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The Rural Impact
A Podcast that Connects the Dots between Policy and Rural Everything.
Nov 16, 2023
Extra Episode - Women Who Impact with Alana Knudson in Recognition of National Rural Health Day
In this Rural Impact Extra Episodes series, "Women Who Impact," Michelle highlights inspirational leaders making extraordinary impacts in rural health in recognition of National Rural Health Day (NRHD). In the final episode, Michelle meets with Alana Knudson, Director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. With over 25 years of experience leading health services, research projects, and evaluating programs, Alana is doing everything she can to make a positive difference in advancing rural people's and communities health and well-being. Alana shares the critical role research and data play in informing policymakers and ensuring that rural communities' needs are addressed. Alana shares what motivated her rural-focused career, the impact she sees from her work, advice for people who will one day walk in her shoes, exciting projects she is currently working on, and what her inspiration is.
Nov 16, 2023
Extra Episode - Women Who Impact with Michelle Mills in Recognition of National Rural Health Day
In this Rural Impact Extra Episodes series, "Women Who Impact," Michelle highlights inspirational leaders making extraordinary impacts in rural health in recognition of National Rural Health Day (NRHD). In the third episode, Michelle talks with the Chief Executive Officer of the Colorado Rural Health Center, Michelle Mills. Michelle Mills is deeply committed to rural health at the state and federal levels. She holds other titles, including the National Rural Health Association Board Secretary, Government Affairs Committee Lead, and the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services Committee Member. Michelle Mills feels a passion for preserving the way of life and improving access to care for those who call rural home. Michelle Mills shares what motivated her rural-focused career, the impact she sees from her work, advice for people who will one day walk in her shoes, exciting projects she is currently working on, and what her inspiration is.
Nov 16, 2023
Extra Episode - Women Who Impact with Lisa Davis in Recognition of National Rural Health Day
In this Rural Impact Extra Episodes series, "Women Who Impact," Michelle highlights inspirational leaders making extraordinary impacts in rural health in recognition of National Rural Health Day (NRHD). L isa Davis, Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and Outreach Associate Professor on Health Policy and Administration at Penn State, speaks with Michelle in our second episode. Making an impact on a national, state, and university level, Lisa serves on a wide range of boards of directors, advisory committees, and task forces focusing on rural health policy, rural health outreach, and research, economic development, education, as well as vulnerable populations and specific health issues such as oral health and cancer. Lisa shares the importance of collaboration and partnership to address the longstanding issues in rural health. Lisa shares what motivated her rural-focused career, the impact she sees from her work, advice for people who will one day walk in her shoes, exciting projects she is currently working on, and what her inspiration is.
Nov 16, 2023
Extra Episode - Women Who Impact with Karen Madden in Recognition of National Rural Health Day
In this Rural Impact Extra Episodes series, "Women Who Impact," Michelle highlights inspirational leaders making extraordinary impacts in rural health in recognition of National Rural Health Day (NRHD). In the first episode, Michelle talks with the Director for the Center for Health Care Policy and Resource Development and the Director of the Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health in the New York State Department of Health, Karen Madden. Throughout her career, Karen has worked on many issues that impact access to care and shares her organization's new focus on health equity and addressing health disparities. Karen's idea to have a day designated for rural health inspired NRHD (celebrated every year on the third Thursday in November), and her invaluable contributions helped transform NRHD from a moment to a movement. Karen shares what motivated her rural-focused career, the impact she sees from her work, advice for people who will one day walk in her shoes, exciting projects she is currently working on, and what her inspiration is.
Nov 2, 2023
Extra Episode - Rural Communities Opioid Response Program with Megan Meacham and Sarah O’Donell
In this extra episode in our series "Rural Health on Life Support,” Michelle talks with Megan Meacham, Director of the Rural Strategic Initiatives Division and Sarah O’Donell Team Lead for Program Development with HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Megan, Sarah, and their colleague Allison Hutchings were awarded the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals 2023 People’s Choice Award, in recognition of their creation and management of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). During this conversation, Megan shares the RCORP’s efforts and programs that to bring substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services to rural communities that may not have services or inadequate access to services, as well as how RCORP aims to improve outcomes and increase health equity and access to care for underserved and geographically isolated populations. Sarah shares examples of how grantees are effectively serving communities, and creating partnerships, networks, and connections for supporting responses to substance used disorder. Also discussed are challenges and barriers to getting care, as well as tips for accessing resources to address the opioid crisis rural communities. Extra Episode | Rural Health on Life Support - HRSA's Rural Communities Opioid Response Program with Megan Meacham & Sarah O'Donnell > Opioid Response | HRSA > RCORP-TA Resource Portal > National Maternal Mental Health Hotline | MCHB > Find a Health Center > RHI Hub
Oct 19, 2023
Do the Math - Calculating the Future of Rural Education with John White
In this third episode of our series "Do the Math-Calculating the Future of Rural Education," Michelle talks with national communications consultant and rural education policy expert John White. John served as the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education (2009-2013), represented U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the White House Rural Council, and was the Secretary's designee to the Interagency Coordinating Council for the Appalachian Regional Development Initiative. During this conversation, John highlighted the importance of resources and support for learning in rural areas, filling in the gaps needed to retain and attract rural educators, and developing the talents of rural youth to sustain rural communities and grow local economies. John also shares innovative programming for rural schools and communities, the strengths of diverse rural communities, opportunities for schools that come through partnerships, and strategies for communicating needs to policy and lawmakers to improve support for rural students, teachers, and schools.
Oct 5, 2023
Do the Math-Calculating the Future of Rural Education with Taylor McCabe-Juhnke
In this second episode of our series "Do the Math-Calculating the Future of Rural Education," Michelle talks with Taylor McCabe-Juhnke, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Collaborative (RSC). Taylor proudly hails from a long line of rural educators. As an early supporter of the RSC, Taylor was largely responsible for planning and coordinating the Rural Teacher Corps Stakeholder's Summit Visioning Meeting. This event continues to shape RSC's ongoing work with rural teacher preparation efforts nationwide. During this conversation, Taylor, a fierce education advocate, highlighted RSC's commitment to creating sustainable rural communities by focusing on place, teachers, and philanthropy. Taylor shares the necessity of collaboration and networking, the impact rural serving organizations have on education, programming, and strategies addressing the rural teacher shortage, the need for investment at a local and national level in rural education, and the importance of showcasing the critical role rural educators play in shaping our future. Episode Resources: Rural Schools Collaborative | News
Sep 21, 2023
Do the Math - Calculating the Future of Rural Education with Dr. Allen Pratt
In this first episode of our series "Do the Math-Calculating the Future of Rural Education," Michelle talks with Dr. Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the National Rural Education Association (NREA). Dr. Pratt's work focuses on providing a unified voice for rural schools and communities. He has served as a high school science teacher and coach, a high school principal, assistant superintendent/curriculum director, executive director of the Tennessee Rural Education Association, executive director of the East Tennessee Center of Regional Excellence for the Tennessee Department of Education, and rural outreach liaison for Lincoln Memorial University. During this conversation, Dr. Pratt highlights topics in the NREAC's (the legislative arm of NREA) legislative agenda, the importance of advocating at a local and state level, and some key research in the 2022 through 2027 Rural Research Agenda. Dr. Pratt also shares insightful student perspectives on equity and teacher shortage, how The Teacher Registered Apprentice Program provides career pathways and addresses educational workforce shortages, the necessity to address mental health and substance use at the community level, and how early childhood education impacts students through their lifespan.
Sep 7, 2023
Food for Thought - Facing the Facts About Food Insecurity
In this third episode of our series "Food for Thought-Facing the Facts About Food Insecurity," Michelle talks with Erica Blair, Extension Specialist with Kansas State Research and Extension and a Program Manager for both the Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) and Kansas Healthy Food Initiative. Erica provides technical assistance on grocery-related topics and coordinates RGI's educational programming and the Grocery Business Transition Mentorship Program, which develops numerous educational resources. During this conversation, Erica shares RGI's research tracking grocery store closures and their impact on the communities they serve. She also highlights programs and resources that help rural communities retain, attract, or open grocery stores, some in remarkably innovative settings. Additionally, Erica details unique ways rural grocery stores engage communities through special events, create spaces for community members to convene, and create innovative partnerships that allow rural communities to have consistent healthy food options in their hometowns.
Aug 24, 2023
Impact Extra Episode - Rural Health on Life Support Emergency Rural Health Care Grants
In this Impact Extra Episode, Michelle brings issues discussed in our three-part series, "Rural Health on Life Support," back to the table with special guest Farah Ahmad, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). During this conversation, Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad shares how USDA Rural Development (RD) invests in rural communities and advances policies and programming that create economic inclusion and opportunities to improve health outcomes. The two also discuss the purpose behind the USDA RD "Emergency Rural Health Care Grants," sharing details about the up to $500 million in grant funding to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, rural health care services, and food assistance through food banks and food distribution facilities. Ahmad also discussed the eligibility requirements for participation and gave an overview of the two tracks for eligible projects; the first focused on recovery grants to provide immediate relief to address economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency, and the second allocated to "Impact Grants" designed to advance ideas and solutions to solve regional rural health care problems to support the long-term sustainability of rural health. Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad also discussed work focused on food insecurity, and provided information on how to access assistance from USDA RD through one of the agency's 400 offices nationwide.
Aug 10, 2023
Food for Thought - Facing the Facts About Food Insecurity
In the second episode in our second series "Food for Thought-Facing the Facts About Food Insecurity,” Michelle talks with Alana Rhone, Agricultural Economist and Matthew Rabbitt, Economist with the Food Assistance Branch in the Food Economic Division at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Alana’s research focuses on food access in the U.S., and Matthew’s research primarily focuses on food security measurement and methodology, behavioral responses to food insecurity, and U.S. social safety net program participation. During this conversation, Alana shares that USDA ERS has a range of research and data resources such as the Food Access Research Atlas and the Food Environment Atlas which can help identify and inform possible solutions that work best to increase and improve healthy food access. Matthew shares that USDA ERS monitors food insecurity annually, and produces an Annual Food Security Report, which takes a deep dive into the prevalence and severity of food i…
Jul 27, 2023
Food for Thought - Facing the Facts About Food Insecurity
In the first episode in our second series "Food for Thought-Facing the Facts About Food Insecurity,” Michelle talks with Gina Plata-Nino, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Deputy Director, and Crystal FitzSimons, Director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs, at the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC). Gina works with the SNAP team to seek ways to improve SNAP’s reach and support for low-income households, including people and families working their way up the economic ladder. Crystal leads FRAC’s work on the child nutrition programs that serve school-age children, and she analyzes policy to advocate for legislative and regulatory improvements to increase low-income children’s access to the nutrition programs. During this conversation, Gina shares the vital role SNAP plays in providing affordable and nutritious food for rural families. Crystal shares the impact of meal programs, designed to feed students while they are in school, so that hunger is not a hi…
Jul 6, 2023
Rural Health on Life Support - Episode Three: Medicaid Unwinding
In this third episode in our "Rural Health on Life Support" series, Michelle talks with Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families (CCF) and Research Professor at Georgetown McCourt School of Public Policy. Joan is a nationally recognized expert on the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicaid, the lead author of CCF's annual report on children's healthcare coverage trends. She has been published in numerous journals, reports, and blogs, covering a wide range of issues, including Medicaid Section 1115 waivers, child and family health, and the role of Medicaid in Rural areas. During this conversation, Joan shares research on Medicaid's vital role in providing health insurance coverage, the single most consequential policy impacting health equity for rural populations. Michelle and Joan also discuss the dangers of proposals to cut Medicaid and its disastrous effects in rural areas for patients and providers. Other areas covered include…
Jun 22, 2023
Rural Health on Life Support
In this second episode in our “Rural Health on Life Support” series, Michelle talks with Julia D. Interrante, PhD, MPH, a Research Fellow and Statistical Lead at the University of Minnesota’s Rural Health Research Center. Dr. Interrante’s research examines the effects of policy on maternal health outcomes and access to maternity care services with a specific focus on geographic and racial equity. It includes disparities in severe maternal morbidity and mortality, changing access to rural maternity care, and the impact of payment policies on maternal and postpartum care. During this conversation, Michelle asked Dr. Interrante to share her research on why the rate of U.S. maternal and infant morbidity and mortality is higher for rural residents than urban residents and access to care during pregnancy and childbirth is declining in rural communities. They also discuss research that confirms that not all rural communities are equally affected, as evidenced in the numbers showing…
Jun 8, 2023
Rural Health on Life Support - The State of America's Rural Health Systems
In this first episode of The Rural Impact, the show’s debut series titled “Rural Health on Life Support,” Michelle talks with Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. It’s estimated that nearly 61 million people live in designated rural areas across the United States. In at least ten states, elected officials have yet to adopt the expansion of Medicaid, which, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, leaves over 2.1 million people in a “coverage gap” — meaning they fall into the income level that would make them eligible for Medicaid but cannot access it because their state has not adopted it. How do uninsured or underinsured populations impact small rural community hospitals? How has the pandemic affected rural hospitals and health systems? What are the prevalence and projections of rural hospital closures and the impact of disappearing rural EMS services? During this conversation, Michelle and Alan cover all of these issues and more,…
Jun 2, 2023
Michelle Rathman, a rural health, community, and communications expert, is excited to announce a new project called "The Rural Impact – A Podcast Connecting the Dots between Policy and Rural Everything!" The Rural Impact aims to address critical issues affecting rural communities, such as food insecurity, housing, transportation, healthcare, climate change, broadband, and economic opportunities, by exploring the intersection of policy and rural life for over 60 million people across the U.S. Michelle will have candid conversations with lawmakers, educators, influencers, community leaders, authors, and storytellers, and from time to time, you'll join her on the road where policy meets reality. The Rural Impact format will bring you targeted and timely special series, each comprised of three episodes covering a different aspect of a broader issue. The first series, "Rural Health on Life Support," will focus on a wide range of policy matters impacting health outcomes, including hospital…