The Delta Record | Center for Rural Health Development Hosts Appalachian Health Leadership Forum

DANIEL — The Rural Health Development Center was pleased to recently host its annual Appalachian Health Leadership Forum, the first since the pandemic. Rural Healthcare and Public Health Board members and executive leaders came together for two days to reconnect, recharge and be inspired.

“The past two years have been some of the most challenging for our rural health care and public health leaders and boards,” said Sharon Lansdale, president and CEO of the Center for Rural Health Development. “Health disparities arise not only from unequal access to health services, but also from unequal access to economic opportunities, meaningful work, stable families, livable housing, reliable transportation , quality education and thriving communities. Healthier people mean a stronger economy. This forum provided information on how organizations can strengthen their communities and create opportunities. »

The two-day event kicked off Friday morning, May 6, with a presentation by Jamie Orlikoff, President of Orlikoff & Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in healthcare governance, leadership, strategy, quality, safety and system development. Orlikoff described the challenges faced by rural health care organizations and their boards. He also presented an effective governance model and strategies to accelerate governance improvement.

Attendees remained engaged during a presentation titled, The Role of Governing and Advisory/Subsidiary Boards in Improving Community Health by Kevin Barnett, D.Ph., MCP, Principal Investigator at the Institute of Health Public and Faculty of the Institute of Governance. Barnett focused on the council’s responsibility for community health and the connection between community health and economic development.

After lunch, Managing Director Brent McDonald and Executive Director Chris Benson of Juniper Advisory engaged attendees with a discussion on What If Trader Joe’s Ran Healthcare Organizations? Balancing scale and culture to succeed. This session offered healthcare leaders lessons learned from other industries on the importance of organizational culture on the bottom line and, more importantly, patient outcomes.

Next, attendees were introduced to the role of governance in improving health through collaborative community resources by Linda Summers, COO of Via Healthcare Consulting. Summers discussed the role of council in community partnerships and the importance of community input in prioritizing needs.

Roger Hanshaw, attorney for Bowles Rice and speaker of the W.Va. House of Delegates, provided insight into virtual board meetings versus in-person meetings. He explained how to understand which board discussions can take place virtually and which discussions are best held in an in-person meeting.

Friday’s events concluded with a motivational session by keynote speaker Jessica Rector. Rector is a former TV talk show host and bestselling author. She spoke about how organizational leadership must be proactive in addressing burnout by inspiring employees to keep doing their best. Rector outlined tools leaders can use to increase employee engagement and retention.

Each year, during the dinner portion of the two-day event, the Center’s Board of Directors presents the West Virginia Rural Health Leadership Award to an individual who has demonstrated leadership in improving health in rural communities. of West Virginia. This year’s 2022 recipient is longtime physician Dan Foster, MD, and former member of the West Virginia Senate.

Recently retired from his role as medical administrator at West Virginia’s largest hospital, Dr. Foster is a Stanford-trained physician, former clinical professor and former West Virginia state senator and delegate who worked as a general surgeon. and vascular for almost 25 years. years. He served in the West Virginia Legislature for 10 years and is now retired from politics and medicine.

Always a strong advocate for public health, Dr. Foster has focused his legislative career on improving the health and lives of his fellow West Virginians, working to, among other things, better regulate the pharmaceutical industry and combat the negative effects of drug addiction.

“It is humbling to be the recipient of this year’s award. Foster said via video message. “While I am well aware of the quality of rural health care in general, I have learned that in our state it is indeed a critical need.”

Dr Foster said he felt like an impostor compared to those who received the leadership award in previous years knowing their achievements. Having come to West Virginia 43 years ago, Dr. Foster appreciates the rural healthcare system and what it has done for so many people.

“I firmly believe that there is nothing more important to the future growth and development of the Mountain States economy than improving the health of the people of West Virginia,” said Dr Foster. . “And no entity is doing more to make that happen than the Center for Rural Health Development under the leadership of Sharon Lansdale. It is especially meaningful to be honored in this way. Thank you for making me feel so special.

The Saturday sessions focused on creating a culture of health and prosperity in communities in West Virginia and Appalachia. Monte Roulier, President of Community Initiatives, kicked off the morning by talking about the legacy moment we find ourselves in due to the COVID pandemic, and that getting back to normal won’t be enough if our goal is for all people and all places prosper.

Next, David Zuckerman, president of Health Anchor Network, spoke about promoting the anchor’s mission to create local economies where all can thrive. He described the anchor mission framework and the role healthcare organizations and businesses can play in improving community health and creating a supportive community environment for economic prosperity in their communities.

Next, Brian Castrucci, President and CEO of the Beaumont Foundation, engaged attendees with a presentation on building partnerships to strengthen public health. He emphasized the importance of partnerships and how all levels of leadership are needed if we are to improve the health of the people of West Virginia.

Over lunch, participants heard from Julia Fraustino, PhD and Director of Public Interest Communication Research, and Dan Totzkay, PhD and Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at West Virginia University. They presented strategies to help participants navigate difficult conversations and effectively avoid or manage resistance. They also focused on effective communication strategies to promote health equity in a contemporary media and cultural ecosystem.

The final presentation came from Jim Hunt, a West Virginian and former president of the National League of Cities, titled The Road Forward for Appalachian Communities and Organizations. He challenged attendees to think about what opportunities for a new future for our state should look like and how technology and monetary investments can help communities.

The weekend event was sponsored by the Center for Rural Health Development with joint sponsorship provided by the CAMC Institute for Academic Medicine and with financial support from CAMC, the W.Va. Office of Rural Health, Angel Flight East, the WV Beverage Association and the Marshall University School of Medicine. Scholarships were offered by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Highmark Foundation and the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. Next year’s Leadership Forum will be held April 28-29, 2023 at the Stonewall Resort and Conference Center.

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