As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country, NOSORH and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) were gearing up to host the 2020 Primary Care Office (PCO) Training Academy. The Academy includes a face-to-face meeting at the ASTHO offices in Arlington, VA, followed by site visits between each paired mentee and mentor.
Originally modeled upon NOSORH’s mentoring program, the Academy has been conducted for nearly 10 years and continues to grow in popularity with new PCO staff. When the health and safety of Americans became a concern, the decision was made to move the Academy to a virtual format.
Participants in the Academy overwhelming responded to the survey with positive reviews of their experience! Of the respondents to the survey, 100% indicated that the meeting was satisfactory or highly satisfactory. Though not quite the same experience as being face-to-face, the mentor and mentee pairs were able to break out into private chat rooms to have smaller conversations. Participants indicated that 100% found the virtual meeting useful in building working relationships and that the virtual meeting format was useful. In addition to specific mentor and mentee time, introductory presentations were delivered by the following partners: the Bureau of Health Workforce’s (BHW) Shortage Designation Branch, Loan Repayment Branch, Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Branch, Division of Participant Support and Compliance, and the Division of Regional Operations.
NOSORH would like to extend our thanks to all of the mentors that shared their expertise: Amber Myers (MI), Allison Mikuni (HI), Robert Martiniano (NY), Thomas Rauner (NE), Anna Riggan (VA), Cindy Ellis (TX), and Lynn Ann Bishop (KY).This year’s Academy included mentees representing PCO offices from Alaska, U.S. Virgin Islands, Iowa, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.
For more information on NOSORH’s collaborative efforts with the Primary Care Offices, please contact Beth Kolf, Project Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State and territorial Primary Care Offices (PCOs) must complete a unique community-based health needs assessment as a component of their funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW), within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). PCOs receive direct guidance from BHW that identifies differences between a traditional PCO needs assessment and a community-based health needs assessment.
This issue brief is intended to build foundational knowledge regarding the PCO needs assessment, highlight the components that are unique to PCOs, and offer resources on promising practices identified through publicly available needs assessments and public health organizations.
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.
Through a thoughtful and strategic partnership with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), NOSORH will have the opportunity to work more closely with the state Primary Care Offices (PCOs) for the next three years. NOSORH will be providing logistical support for the PCO National Committee by managing the agendas, minutes, scheduling, and follow-up between meetings. In addition, NOSORH will be providing the logistical support for the PCO Training Academy, a mentoring program for new PCO staff that includes a face-to-face meeting and site visits. The application period for applying to the PCO Training Academy closes on February 8 and applications can be found here.
The work with ASTHO goes much further than the logistical support components, including new resources that will benefit SORH, PCOs, State Health Officials and rural communities. One such resource will be an issue brief on best practices for completing the required PCO Needs Assessment, with examples from peer PCOs and suggestions from federal partners. Building upon the previously successful work around Social Determinants of Health, a toolkit will be developed to describe and identify the intersection of rural education and rural economic development, and the impact these sectors have on community health.
NOSORH would like to thank ASTHO for their support and great partnership to support the PCOs in their daily work.
NOSORH was recently awarded a sub-contract by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to strengthen and leverage opportunities for collaboration between state Primary Care Offices (PCOs) and State Offices of Rural Health. “This is a great opportunity for NOSORH to make connections with ASTHO. They have a cadre of rich resources for State Health Officers. Their staff are well organized and help us make a connection between public health and primary care,” said NOSORH Executive Director Teryl Eisinger.
NOSORH will support mentoring of PCO, assessing needs and identifying opportunities to leverage our resources. In October of last year, the NOSORH Board voted to form a task force with state Primary Care Offices to explore options for affiliation, partnerships and support opportunities with PCO. The Task Force will be led by NOSORH Past President Alisa Druzba (NH) and includes both SORH and PCO.
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