Organization Newsletter

Jan. 2018

In this issue...

  1. Executive Director Update
  2. Getting to Know Your Board Member - Jeffrey Johnson, CPA 
  3. Breathing Better After Pulmonary Program at St. Luke's
  4. WA State Office of Rural Health Update
  5. Tips for Finding Executive Talent
  6. St. Lukes Welcomes Three New Physicians
  7. Free Conference on Expanding Roles in Behavioral Health Integration for RNs
  8. Keeping You in the Know
  9. TRUST is More Than an Acronym
  10. Last but Not Least....


Welcome to the
January 2018 issue of the Washington Rural Health Association e-Newsletter.
Inside this issue you will find news and information from the Executive Director and board of directors, members, and community partners from across the state of Washington. 

If you would like to submit your own story, please click here.

The WRHA e-newsletter is a publication of Washington Rural Health Association, a not-for-profit association composed of individual and organization members who share a common interest in rural health. This e-newsletter seeks to disseminate news and information of interest to rural health professionals and stakeholders to help establish a state and national network of rural health care advocates.

WRHA Members

WRHA members include administrators, educators, students, researchers, government agencies and workers, physicians, hospitals, clinics, migrant and community clinics, public health departments, insurers, professional associations and educational institutions. If you are interested in joining or renewing your membership with WRHA click here.


Executive Director Update

Submitted by:  Beionka Moore
[email protected]


Hello Washington Rural Health Association, Colleagues and Friends. 
I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the start of a new year!

The New Year brings with it a time for renewal – often a period of reflection, goal-setting, and transition. In that spirit, I want share some news with you: The work of the Washington Rural Health Association Board continues in full swing, and we look forward to supporting all of you and the association in the coming year through our mission to preserve and improve health and human services in rural Washington State.

Highlights of current and upcoming activities include:

  • Greater promotion of educational and funding opportunities that help members
  • Organizational development: Work to maintain and grow a diverse membership representative of our members’ geographic locale, culture, gender, economic status and racial or ethnic background.
  • Branding/marketing campaign: An increased social media presence highlighting WRHA and promoting rural health news that is important to our members – more to come.
  • Ensuring rural communities' voice be heard: Empowering members to effect positive change in rural health through grassroots efforts; Recognizing the benefit of partnering with other organizations and associations with similar interests in a collegial and collaborative manner.
  • Development of an annual legislative agenda based on work of relevant associations: We have adopted an agenda outlining healthcare policy issues and continue our legislative advocacy /awareness of state and federal rural health issues.

Also, the 29th Rural Health Policy Institute is scheduled for February 6-8, 2018 in Washington, D.C.  I am honored to say for the second year in a row I have agreed to be the Washington State contact to represent the interests of WRHA members at this influential conference.  One of the important functions of that role is reaching out to members of Congress to schedule Capitol Hill meetings.  The Rural Health Policy Institute is the largest rural advocacy event in the country and brings together members of Congress, the administration, public health officials, and health care experts from across the nation.  The Rural Health Policy Institute provides a unique opportunity for advocates of rural health to call on senators and representatives to inform and educate them on the issues that are important to WRHA members.

As WRHA’s state representative to the Rural Health Policy Institute, I want to hear about the issues and concerns that are important to you. I will share your thoughts with legislators and their staff.  Please email WRHA with your comments and feedback so that we can voice your messages to our congressional leaders.  Email your comments to: [email protected].  For more information on the 29th Rural Health Policy Institute, please visit:

These are rejuvenating times for the association and we encourage all members to take advantage of the benefits WRHA offers.  I hope you are as proud as I am of the deep and meaningful work we are doing together and of the impact that it is having on the lives of many across this great state.  I encourage you to continue to support WRHA.  With your support, together we will improve access to care in rural Washington and strengthen rural leadership.

It is because of supporters like you that WRHA can celebrate its success of our membership and help more rural members than ever achieve their goals.  I want to thank you again for your partnership, insight, and leadership. Let us know how we can best serve you!

Thank you. Sincerely,


Beionka Moore

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Getting to Know your Board Member!

With each publication, we would like to introduce a member of the WRHA Board of Directors.
This edition features the Board of Directors Past President, Jeffrey Johnson, CPA:

Q:      Please tell me your name, where you work, title, your role with WRHA and how long you have been a board member?
Jeffrey Johnson (aka, JJ), CPA, Partner at Wipfli LLP – CPAs and Consultants. Partner in charge of the Northwest US Health Care Practice. Worked for Wipfli for 23+ years. In my second of 3 year term as Board member. Two-term President and current Past President.

Q:     How did you first become involved with the Washington Rural Health Association?
Relocated from Minneapolis office in 2012. Former partner invited me to attend and there was a need. So, I agreed to take it on.

Q:      There are several rural health organizations in Washington State. Why did you choose to work with WRHA?
WRHA has had a strong history of advocacy for rural health. I first was introduced to WRHA at one of the NW Rural Conferences back in 2008 as a speaker on cost reporting matters.  Because I work in rural health advising on operational and reimbursement matters for both hospitals and clinics (including RHCs and FQHCs) across the country, including my work with National Rural Health Association (NRHA), National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC), National Resource Center and other national committees, I felt I had something to offer.  Plus, it gave me an immediate means to networking with other Washingtonians in the health care industry.

Q:      Why is Rural Health important to you?
I grew up in rural area. I have seen areas of the country that are really needing help. Over my career at Wipfli, I have been given the opportunity to work in rural communities. I enjoy it because people appreciate what you do for them.

Q:     What has surprised you most about working with Washington Rural Health Association?
I can’t think of any surprising moments…maybe after thinking about the next question, what surprises me most is that nobody has a hidden agenda. The board is truly interested in looking for opportunities and ideas on making rural health in Washington the best it can be.

Q:     What is the best part of working with WRHA?
When I joined the Board, it was during a time where there was a lot of turnover due to retirements and other reasons. So, it was somewhat of a stagnant organization. However, I knew there was great opportunities from my past experiences for the organization to be dynamic again. We recruited new and great leaders to the Board and it is this common vision of advocating for rural health in Washington and the comradery that makes being part of the Board fun.

Q:     What do you see as some of the most challenging issues facing WRHA and Rural Health in our state?
I have been working in health care for almost 30 years. One thing is for certain, change. Access to care will continue to be a challenge, and when I mean access, I mean lack of providers, especially primary care providers. Recruiting and retention of primary care providers (i.e., physicians, non-physician practitioners, etc.) will continue to be difficult in rural areas. I also believe our infrastructure is severely antiquated and needs an overhaul in rural America. A more improved infrastructure will help with access.

Q:     What do you wish other people knew about Washington Rural Health Association?
There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and it truly is a servant leadership model.

Q:     If you could change one thing about Washington Rural Health Association what would it be?
A:    To increase committee participants. A lot of the heavy lifting falls on just a few people. We need more volunteers.

Q:    Do you volunteer for any other organizations? Why do you feel it is important to volunteer?
Yes, I have. Organizations such as Young Life Ministries, HFMA, sports booster clubs, etc.  I have been incredibly blessed over my career. However, I didn’t get here on my own. There were several organizations that helped and influenced me from my childhood throughout my professional career. I believe it is important to give back to the community and those organization that you have a passion for…”to pay it forward.”

Q:    How do you like to spend your time outside of work and volunteering?
A:   Spending time with family and friends…like to golf, fish and snow ski. And, I like to travel, when I can…but putting 5 kids through college has temporarily limited that.

Q:    What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
I am from small town in Iowa and I am a Minnesota Vikings fan. Skol! 

Q:    What do you think will change about Washington Rural Health Association over the next five years?
A:   We now have an incredibly talented Executive Director. As WRHA grows, we will hopefully be a leader of change in rural health by helping other states do the same.

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Breathing Better After Pulmonary Program at St. Luke's

Submitted by:  Meagan Pierluissi
[email protected]

By the time Stevan Alburty arrived at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute for the Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, he was in a state of hypoxia, where not enough oxygen was circulating in his body at the tissue level.  "I had been having problems with shortness of breath," 66-year old Stevan says of what led him to initially see a physician prior to his visit to St. Luke's.  "My doctor diagnosed me with diastolic heart dysfunction, which is where the heart doesn't drain properly.  I had been searching online when I found information about St. Luke's."  The commitment of coming to St. Luke's three times a week for three months for the program initially made Stevan nervous, he says.  "But I did it," he adds.  "The exercises you do aren't strenuous for someone who's in good shape.  But, when you're short of breath, it makes it difficult."  "I found the staff to be the real key in making it work for me," Stevan says about his overall impression of the pulmonary program run by registered respiratory therapists with physician oversite.  "They were all so dedicated to the program and its ideals.  They were patient, friendly and encouraging.  No matter how bad you felt you did, somebody on the staff tells you, 'You did great.'  That kind of stuff works."  Stevan says throughout the three months, there were personal touches by the team of therapists who made him feel like they really got to know him.  "I truly enjoyed going to the classes, and because of the staff and their support, I began to feel better almost immediately."  "My oxygen rates improved tremendously," he says of his health once the program ended.  "My physical ability increased, and I felt like I was back on path towards health."  "The monitored exercises build endurance in our patients and maximize their oxygen, but the program goes well beyond exercise," says Michelle Rogers, St. Luke's respiratory therapist who assists outpatients like Stevan.  "Our goal is to help patients gain a better understanding of their pulmonary disease through education and learning about their environment outside of St. Luke's."  "Your pain is not going to get any better unless you do something about it," Stevan says about recommending St. Luke's to others.  "That is the hope for most people with some sort of physical limitation---for it to just get better.  You need a structured format.  You need the discipline of having to be somewhere three times a week.  You need the encouragement of being in a room of other people who are having the same problem you are."  Stevan is still connected with St. Luke's as he addresses his arthritis pain with physical therapy.  "I now have a trust level in St. Luke's that I feel quite comfortable joining another program."  Find out more about St. Luke's programs and services by visiting:

       WA State Office of Rural Health Update!

Submitted by: Pat Justis
[email protected]

Information on the Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative

Many people think of hospice and end of life care as synonymous with palliative care. It is true all hospice is palliative care but not all palliative care is hospice. You can say that hospice is palliative care is for the end of life but can also occur “upstream,”  for example as  early as when someone is diagnosed with a serious illness that is likely to progress and pose a significant challenge to daily life. Palliative care can be offered concurrent with active treatment, while the Medicare Hospice benefit does not allow active treatment. This allows for the care to be truly tailored to the goals of the patient and family.

Washington State Department of Health State Office of Rural Health (WA-SORH) is leading the Washington Rural Palliative Initiative to support integration of these broader palliative care services in rural communities. Multiple organizations support the work through an advisory team. All of these efforts are intended to be in close coordination with existing home health and hospice services.

Most payers do not call out a palliative care payment but there are ways to build a patchwork of billable codes and many feel optimistic that this will be an improved opportunity. Medicare is running their second cohort of a palliative care demonstration. Yakima Memorial participated in the limited first cohort and will be joined by Hospice of Spokane in the second cohort, which serves rural counties to the north of Spokane as well as the metro area.

The first cohort for Washington Rural Palliative Initiative includes Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend, Columbia Health System in Dayton, Pullman Regional Hospital in Pullman, Whitman Hospital and Medical Center in Colfax, Newport Hospital and Health Services in Newport, Columbia Basin in Ephrata, and the Lookout Coalition in Twisp.  Different communities will be piloting in different services such as home health, primary care, inpatient and long term care.

The Lookout Coalition, part of the non-profit Room One, is unique and a site for the Volunteer and Retired Volunteer (VRP) program, a service out of the WA-SORH that is under contract with Washington Healthcare Access Alliance.  VRP screens sites and volunteers, then pays for volunteer health care professional malpractice insurance during volunteer service.  The program also pays for professional license renewal if the volunteer does not ever use their license for paid work. Professional volunteers provide supportive home visits for the Lookout Coalition and serve residents living with difficult conditions.

The Initiative recently signed an agreement with Amerigroup, one of the Medicaid Managed Care Organizations and is in conversation with both Molina and Regence Blue Shield about collaborative strategies.  Stratis Health, the Quality Improvement Organization for Minnesota is distributing a private foundation grant to work in four states.  Stratis pioneered rural palliative care in MN beginning in 2009 and will be running some enhancement work there. WA is joined in the effort by North Dakota and Wisconsin, both of those State Offices of Health are also the lead entities for the Stratis Health grant.

Some trainings for the Washington Rural Palliative Initiative will be made available to the larger rural health community.  For more information please contact Pat Justis at [email protected].

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Tips for Finding Executive Talent for Rural Providers

Submitted by:  Sylvia Weise, Marketing Manager
Written by:  Don Whiteside & Ron Some
Wipfli LLP

Tips For Finding Executive Talent for Rural Healthcare Providers

The following scenario is one that any rural health care provider dreads but is crucial for the organization to carefully consider as it plans for the future.

The CEO resigns. He has been with the hospital/clinic for many years. The governing Board of Directors is taken by surprise at the resignation. The Board was so comfortable with the CEO that it never planned for new leadership. Simply put, there is no succession plan.

With the departure of a CEO or other C-suite executive, an organization faces difficult challenges in finding a top-talent replacement.

Rural health care organizations have their own set of issues when seeking executive talent. It is important to find someone who will align personally and professionally not only within the organization but with the community as well. The process begins with an evaluation of what it means to be a health care executive in a rural setting.

The process starts with an organizational assessment.

Being a small provider does not mean you cannot think big. Large providers typically begin their search process with an organizational assessment, which provides the framework for the search. The same holds true for smaller providers. Oftentimes, an experienced consultant is called upon to take the lead in identifying and developing how to communicate the provider’s mission, operations, strategic direction, challenges, and opportunities. To attract the best-qualified candidates, be realistic regarding what your organization and the community truly have to offer.

Begin your search.

Using the organizational assessment, the search committee can begin seeking a candidate with the skill sets necessary to continue the organization’s strategic direction. For best results, the search committee should assemble a five-to-seven-member search team. A larger group can slow the process, while a smaller group might not represent a cross-section of views.

Find a good fit.

While academic degrees and professional designations should be considered, it is equally important to find a “people person” capable of building strong community relationships. A small community means the executive could likely see patients, board members, hospital staff and administrators daily. The executive will be your organization’s representative of the hospital and expected to have a presence at civic organizations, charity events, and other groups serving the community.

Leverage your network.

Board members might not be connected to the health care community beyond their own organization. In that situation, it will pay dividends to call upon the expertise of a seasoned search consultant who understands rural health care, has a strong network, and can reach out to a regional and national network of professionals. Simply posting a “help wanted” ad won’t bring in the best-qualified candidates.

Hire interim leadership to fill vacancies.

Because a successful search may take several months, and typically health care organizations cannot effectively operate without C-suite leadership, the Board of Directors should consider hiring an interim executive. By placing a proven interim executive on site will pave the way to an orderly succession, allow the organization to maintain its strategic direction, and sustain uninterrupted daily operations. The placement of an interim executive can prevent the organization from making a mistake in hastily filling a permanent position with someone who may not be the best candidate in the long term. Avoid any false signals or misunderstanding by using the term “interim CEO,” which accurately describes the temporary position.

About the Authors:

Donald Whiteside, Director

Don Whiteside is a director in the health care industry consulting practice.  He performs executive search assignments for hospitals, health systems, and various health care companies. Adept at assessing a company’s needs, Don has an extensive background in health care business, board development and relations, sales and marketing, and transformation management. Clients benefit from his vast knowledge and experience through his ability to assist organizations in filling leadership roles to help them meet their organizational and financial goals. [email protected]

Ron Some, Manager

Ron Some leads senior executive recruitment efforts in health care nationwide for both interim management and long-term leaders. He has worked with a variety of provider types including health systems, community and district hospitals, post-acute care providers and clinics, including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). Ron’s work with these organizations has spanned most functional areas.  Many of the executives he has placed have provided strong turnaround, growth, and transformational leadership for their organizations. [email protected]

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 St. Luke's Welcomes Three Physicians to Physiatry Practice


Submitted by: Meagan Pierluissi
[email protected]

St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute added three physicians to the physiatry multidisciplinary team: Frank Jackson, D.O.; and Jonathan Morrill, M.D., M.A.; and Hongjie Yuan, M.D., caring for patients recovering from major trauma and disease.  "We are excited about bringing all of these physicians in to our medical group at St. Luke's as we build on our reputation as a regional center of excellence for trauma and neurorehabilitation services," said Dr. Gregory Carter, St. Luke's chief medical officer.  "Dr. Jackson brings interest and expertise in the management of brain and spinal cord injuries and neurodegenerative disorders including multiple sclerosis.  Dr. Morrill brings expertise in neuromuscular and electrodiagnostic medicine, in addition to broad clinical experience.  Dr. Yuan brings a great depth of clinical and research expertise, with additional training in acupuncture.  Each strengthens our practice's ability to help people close to home with the highest level of rehabilitative care."  Dr. Frank Jackson graduated with a degree in biology from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.  Following that he worked for a number of years as a research cellular biologist in pharmaceutical biotechnology.  He integrated his science education with his interest in spine and holistic medicine and attended Midwestern University, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale, Ariz.  Dr. Jackson completed his Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) residency at the University of Utah where he also served as chief resident.  Dr. Jonathan Morrill most recently has served as the medical director for Providence St. Mary Inpatient Rehabilitation Center in Walla Walla, Wash.  He earned his medical degree as well as a master's degree in medical sciences at Boston University School of Medicine, followed by residency in PM&R at the University of Washington.  Dr. Morrill then completed a Neuromuscular Medicine Fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine.  He has co-authored a number of peer reviewed research publications.  He will join our current team of physicians providing electrodiagnostic (EMG and nerve conduction) services.  Dr. Hongjie Yuan attended medical school at Jiangsu University Zhenjiang Medical College in China, and completed her master's degree in Rehabilitation Science at Nanjing Medical University. She then went to the Medical University of South Carolina to conduct clinical research projects.  She completed her residency at the University of South Carolina-Greenville Memorial Hospital and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center programs.  She is also interested in traditional Chinese medicine, completing a program for physicians in acupuncture at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.  For more information, please call (509) 473-6706 or visit

Dr. Frank Jackson, Dr. Jonathan Morrill, and Dr. Hongjie Yuan

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Free Conference on Expanding Roles in Behavioral Health Integration for RNs

Submitted by:  Rebecca Snyders, Qualis Health
[email protected]

Register Now for "Integrated Care and the Expanding Role of Nurses" Training Workshop January 9, 2018 Seattle Airport Marriott, SeaTac, WA.  This free, one-day training is designed to help current nurse care managers in integrated care settings or those interested in this role learn key tools, principles, evidence, and skills for supporting whole-person care.  Presented by the Healthier Washington Practice Transformation Support Hub and its partners: University of Washington AIMS (Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions) Center and the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI). Click here for AGENDA.  Registration is limited!  When registering, choose one of the following workshops to join for the full day:

  • RN Behavioral Health Care Manager Role in Primary Care Settings 
  • RN Primary Care Manager Role in Behavioral Health Settings
  • RN Care Manager Role Treating Opioid Use Disorder
  • RN Care Manager Role Overview and Administrative Considerations

Click Here to Register.  For additional information, contact UW AIMS Center WA Support: Juliann Salisbury at (206) 221-5819 or email [email protected].  Funding for the "RN Care Manager Role Treating Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)" track was made possible in part by Grant T1080249 from SAMHSA.  The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the office policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.  This track was also supported by the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) and University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI).

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 Keeping You in the Know


Tax bill passes but nonprofit hospitals spared from cuts

Federal private activity bonds, which are used throughout the country to finance a slew of health care facility projects and housing programs, would have been eliminated under the version of the tax bill passed by the U.S. House. The bonds help nonprofit hospitals, nursing homes and pre-release centers finance renovations and expansions, assist families buying homes, and help developers build low-income housing. NRHA pushed hard to successfully remove a provision from the version of the tax bill that will go into law that would have dramatically limited the ability of nonprofit hospitals to perform much-needed renovations and purchase equipment.

Rural adolescent suicide rates nearly twice that of urban areas

Recently released data show the suicide rate among adolescents in rural counties is nearly twice that of their urban counterparts.  In 2015, the suicide rate among adolescents age 15 to 19 was 7.4 per 100,000 in large central counties.  The rate was 14.3 in rural counties.  “There are so many factors involved in this," says Shilpa Sammeta, a child psychiatrist at Beckley ARH Hospital and Southern West Virginia Clinic.  Perhaps the biggest reason for the disparity, she says, is lack of access to mental health providers.


On another topic, the WRHA Board of Directors currently has three unfilled positions and expects to have one more before our annual meeting in March.  This leaves four opportunities for members to serve as Directors. 

A full complement of board members would give the Board more power and flexibility to get the job done.  I invite any member who thinks they might have an interest in serving on the Board to view the structure and duties of Board members by looking at the eligibility requirements on the WRHA website at  Scroll down to Article III.  Submit a resume through this email address: [email protected] or mail it to:  Washington Rural Health Association, PO Box 882, Spokane, WA, 99210.  Please include a statement about why you want to serve and what you could add to the group.  We could use your help!

Washington Rural Health Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. In efforts to reestablish a presence on the internet we’ve changed the WRHA domain name from to  To ensure you receive future emails, please add to your   address  book or safe sender list.



You can support the WRHA directly through donations above, or indirectly by choosing Washington Rural Health Association as your charity of choice when you shop on  Shop at and Amazon will donate to Washington Rural Health Association   Shop Now



WRHA members now have a new way to share community events affecting rural health in and around Washington State.  As members, you can now post your community event on the WRHA website calendar so that others from across Washington can stay current and share information about what is happening in your town.

To submit a calendar event, simply click here or go to and hover over “Events” and select “Calendar of Events”.  You can view current events on the WRHA calendar or submit your own event by clicking “Submit an event” in the bar just above the calendar. 

Once you have submitted your event, the WRHA support team will review and approve it for posting.

The University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies has just released a new report and policy brief, Assessing the Impact of Washington State’s Oral Health Workforce on Patient Access to Care. This study, funded by the Arcora Foundation, presents new information on

  • Washington state’s supply of dentists and dental hygienists
  • survey findings from dentists, family physicians, and pediatricians about their provision of oral health services
  • perspectives of key informants in Washington about oral health workforce challenges and solutions

Download the report and policy brief here 

State health insurance marketplace signups break record

The Washington Health Benefit Exchanged announced that more than 230,000 customers selected health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder by the December 15 deadline to enroll in coverage that begins January 1. The number represents a 35 percent increase over the same point in time last year. The exchange also saw a surge in new plan selections from individuals who were not enrolled in Washington Healthplanfinder last year.

Read more from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange 

Hospitals should review all payer claims database (APCD) information

In mid-January, hospitals will have a short period to review the data that will be in the state’s all payer claims database regarding the allowed amounts for commercial claims for specific services. Once the information is released to the public, there will be no opportunity to review it until the next APCD public data release later in 2018

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 TRUST is More than an Acronym

Submitted by: Luke Johnson, Student
UW School of Medicine at GU Campus, Spokane
[email protected]

My alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. and suddenly I am awake and confused.  I pick up my phone to look at the digital calendar.  "Baby!" the words on the bright screen scream at me.  I am not a morning person, I have always been a night owl.  Then I remembered: Dr. Lewis, my TRUST (Targeted Rural/Underserved Student Track) preceptor had asked me if I wanted to observe a Caesarian section birth, one of many he has done over his career as a family physician in Newport, Washington.  Despite class later in the day, and although I'll be driving through snow to get there (I'm a newly licensed driver), I rushed out the door.  I am a first-year medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine on the Gonzaga University campus in Spokane, in the school's TRUST program, and from the beginning of my medical training I am experiencing what it's like to be a rural doctor.  My TRUST site is only an hour away from campus; this allows me to do my clinic days in Newport, establishing a relationship with the community well before the clinical rotations that will begin in my third year. Scrubbing in, I am greeted by familiar faces.  I have already spent one week here in Newport and assisted in a minor surgery so I recognized the surgical team. Along with Dr. Lewis who is Dr. Jones (a UW School of Medicine faculty member) who is there to take charge of the newborn.  The C-section begins; Dr. Lewis starts an incision, Dr. Jones, standing beside me, explains what will happen when the baby emerges: "We'll check the baby's weight, clear its airways, and assess its health," he said.  As the surgery progresses the nurses, amid a number of teachable moments, are concerned with my well-being: "It's always the tall ones that faint from locking their knees.  Are you sure you're okay?" Dr. Lewis continues to carefully work his way to the infant through layers of fat, fascia, and muscle.  As the final layer of tissue, the amniotic sac, is incised and stretched wide, gloved hands reach inside.  The room falls silent as Dr. Lewis's hands emerge with the beautiful and vocal infant.  He takes the baby to its mother and I listen to the excitement from the other side of the drape (a new baby with its elated mother) only a hint of exhaustion in her voice.  It's hard to believe that only a few months ago I was embarrassed to introduce myself to my patients as a medical student because I didn't think I could own up to it.  But now, the way I am treated by my mentors and in my TRUST community, I am more comfortable as the days go by.  Before the baby leaves the OR to meet its family for the first time, Dr. Jones proudly peers over the infant for one final check.   Later, with the family, Dr. Lewis explains how the surgery went smoothly and lets them know the mother will be out soon.  The trust and respect the family has for Dr. Lewis is noticeable, and the respect he has for them is just as obvious.  The biggest impact from my TRUST experience is that expectations were high because of the bar set by the TRUST students who came before me; the medical staff know what I am capable of and they believe in me.  Recently I was with Dr. Lewis as he checked on a pregnant patient who was about to go into labor. "Scrub in," he said.  "Deliveries can be messy."  I was stunned.  Within a month of starting medical school, I was going to perform a delivery (under the close supervision of course)!  The result of his faith in my ability was a healthy baby and a happy family. While shadowing a family physician before I applied to medical school, I was drawn to the prospects of practicing full-spectrum family medicine and serving the underserved.  The TRUST program has further solidified my interest in rural medicine. Just as my TRUST community in Newport has invested in me, I have invested in it.  These are my people; they will be teaching me lessons that I'll carry long into my career and whatever the need, I will not hesitate to awaken early, or drive through snow to serve them. 



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Last but not Least, More Items of Interest....




After 25+ years of service, WRHA understands the unique challenges of reaching rural health professionals.  They trust us to advocate for them, provide education and share opportunities.  WRHA enhanced its sponsorship offerings by adding a NEW advertising opportunity to engage and excite rural health leaders and build brand loyalty for your company.

WRHA’s e-Newsletter is sent bi-monthly to all subscribers with valid email addresses.  The electronic newsletter provides updates on government updates, funding, and educational opportunities, as well as national news that impact rural health.  Become a featured contributor and write an article or contribute a photo/video feature!

Article Guidelines:

Suggested word count is usually ballpark of 500 words, but shorter (video with a unique intro or personal, patient stories) or longer is always fine if you feel you’ve kept the readers’ interest. Guideline for rural health news: it should be accessible, understandable, and there must be a point or message that’s worth sharing.

Submit your Newsletter article via our ONLINE FORM. URLs and email addresses within each ad will be live links. Ads without URLs in the copy can be linked to your site if a web address is provided.


  • QUARTER page advertisement in the WRHA e-Newsletter for one-year (6 publications)


  • HALF page advertisement in the WRHA e-Newsletter for one-year (6 publications)
  • Recognition and logo placement on WRHA printed marketing materials
  • Social Media recognition on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

WRHA has over 150 professionals who are: hospital CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CNOs, clinic administrators and staffs, state policy makers, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, specialists, educators, researchers, state health officials, public health and nonprofit leaders, recruiters, students, financial service providers, all interested in rural health care.  Join your voice with other WRHA supporters by completing the form below to become a sponsor or join the membership.  See all sponsorship levels & benefits on our website!!

The Washington Rural Health Association (WRHA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.  Your contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.  Consult your tax adviser for more information.

With the opening of attendee registration for the 2018 Northwest Rural Health Conference in Spokane, current WRHA members have the opportunity to take advantage of a $100 discount on conference registration.  The Rural Health Conference is the largest annual gathering of WRHA members and the largest gathering of health care professionals in the Pacific Northwest. We are inviting a broad audience of rural stakeholders to discuss the many challenges that rural health care providers and communities are currently facing. We invite you to come and support the rural health community by participating in this outstanding conference!

The theme of this year's conference, which is scheduled for March 26-28th, is “Crossing to the Future of Sustainable Rural Health”.  Doing so will require both knowledge and collaboration.  As hospitals and other rural health providers continue to deal with issues related to reimbursement, workforce, technology and quality, we must work together to find the right solutions to ensure future viability.

Conference attendees can choose from over 20 breakout sessions and learn from numerous keynote presentations.  Attendees also have the opportunity to participate in WRHA’s Annual Membership Meeting on March 27, from 5:15 to 6:15 pm.  WRHA members also won’t want to miss the Annual WRHA Rural Health Awards Presentation on March 27th at 12:15 pm.

Those who would like more information about the conference, visit HERE.
To register for the 2018 conference, please CLICK HERE.

WRHA awards ceremony honors true examples of authentic leadership, genuine dedication, and commitment to the rural health community. One of the best experiences in your professional life may be when the people that you work with or for acknowledge your efforts. 

The award is given each year at the conference to outstanding individuals and organizations in the field of rural health who have dedicated their time and talents to improving the health and well-being of others.  We are looking to recognize individuals and organizations that are not just serving patients, but are making their entire communities healthier.

Please consider nominating an individual or organization that has made a significant positive impact on rural health in Washington State for this year's ceremony. Nominees do not have to be members of WRHA to be eligible for these awards. Nominations may be made by any member of WRHA.

Awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday, March 27th, from Noon to 1:00 PM. WRHA will accept online submissions only. Send all nominations and supporting materials to: Nominations.

The Categories Include: Leadership; Outstanding Contribution; Friend; Future of Rural Health and Outstanding Practitioner. What better way to encourage and keep great people in the field of rural health than to recognize their contributions. To make the process even easier for all of you – the association has created an on-line submission form (http:// The page describes the categories for nomination and at the bottom lists past winners.

Nomination Deadline: February 1, 2018. Additional information, questions or requests can be directed to:  Beionka Moore, WRHA, Executive Director, [email protected]

Also, we encourage you to join us your annual membership meeting. Come see how membership has grown and reestablish connections at our Annual Membership Meeting, March 27, 2018.


Join the discussion, connect with us! Share your stories and ideas, get the latest news, and act to help preserve rural health care and access in Washington state!  Please head over to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and look us up at WASHINGTONRURALHEALTH!  

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