Over the past year, NOSORH has worked with a group of collaborative partners to develop and implement a monthly Rural Health Learning Collaborative Webinar.  “We started out with an idea to work together to build collaboration through offering learning opportunities to State Offices of Rural and public health stakeholders at the same time on the same topic.”says Teryl Eisinger, NOSORH Executive Director. The initial efforts were to focus on emerging issues in rural population health.  The collaborative includes stakeholders from the CDC Office of State and Territorial Projects, the National Coordinating Center for the CMS Quality Improvement Networks (QIN), the National Rural Health Association, and the American Public Health Association’s Rural and Frontier Sub-committee.  NOSORH has provided webinar technology, staff support and committee leadership along with facilitators Kate Perkins and Barbara Levin.

At a recent meeting, the group reviewed and adopted a purpose “To build collaboration among public health and rural health professionals at all levels among associations, federal agencies, and other organizations to enhance and encourage collaborative efforts among primary care providers, CAH’s, and public health entities to improve population health for this target group.”

One concept for the future work of the collaborative is to involve specific state groups. These groups allow for statewide collaboration and involve the State Office of Rural Health, the State APHA Affiliate, the State Rural Health Association, the local QIN, and grantees from the FORHP on a local follow-up call.  Calls can be planned to focus on the state-specific impact of the subject addressed in the National Webinar that month.  The concept is to be able to provide data to the group relative to the state (i.e. drug overdose rates, number of CAH closures, number of providers of well child care in rural areas) to help guide the group in analysis and other collaborative activities and will attempt to support SORH and their partners to take steps toward potential solutions for the state or local areas involved.

The Collaborative would like to identify and work with 2 to 4 SORHs to develop state-specific projects which can be led by the SORH along with other members of the response team may include the American Public Health Association (APHA) state affiliate, the local QIN, and other targeted partners.

State Office Directors who are interested should be in contact with Chris Salyers, NOSORH Education and Services Director for more information.

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