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Strengthening Rural America: Connecting Health Care and Education
 April 20, 2021 | Virtual Event

Tickets: Free

Stronger together.

When education and healthcare providers in rural communities form collaborative partnerships, they expand their power to bring innovative solutions to the unique challenges they face. In rural areas, travel distances make education and health services less accessible. Educational resources are limited and teacher shortages are more prevalent. Mental and behavioral health services are scarcer or altogether unavailable.

Education and healthcare facilities in rural areas can join resources to serve the most basic needs of the people they serve. Together, they can deliver a passionate message that gives people purpose, a sense of worth in their work and the tools to make a difference. The result is better alignment and a more sustainable model for a thriving community.

This event brings hospital CEOs, board members, superintendents and community leaders together to share stories of their collective impact. You will learn practices that have been successful in communities across rural America and hear about the people that have been vital along the way.


Collaborating in a Crisis

From our employees to our community, we know that we are stronger together. In times of need, we can divide and conquer, uncover connections we never knew we had and tap into our partnerships within the community.

Planning in Constant Change

Change demands agility of us. How can we be responsive to changing needs and still plan to meet the needs of our stakeholders and community? In this ever-changing environment, it is vital to build confidence and nurture the trust that our teams and communities have in us.

Creating a True Team

Relationships matter. If we want our employees and communities to feel like they are truly a team, it's important that we value all stakeholder voices, communicate with clarity and share as we learn to effectively lead our teams.


APR 20


9:30-10 A.M.

*All sessions are in Central time.

10-10:30 A.M.

Janet Pilcher | Managing Director and Executive Leader
Studer Education

10:30-11:30 A.M.

Building Vibrant Communities in Rural America

Quint Studer | Author, Entrepreneur and Founder
Studer Community Institute


Hear recommendations on how we strengthen rural communities by blending healthcare and education to build vibrant communities. With his background in both professions, Quint provides powerful, yet simple actions leaders can take to create a positive economic impact that strengthens rural communities. You will walk away inspired on how to create a place where people love to live, work and play.


11:30 A.M.-NOON
NOON-12:30 P.M.

Choose one session to attend:


1. It Takes More than a Village: 4 Hospitals, a County Government and School Districts Mastermind Vaccinations for Schools

Dale Shaver | Director of Parks and Land Use
Waukesha County Government, WI. 


Dale Shaver hosts weekly meetings with the four major hospitals with a service presence in Waukesha County to coordinate the logistics team for the efficient distribution of the COVID vaccine. Waukesha County Government has coordinated the vaccination of school nurses and nurse aids, as well as the vaccination of K-12 and high education educators. It’s a true collaboration.



2. A Story of Collective Community Impact: Creating the Right Relationships

Rex Brown | President and Chief Executive Officer
Hillsboro Area Hospital, IL. 


In small towns look for people who have time and a passion for doing the work needed. It is all about relationships. This story of collaboration and partnerships demonstrates the possibilities for all communities. Come and hear how this hospital supports the health and wellness of a small community.



3. Hospitals and Schools: Cornerstones of Rural America During Disasters

Michael O'Neal | Chief Executive Officer
George C. Grape Community Hospital, IA. 


Dr. Mike Wells | Superintendent
Hamburg and Essex Schools, IA. 

George C. Grape Community Hospital Board—Member


This Midwest community has seen its share of disasters in the last decade.  Having to overcome two national disasters and a pandemic, this presentation will highlight how a small critical access hospital and school system worked together — and with their community — to overcome insurmountable odds while maintaining resiliency, providing family stability, shelter and basic healthcare needs to rebuild for a brighter more sustainable future.

12:30-12:45 P.M.
12:45-1:15 P.M.

Choose one session to attend:


1. Onboarding: Connecting Youth to Healthcare by Building Pathways to Mental Health Careers in Rural Humboldt County

Dr. Colby Smart | Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services 
Humboldt County Office of Education, CA. 


Access to higher education and mental health is a critical issue in rural America.  Humboldt County, CA is home to seven native communities.  Education and Healthcare are vital to this region.  Connecting tribal mental health care providers to the planning and structure for technical career education is key to the preferred future of students and the long-term health of their region.  



2. Community Education—Who Owns it?

Rick Schroeder |  Former Chief Executive Officer and Licensed Nursing Home Administrator (Retired)
North Big Horn Hospital, WY.


Brett Crosby | President
Custom AG Solutions

Rancher and Economist
North Big Horn Hospital Board—Member


Community education isn't a department— it's an endeavor— and everyone owns it. The board owns it, hospital administration owns it and hospital employees own it. Ultimately, if implemented correctly, the community will also own it. We will share our approach to education and illustrate our strategy with examples of its effectiveness.



3. How Implementing Safety Protocols, Clear Processes and Innovative Communication Helped Communities Keep their Early Learning Centers Open Throughout the Pandemic

Rina Irwin | Chief Executive Officer
Child Development Centers, Inc., PA. 


Dr. Scott Cartwright | Director of Medical Services and Board Certified Physician
Child Development Centers, Inc., PA. 


The Child Development Centers, Inc. leveraged medical, executive and education personnel to create an innovative rapid response to the COVID-19 threat and continue to keep their centers open and reduce parent’s anxiety. The organization’s exceptional collaboration with local and state health officials, in residence pediatrician and registered nurse, helped their urban and rural community centers open and maintain access to early learning.

1:15-1:30 P.M.
1:30-2 P.M.

Choose one session to attend:


1. The Smallest Town in America to Build a YMCA

Mick Brant | Chief Executive Officer
Gothenburg Health, NE.
Gothenburg Improvement Company Board of Directors, Gothenburg Health Foundation Board—Vice President


Becky Jobman | Chief Development Officer
Gothenburg Health, NE.
Gothenburg Public Schools Board of Education-Vice President  


In this session, you'll learn how an impossible community dream was realized through collaborative community partnerships between Gothenburg Health, Gothenburg Public Schools and the City of Gothenburg.


2. Enhancing the Future of York—Together

Jim Ulrich, Jr. | Chief Executive Officer
York General Health Care Services, NE.


Mitch Bartholomew | Superintendent
York Public Schools, NE.

York General Board of Directors-Member


This presentation will describe and illustrate the growth of the partnership between York General Health Care Services and York Public Schools over time. Specific programs and other examples of this partnership and collaboration will be provided and well as our shared vision for the future enhancement opportunities. The impact on the communities that each of us serves, through the education and engagement of our youth, is immensely positive and vital to the future enhancement of York and the surrounding area.



3. Maslow Before Bloom: How Estacada School District Collaborated With Key Service Partners to Meet the Basic Needs of the Students and Community

Ryan Carpenter | Superintendent
Estacada School District, OR.


Estacada School District developed critical partnerships with the county health department, first responders, The Red Cross and several others when they faced not only a pandemic, but the largest wildfire in their region. From solving for food insecurities early in the pandemic, to relocating displaced families during the Riverside Wildfire, these partnerships were instrumental in helping the district make clear decisions around what mattered most. 


4. Creating a Spark, Hoping for an Inferno

Barry Bloom | Chief Executive Officer
Jeff Davis Hospital, GA.


Barbara Bruno | Executive Director
Share Health Southeast Georgia, GA.


A little can go a long way in a rural community. What we do may seem small in nature but can be powerful if we provide resources and motivation to people with passion. Our scholarships and grants are not large in dollar amount but they can give just the right amount of resources to someone or some group to go on and do great things! 

2-2:15 P.M.
2:15-3 P.M.

The Power of Connecting

JoAnn Sternke | Senior Director and Leader Coach
Studer Education


Connect! To achieve excellence, we need to build connections — to people, to new ideas, to our work to attain desired outcomes. You’ll come away with a new understanding of the importance of connection along with a few strategies to build your connection-making power.


3-3:30 P.M.

What Have We Learned?

Tad Hunt | Senior Director, Coach