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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit www.Rhlradio.com to listen to the podcasts.