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MDH has revised its guidelines for the J-1 Visa Waiver program, also sometimes known as the Conrad 30 program. Due to increased demand, the program has changed from a first-come, first-served approval process to a competitive review with a due date at the end of November. The J-1 visa allows International Medical Graduates to remain in the U.S. until their studies are completed. At the completion of their studies, they are expected to return to their home countries for two years. A J-1 Visa Waiver waives the two-year home residency requirement and allows a physician to stay in the U.S. to practice in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area (MUA). Find the updated guidelines on ORHPC's J-1 web page.

Save the date: This year's National Rural Health Day is November 20! Rural Health Day offers an opportunity to highlight the unique health care challenges and opportunities in rural communities. To plan an event in your area, visit ORHPC's National Rural Health Day website for ideas and tools.

Not yet certified as a Health Care Home? The MDH Health Care Homes section, as part of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model – SIM Minnesota project, is now offering increased support to clinics wanting to pursue health care home certification. MDH nurse planning staff are calling primary care clinics throughout Minnesota that are not yet Health Care Home certified to better understand their thoughts, plans and concerns around this foundational piece of health care reform and quality improvement. To tap this capacity building assistance or obtain additional information, contact Tina Peters at 651-201-3934 or

If you missed one of the recent regional meetings on the Minnesota Accountable Health Model – SIM Minnesota project, the presentation slides and handouts -- including "Accountable Communities for Health: How to Get Started" and the SIM Glossary -- are now available on the SIM Events web page. And see the "Other Grants and Loans" section below for a new Request for Proposals from the Accountable Communities for Health Grant Program.


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Application materials for the Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Grant Program are now available. The Flex program provides grant support for Critical Access Hospitals, other small rural hospitals, rural emergency medical services (EMS), and other rural organizations to undertake operational, performance and quality improvement; health system development; and rural community engagement projects. Applications due September 11.

Application materials for the Community Clinic Grant Program are now available. These grants support clinical capacity to serve people with low incomes, reduce current or future uncompensated care burdens, or improve care delivery infrastructure. Pre-applications due September 12. If invited, full applications due December 22.

The Emerging Professions Integration Grant Program is accepting applications to support the integration of Community Health Workers, Community Paramedics and Dental Therapists into the workforce in roles that support the broad goals of the Minnesota Accountable Health Model. Applications due September 19.

The Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Fund program is accepting grant applications from sponsoring institutions with accredited teaching programs providing clinical training in fiscal year 2013 for advanced practice nursing, clinical social workers, community health workers, community paramedics, dental students/residents, dental therapists/advanced dental therapists, chiropractic students, medical students/residents, pharmacy students/residents, physician assistants and psychologists. Programs must submit their application through their sponsoring institution. Find more details on the MERC Grant Application Information page. Applications due October 31.


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The Healthier Minnesota Community Clinic Fund has issued a 2014 Request for Proposals seeking applications from safety net primary care providers for projects that improve access to and the quality of primary care clinical services for low-income people, communities of color, and the medically underserved. All eligible projects will be considered, but priority will be given to reproductive, dental and mental health care initiatives. Applications due September 11.

The Minnesota Oral Health Zone program of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation (NCOHF) seeks communities in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area, and in northeastern and southeastern Minnesota, interested in establishing a regional Oral Health Zone. With the support of a Minnesota Oral Health Zone Manager, pilot communities will coordinate a broad-based prevention focused program to respond aggressively to pediatric dental disease. NCOHF will offer educational and volunteer resources. Should plans indicate a need for start-up support, pilot communities will be prioritized for grant funds through the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation’s Responsive Grant Program. Applications due September 12.

MDH has issued a Request for Proposals for the Minnesota Accountable Health Model (SIM) Accountable Communities for Health (ACH) Grant program. The goal of the program is to advance new and innovative relationships by engaging a broad range of providers, public health, and communities to plan for population health improvement activities and patient-centered coordinated care, with increasing financial accountability for outcomes. Community organizations and partners in an ACH may include health care providers, local public health, community or cultural organizations, non-profit agencies, schools, tribes, social service organizations, behavioral health, people who live in the community, and other entities that contribute to individual or community health. Letters of Intent due September 26, with full proposals due October 20.

The American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation is accepting applications to its 2014 Healthy Communities/Healthy America grant program. The 2014 program will award $10,000 grants to eight physician-led free clinics. Applications due September 22.

The AmeriCares Safety Net Center announced the Transforming Prediabetes Care Initiative: A National Demonstration for Free and Charitable Clinics, which will support seven clinics with grant awards of $10,000 over 2 years. Clinics will receive training, ongoing technical assistance and coaching support. Applications due September 22.


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Essentia Health-Deer River Clinic, as part of a recent grant from the Blandin Foundation, invites organizations to learn how to implement telehealth programs by participating in free Telehealth Implementation Retreats at Deer River. For more information, contact Kimberly Shropshire at

The 2nd Annual Rural Wellness Conference, “Diversity in Wellness - Recovery Outside the Box,” will be held September 6 in Little Falls. Learn more and register on the Wellness in the Woods website.

The Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP) 2014 conference, Thriving Through Change, will take place September 16-19 in Duluth.

The Rural Palliative Care Networking Group will feature a special presentation, "Measures for Rural Palliative Care Programs," on September 18 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Lakeland Home Care & Lakeland Hospice in Fergus Falls. Register online for either in-person attendance or conference call attendance.

Creating Accountable Communities for Health: Catalyzing Integrative Approaches to Obesity and Mental Health will take place September 22 in Duluth.



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Dr. Donald H. Jenkins, director of the trauma center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and a retired colonel, received the Distinguished Service Medal at the 9th national convention of the American Legion on August 26. The award is the highest honor the American Legion bestows. Dr. Jenkins has been a leader in Minnesota's statewide trauma system and is vice chair of the National Trauma Institute, where he is one of the nation’s top experts in traumatic injury.

Dr. John Halfen, medical director of Lakewood Health System in Staples, is featured in an interview in the Rural Monitor.

The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) has issued a new topic guide on Community Paramedicine. The guide includes an overview of this emerging profession, how rural communities can use paramedics and EMTs in this expanded role; how to start a community paramedicine program; and models of existing programs.

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The big late-in-life move: Assisted living is becoming a rite of passage in rural Minnesota (MinnPost).

Health reform
Medicaid health homes: A profile of newer programs (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).
Hennepin Health is delivering health care innovation (Star Tribune).
Obamacare creates 'upheaval' at free clinics (Kaiser Health News).
Health care success cuts revenue to Uptown clinic, forcing it to close (Minnesota Public Radio).
How did rural residents fare on the health insurance marketplaces? (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Penn Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics).
Congressional study released by Klobuchar says changes needed to strengthen rural health care (MinnPost).
Care coordination comparative matrix (National Rural Health Resource Center).

Primary care
Diabetes management in rural areas takes holistic, community approaches (The Rural Monitor).
Rural patient centered medical homes achieve new standards (The Rural Monitor).

40% of rural patients stay at city hospitals (Daily Yonder).
Rural hospitals pressured to close as healthcare system changes (Yahoo News).
Rural Hospital Performance Improvement (RHPI) Project: Best practice concepts in revenue cycle management (National Rural Health Resource Center).


Projecting the supply of non-primary care specialty and subspecialty clinicians: 2010-2025 (U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration).
Paramedicine program shrinks readmissions, ED use (HealthLeaders Media).
Interstate medical licensure could ease physician shortages (HealthLeaders Media).
Minnesota responds to rural doctor shortage with teams, training, telemedicine (MinnPost).
2013 statistical profile of certified physician assistants (National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) and article on report: PA ranks see ’phenomenal growth,’ lack of diversity (HealthLeaders Media).
Family physicians successfully team with nonphysician health professionals (AAFP News).
Why are there so few doctors in rural America? (The Atlantic).

Health information technology
Commentary: Weighing telehealth’s pros and cons (HealthLeaders Media).
Practice-based versus telemedicine-based collaborative care for depression in rural Federally Qualified Health Centers: A pragmatic randomized comparative effectiveness trial (American Journal of Psychiatry).
Effect of tele-emergency services on recruitment and retention of U.S. rural physicians
(Rural and Remote Health).

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On September 30, one of ORHPC's longest-standing employees retires. Lorry Colaizy was among the five original staff when the Office of Rural Health was formed in 1992, and he is known statewide for helping create and administer the J-1 Visa Waiver Program for hundreds of international medical graduates in Minnesota. We will miss Lorry and wish him all the best in his next adventures!

Leslie Nordgren, a research analyst with the ORHPC's health workforce unit, had two articles published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, both addressing work-related injuries to veterinary technicians in Minnesota.

Kristen Tharaldson gave a presentation on health reform to the Chisago County Community Partnership on August 21.


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The 2014 Family Medicine Midwest Conference will be held October 10-12 in Minneapolis.

The 2014 Many Faces of Community Health Conference: Community Centered Care and the People We Serve, will be held October 23-24 in Minnetonka.

The 12th annual American Indian Health Research Conference will be held October 23 in Grand Forks. Nominations for sessions due September 22.

The 6th Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference will be held in Morris on October 24. The conference theme is “Integrated Care in Rural Practice.” Posters and sponsorship opportunities available, and the conference will also be available via group webcast sites or by individual webcast. 

The 2014 annual conference of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Nonprofits in Motion: Momentum for a New Minnesota, will take place November 6-7 in St. Paul.

The 20th annual Rural Multiracial and Multicultural Health Conference will be held April 14, 2015 in Philadelphia. Presentation proposals due September 30, poster submissions by January 31.


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Minnesota Office of Rural Health and Primary Care
P. O. Box 64882
St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0882
Phone 651-201-3838
Toll free in Minnesota 800-366-5424
Fax: 651-201-3830

Our mission
To promote access to quality health care for all Minnesotans. We work as partners with policymakers, providers, and rural and underserved urban communities to ensure a continuum of core health services throughout the state.