In Chicago last week, the Association of University Programs of Health Administration introduced its new “faculty networks,” scheduled to be implemented in the fall. These networks will expand the previous loosely configured interest groups into ongoing networks dedicated to sharing resources and expanding teaching in their topic areas. Richard Vallone of Adams State College in Colorado (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the current Chair of the Rural Faculty Network; Jan Probst of the SCRHRC is Chair-Elect.
Attendance at the first Rural Faculty Network meeting was a tad thin: There were seven of us in the room. Along with the Chair & Chair-elect, this included Armando Valdez of Adams State; David Cockley of James Madison University; Gary Filerman of Georgetown University; Gerald Ledlow of Georgia Southern University; and Warren McDonald of Methodist University. Discussion at the session was wide-ranging, from the interests of the Veterans Administration in rural workforce, to the need to establish what schools are currently doing to prepare students for the challenges of rural healthcare management. A key point: the line between viability and death is a lot thinner for rural hospitals and clinics, with slim margins and limited staff resources, than it is for their urban cousins.
Got any ideas? Send ‘em to any of the folks listed above. We know that there must be lots of rural hospital administrators out there who can tell us “… if only I had known about [insert challenge here], I would have been better prepared.” We hope to develop a charter for our network, so that we can enlist other leaders, teachers and researchers who can help us pool, share, and grow.