH begin to think about how State Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) could address human trafficking with the Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Clinics with which they work,” she said.

This summer, PORH and its partners will host a summit on rural human trafficking (June 26-27) in State College, Pennsylvania. “We are beginning to put in place some of the training programs that the hospitals can implement to identify point persons in their facilities, and the programs and connections that they need to address human trafficking,” Davis said.

Davis observed, “Human trafficking is often thought of as sexual exploitation but it’s also labor exploitation, which can occur essentially anywhere: in restaurants, domestic service, agricultural production, and more.”

Human trafficking is of special concern in Pennsylvania, Davis said, “because we are a state with two main cities and a number of interstate systems that traverse rural areas. With lots of travel routes into, out of, and through the state, it’s much easier to transport victims from one place to another.” According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were 127 cases of human trafficking in Pennsylvania in 2018, with the majority of those cases sex trafficking.

As PORH staff became more informed about human trafficking, Davis said, they found a large network of individuals and organizations that have been focusing on the issue for a long time.

“We’ve made excellent contacts,” she said. “We’ve connected with Villanova University’s Commercial Sexual Exploitation Institute. We’ve been learning about coordinated efforts between the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to address human trafficking. And we’re working with the Region III offices of HHS and HRSA, which have an intergovernmental task force focused on human trafficking.”

However, she noted, “PORH is still very early in the learning stage and is committed to becoming a trusted resource for rural health care providers.”

Davis concluded, “Every story is heartbreaking and if we can make a difference in even one life, this effort will be well worth it.”

If you see someone who you think might be a human trafficking victim, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 (text to: 233733).

Does your SORH have a “Promising Practice”? We’re interested in the innovative, effective and valuable work that SORHs are doing. Contact Ashley Muninger to set up a short email or phone interview in which you can tell your story.

Back to March Branch

Promising Practice: Pennsylvania SORH Coordinates Unique Agricultural Worker Safety Program

i Sep 30th No Comments by

By: Beth Blevins

For the last 12 years, Jim Harvey has been “poking along the back roads” of Pennsylvania, visiting agricultural producers across the state. The visits are both friendly and educational. Harvey, the state’s Rural Health Farm Worker Protection Safety Specialist, is there to teach farmers about the safe storage and use of agricultural pesticides, and to help them comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) (WPS), which aims to reduce the risk of pesticide poisoning and injury.


The is the only state WPS program that is coordinated through a State Office of Rural Health.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) wanted to provide growers with a source of technical assistance to help them comply with the guidelines outlined in the WPS,” said Lisa Davis, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH). “The WPS is a big deal for the state’s agricultural producers. They want to be in full compliance to be sure their workers are safe and to pass regular reviews by the PDA regional inspectors.”

PDA approached the SORH to implement the program, Davis said, because the office had a prior relationship with the state agency. “We had coordinated training for them in the past and they liked our enthusiasm and our competence,” Davis said. “We were funded to coordinate this program by being an organization that took its work very seriously. We also had excellent relationships with other programs at Penn State that were focused on farm safety and pesticide education, and we partnered with them to develop and implement the program.”

WPS covers farms, greenhouses, orchards, and nurseries—even organic farms are included, Davis said, if they employ people outside of their families. Most dairy farms are family-owned and family-run, so they don’t fall under WPS, according to Davis. The Pennsylvania program addresses the needs of all eligible agricultural production sites and pays special attention to migrant and immigrant farm workers, and to Amish and Anabaptist communities.

In his work, Harvey drives more than 20,000 miles a year, making anywhere from 50 to 100 full compliance visits, and 250 or more “drop-by” visits. “I do not inspect, nor do I tell inspectors what I see—I’m there to educate,” Harvey said. “I answer questions that people might be afraid to ask of a government official.”

After the initial visit, Harvey does two or more follow-up visits when he is back in the area. “I drop by regularly to see if they have more questions or need more materials and information,” he said. Harvey serves as a resource on other state regulations and guidelines, and is a trusted source of referrals to other farm safety programs offered by Penn State, Penn State Extension, and other state and national groups.

Harvey’s university car is a “resource on wheels” for the growers and is stocked with WPS materials as well as any information the producers and their employees might need. This includes information on the ACA’s Health Insurance Marketplace, and information Harvey compiled on Lyme disease (the infection rate in the state, particularly in the eastern region, is among the highest in the nation.) Most of the materials have been translated into Spanish and developed to be culturally appropriate for the Anabaptist population.

This year, the EPA revised WPS for the first time since 1992. Although the new standards won’t be enforced until 2017, Harvey is busy “getting farmers up to speed on it.” PDA has provided PORH with additional funds to hire more staff to work with Harvey to provide training on the new regulations and to update training materials.

In addition to field visits, Harvey speaks at dozens of meetings across the state every year and works information booths at agricultural trade meetings. In collaboration with other university partners, PORH has produced a series of training DVDs called “Safety in the Field,” which are being updated to reflect the new WPS revisions.

Davis said that the most important lesson she has learned from the experience of running the program is that “you can never anticipate where your current efforts might lead. Even if it’s a grant that might not seem like it will have much impact, you just never know!” Verbringe gern zeit mit freunden und familie

Free and Secure Incident Reporting Systems for all Emergency Medical Services

i Apr 7th No Comments by

Safety advances have been broadly implemented in many healthcare settings, similar to aviation and other high-consequence fields.  Aviation, with its long history of reporting systems, has shown that event reporting systems can yield previously unknown, but safety-critical information for developing a proactive approach to managing human error.  Despite many similarities between health care and aviation, event-reporting systems have not been well received in health care. (AHRQ. Advances in Patient Safety: Vol. 3 – Identifying Barriers to the Success of a Reporting System. Michelle L. Harper, Robert L. Helmreich) According to this report, some physicians are still reluctant to participate in event reporting, and it is as difficult for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals; however, this is exactly what the The Center for Leadership, Innovation, and Research for EMS is trying to change.

The Center for Leadership, Innovation, and Research for EMS (CLIR) is a non-profit organization that is advancing the safety culture in EMS through a variety of efforts.  EMS safety must include responders, patients and members of the public.  The ultimate goal is to help organizations create an environment that encourages individuals to report mistakes by using a method that has proved to work in the aviation industry.

Based on the Pennsylvania State EMS Event Reporting system, CLIR developed a national event reporting system for EMS called E.V.E.N.T. (EMS Voluntary Event Reporting Tool). E.V.E.N.T. is an anonymous, event-reporting system that collects and analyzes patient safety incidents, near-misses and violence against paramedics and EMTs.  This gives any EMS system a free and easy way to identify trends and share information across regions.

Anyone involved in EMS systems can go to and submit one of three different kinds of anonymous reports.

  • Patient Safety Event where a patient was harmed, potentially harmed, or almost harmed (“near-miss”) due to a human error or equipment failure.
  • Near-Miss Event where an EMS provider (first responder, EMT, paramedic, etc.) was almost harmed but due to a fortunate break in the chain of events injury, fatality or other harm was averted.
  • Violence Event where an EMS provider is struck, verbally abused, or otherwise assaulted.

Once submitted these anonymous reports are reviewed by EMS safety experts who remove any identifying elements and then share the report with the state EMS office in which the event was reported to have occurred.  The state name is then removed and the record is shared through the E.V.E.N.T. Google Group and kept for a summary report.  The data collected is used to develop policies, procedures and training programs to improve the safe delivery of EMS.  The confidentiality and anonymity of this reporting tool is designed to encourage EMS practitioners to readily report EMS safety events without fear of repercussion.

CLIR wants to support organizational culture that is able to receive information about someone making a mistake without punishment.  They want to help EMS providers become more engaged as healthcare providers instead of just being seen as “ambulance drivers.”  E.V.E.N.T. was launched five years ago and has helped identify issues, learn from them and then help others across the country take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen in their system.

CLIR recently posted 4th quarter 2014 and calendar year E.V.E.N.T. summary reports.  You can access these reports and prior period reports by going to, click on each EVENT type at the top and then look on the left side of the screen for download links by year.  To access the 4th quarter and calendar year 2014 reports individually without navigating the website, use these links:

4Q2014 Patient Safety Summary

CY2014 Patient Safety Summary

CY2014 Near Miss Summary

4Q2014 Provider Violence Summary

CY2014 Provider Violence Summary

Please consider helping CLIR advertise the availability of the report by pointing your colleagues to If you would like to receive emails of all reported events send an email to with your name and EMS agency or affiliation and you will be added to the distribution list.

If you are interested in building a reporting site specific to your organization CLIR can help through it’s Patient Safety Organization (PSO) called EMERG. The Emergency Medical Error Reduction Group (EMERG) helps organizations use identified, non-anonymous data to drive improvement and advance their own safety culture, protecting patients and providers. All information collected is protected under federal law (“The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (PSQIA)), ensuring that the collected and analyzed incident data is not legally discoverable, above and beyond your existing state peer-review protections.

For more information about EVENT or EMERG please visit or contact Matt Womble or Gary Wingrove.


Back to April Branch

A State Partnership for Medicaid Managed Care Expansion (L. Davis)

i Feb 12th No Comments by

A State Partnership for Medicaid Managed Care Expansion (L. Davis)

Lisa Davis Pennsylvania December 2013

i Dec 4th No Comments by

Lisa Davis joined the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) in 1994 as its first full-time staff person. After a two-year hiatus, she came back to PORH in 1999 to serve as the director, a position she still holds. She is co-chair of the NOSORH Policy Committee, serves on the Awards Committee and was an inaugural member of the Educational Exchange Committee.

What do you like most about being a SORH director?

Acting as an advocate has always been an important thing for me. Right out of college, I worked in a residential program for schizophrenics and also volunteered for 15 years or so in the county prison. So, trying to address the needs of vulnerable populations is a priority for me. When I came to work for the state office, I met this amazing network of people in the state and across the country. I had never imagined there was a group so smart and so dedicated to what they were doing–and so fun. It was like finding this family that I hadn’t known was out there.

What skills do you think a SORH director needs?

Having a firm understanding of the issues–a good framework about rural populations. Having good interpersonal skills. Having vision for what you think should and could happen. And knowing what you know–and what you don’t know. There are so many tremendous resources out there. At any given time, I have 50 or so people I can call, either in the state or SORHs and other
rural contacts across the country, or others I’ve worked with. And I hope that I am a source of information for new folks coming up through the ranks. But I do have to say that there are many days when I realize that even with all the experience I have, there are others out there who know a lot more than I do. I’m always impressed when I get other peoples’ perspectives on things.

What are your goals for PORH next year?

* To continue to increase our relevance in rural health efforts in Pennsylvania. We are getting mini-grants out to communities, which is one way that we can help provide support for local projects.

* To establish a statewide rural health branding and marketing campaign to highlight why strong rural healthcare delivery systems matter. We’ll be presenting plaques with a logo we’ve had designed, which promotes rural health as high quality health close to home. [See design, below right]. We’ll be holding events at rural hospitals, rural health clinics, and other community-based
providers, presenting the plaques to recognize them as quality rural health providers. This way we can help build awareness that rural health is unique–and special.

* And, to continue to increase and diversify our funding, using ideas from our great Educational Exchange program with Graham Adams this year.