October 2016
    Office of Rural Health and Primary Care graphic



National Rural Health Day 2016

This year's National Rural Health Day is Thursday, November 17. This sixth annual celebration allows the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and our partners to showcase rural America and highlight the unique health care needs of rural communities.

Community Stars
As part of this year's National Rural Health Day (NRHD), the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) would like to honor “community stars” who have made a positive impact on their local community, brought services that may not have been there before, shown local leadership, demonstrated a long term commitment to improve rural health, have been a dependable partner or have helped make a change for better health, ensured access to care or championed innovation in rural communities. If you would like to submit a "star" in your community, submit their story for this year's NRHD publication.

Minnesota Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) Opening
The Rural Health Advisory Committee (RHAC) has an open appointment for a mid–level practitioner. The committee advises the Commissioner of Health and other state agencies on rural health issues. All members must reside outside the Twin Cities seven–county metropolitan area. The full announcement and application materials are available on the Secretary of State´s Current Vacancies web page. Applications are due to that office by October 24.

Minnesota Health Care Workforce Snapshot

Age of Minnesota Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Chart showing ages of Minnesota's APRN's

Data source: Source: Minnesota Board of Nursing, March 2015. Analysis done by MDH. Percentages are based on all 6,100 licensees.

Note: APRNs are generally middle-aged and older. Slightly more than half of all APRNs are age 45 or older, and the youngest cohorts of APRNs are proportionately small, suggesting there may not be an adequate number of new professionals entering the field to replace those retiring. However, an increase in college and universities offering advanced practice nursing education may impact a change in age demographics in the future. It is also possible that the extended educational path required of APRNs has some bearing on the smaller cohort of younger APRNs currently in the workforce.

For more information on Minnesota's health care workforce, visit the Health Workforce Analysis, Office of Rural Health and Primary Care website


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Minnesota J-1 Visa Waiver Program
The Minnesota J-1 Visa Waiver Program applications for FY 2017 are due 4:30 p.m., November 30. Physicians who wish to be considered for a waiver slot must submit their application by the due date. For more information about the J-1 Visa Waiver Program, contact Workforce Grants Administrator Darwin Flores Trujillo at 651-201-3850 or

Dental Safety Net Grant Program
The Dental Safety Net Grant program assists dental providers who treat the uninsured. Eligible providers must be nonprofit Critical Access dental providers who offer free or reduced cost oral health care to low-income patients under the age of 21, and must also demonstrate that at least 80 percent of patient encounters are with uninsured patients or patients covered by Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. Funds will be distributed based on the number of individual uninsured patients under the age of 21 served by the applicant. Applications are due October 28. For more information, contact Shortage Designation Coordinator and Grant Program Manager Keisha Shaw at 651-201-3860 or

Mental Health Safety Net Grant Program
The Mental Health Safety Net Grant program assists mental health centers and clinics that treat the uninsured. Eligible providers must be Community Mental Health Centers or Clinics designated under Minnesota Statute 245.62, or nonprofit Mental Health Clinics designated as Essential Community Providers under Minnesota Statute 62Q.19. Eligible providers must also offer free or reduced-cost mental health care to low-income patients under the age of 21. Applications are due October 28. For more information, contact Shortage Designation Coordinator and Grant Program Manager Keisha Shaw at 651-201-3860 or

Medical Education and Research Costs (MERC) Program
The MERC Grant application is available for clinical training that took place in Minnesota in fiscal year 2015. Applications are open to Minnesota sponsoring institutions applying on behalf of their accredited teaching programs and eligible clinical training facilities for the following trainee types:

  • Advanced Dental Therapists
  • Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Clinical Social Workers
  • Community Health Workers
  • Community Paramedics
  • Dental Students
  • Dental Residents
  • Dental Therapists
  • Doctor of Chiropractic Students
  • Doctor of Pharmacy Students
  • Doctor of Pharmacy Residents
  • Medical Students
  • Medical Residents
  • Physician Assistant Students
  • Psychologists

Sponsoring institutions are required to complete their online application and submit a signed copy to MDH by October 31. For more information, contact MERC Program Administrator Diane Reger at 651-201-3566 or

Minnesota Loan Forgiveness Program
The next annual cycle of the Minnesota Health Care Loan Forgiveness Program will open November 1. Application information and materials will be available at that time.

Summer Health Care Internship Program
The purpose of the Summer Health Care Internship Program is to expose interested secondary and postsecondary pupils to various careers within the health care professions. The Minnesota Department of Health selects one statewide nonprofit organization to award grants to hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities and home care providers to establish summer health care internship programs for secondary and postsecondary students. Eligible organizations must be statewide nonprofit organizations representing facilities where students will serve their internships. Applications are due 4:30 p.m., November 7. For more information, contact Workforce Grants Administrator Darwin Flores Trujillo at 651-201-3850 or

Asthma Friendly Schools
The Minnesota Department of Health's Asthma Program in partnership with the American Lung Association in Minnesota is offering mini-grant funding to create asthma friendly schools. Grant money up to $1,500 is available to implement a variety of school-based projects in elementary, middle or high school settings. The funds are available to public schools, charter schools, and private schools and can be applied to individual schools or across districts. Six project areas are available to choose from: Asthma Data; Environmental Policy; Partnering with Parents and Caregivers; Teaching an Asthma Self-Management Curriculum; Linking Schools and Health Care; and Health Office Staff Training. Applications are currently being accepted through June 30, 2017. For more information, contact the MDH Asthma Program at 651-201-5909 or


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OTHER GRANTS And funding

Rural Health Network Development Program
The purpose of the Rural Health Network Development Program is to support mature, integrated rural health care networks to address the health care needs of the targeted rural community. Awardees will address the following statutory charges: 1) achieve efficiencies; 2) expand access, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services; and 3) strengthen the rural health care system as a whole. Applications are due November 28. For more information, contact Jayne Berube at 301-443-4281 or

Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship (NAT) Program
This announcement solicits applications for the FY 2017 Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship (NAT) program. Grants are awarded to accredited institutions that educate registered nurses to become nurse anesthetists; recipient institutions, in turn, disburse funds to students in the form of traineeship support. Traineeships will pay full or partial costs of the tuition, books/e-books, fees, and the reasonable living expenses (stipends) of trainees during the period for which the traineeship is provided. Funds appropriated for the NAT program are distributed among all eligible applicant institutions based on a formula. Applications are due December 5. For more information, contact Karen Delia Breeden at 301-443-5787 or

Regional Genetics Networks
This announcement solicits applications for Regional Genetics Networks (RGNs) to improve health equity and health outcomes in individuals with genetic conditions (including congenital and metabolic disorders), reduce morbidity and mortality caused by genetic conditions, and strengthen and improve the quality of coordinated follow-up and treatment for comprehensive genetic services. The purpose of the RGNs is to: 1) link medically underserved populations (based on poverty, rural geographic location, and/or populations that experience health disparities) to genetic services; 2) implement quality improvement activities to increase the connection with genetic services for the medically underserved; 3) implement evidence-based innovative models of telehealth and/or telemedicine with a focus on clinical genetics outreach; and 4) provide resources to genetic service providers, public health officials and families. Applications are due December 14. For more information, contact Jill Shuger at 301-443-3247 or


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Achieving Health Equity Webinar
In 2016, Cleveland Clinic was honored by the American Hospital Association (AHA) with its Equity of Care Award. The award was created to recognize outstanding efforts among hospitals and health care systems to advance equity of care to all patients and to spread lessons learned and progress toward achieving health equity. Cleveland Clinic has demonstrated sustained commitment to the National Call to Action to ensure equitable care for all persons in every community and supporting AHA's #123forEquity Pledge Campaign, which launched in 2015. This webinar will focus on the Cleveland Clinic's best practices around the collection and stratification of race, ethnicity and language preference (REaL) data, cultural competency training and other key programs focused on decreasing disparities in care. This webinar is available free of charge, but advance registration is required. It will be held Wednesday, October 12, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. CDT.

Two Trauma Reports
The goal of the Minnesota Statewide Trauma System’s is to reduce death and disability from traumatic injuries across the state. One essential method of achieving this goal is through the collection and analysis of trauma care data. To that end, the Trauma System recently published its 2014 Trauma Registry Report. This report establishes a baseline of trauma care data from which to develop clinical and system quality improvement, injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs. It includes state aggregate data on injury cause and severity, length of stay and patient disposition submitted by Minnesota’s trauma hospitals during the 2014 calendar year. Using the trauma registry, individual hospitals and regional trauma advisory committees can generate their own individual reports to compare local and regional results with the state aggregate results. In addition to this report, this year's 2014 Trauma System Report to the Legislature uses trauma registry data exclusively and marks a significant milestone in the maturity of the trauma system. For more information, contact Trauma System Coordinator Chris Ballard at 641-201-3841 or

Trans* Health 201: A Deeper Dive into Providing Culturally Appropriate Care from Patient and Provider Perspectives
This 90-minute webinar will discuss the health care needs of the trans* community from both the patient and provider perspectives. It will be held Monday, October 17, 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time. We will highlight the special obstacles faced by trans* patients within the healthcare setting, opportunities to improve cultural competency within your organization and best practices to integrate trans* friendly care into the primary care setting. The target audience includes Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) grantees, healthcare providers, public health officials, and advocates wanting to improve competency in regards to serving the needs of trans* patients in their practices. Space is limited, but registration is available for the recorded archive. For more information, please contact Valerie Gallo at 415-437-8095 or

State Innovation Model - Emerging Professions: Lessons Learned and Implications for Ongoing Practice
The Health Care Homes/State Innovation Model Learning Collaborative hosts a year round webinar series to provide opportunities for health care providers and community partners to learn about health transformation. On October 19, 12:00 – 1:00 pm, the webinar will feature State Innovation Model Learning Collaborative members: Katie Fritz Fogel, Research Analyst, Rainbow Research; and Lydia Karch, Community Program Manager, Hennepin County Medical Center and the Minnesota Visiting Nurses Association. They will be discussing the roles Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Community Paramedics (CPs) play in population health improvement efforts. Certificates of Attendance are available to participants who attend the webinar and complete an evaluation.

Stroke/STEMI Regional Workshops
The Minnesota Department of Health's (MDH) Cardiovascular Health Unit has announced a Regional Workshop series that will focus on best practices for stroke and heart attack patients in the pre-hospital and emergency department settings. The target audience is: EMS Professionals; ED nurses, managers, directors and supervisors; Stroke/STEMI Coordinators; Nurse and EMS educators; and clinicians involved in the care of stroke or STEMI patients. MDH is offering 5.25 contact hours for nursing. EMS credits are: 3.75 hours of NCCR and 1.5 hours of LCCR provided in partnership with Inver Hills Community College. Registration is required.

Veterans Choice Program Education for Community Providers
The Veterans Choice Program was established so that eligible veterans who are enrolled in the VA health system can receive care in their communities. Health care providers interested in participating in the Veterans Choice Program must establish either a Patient Centered Community Care (PC3) contract or a Choice Provider agreement with one of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs-approved contractors, Health Net Federal, or TriWest Healthcare Alliance. Both offer educational resources to help providers better understand the process. To register for a TriWest webinar, visit to view the webinar schedule. To access Health Net’s provider resources, visit


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Top Performing Rural Hospitals
A list of the Top Performing Rural Hospitals as determined by iVantage and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) has been released for Minnesota in time for National Rural Health Day on November 17. The four categories are: Excellence in Quality; Excellence in Outcomes; Excellence in Patient Satisfaction; and Excellence in Financial Strength.

USDA Funds Distance Learning and Telemedicine Projects
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded $23.4 million in grants to support 45 distance learning and 36 telemedicine projects nationwide. Three of these projects are located in Minnesota. Boise Forte Band of Chippewa in Nett Lake received $91,821 to implement telemedicine, tele-pharmacy and distance learning technology, and improve the availability of health services at all Boise Forte Health and Human Services locations. The network will give health care professionals the ability to connect in real time with healthcare facilities where transportation is a challenge. The Education Innovation Partners Cooperative Center in Hibbing received $365,968 to extend distance learning capabilities to over 4,800 students and 200 teachers at 24 rural k-12 schools in northern Minnesota, including one site on the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa reservation. This project will allow these institutions to: expand high school courses to educationally disadvantaged students, provide access to college courses, and provide access to enrichment opportunities currently unavailable in many rural communities including music lessons and cultural preservation activities. This project will also nurture the professional development and establishment of professional learning communities among teachers to ensure the delivery of high quality education. East Central Minnesota Educational Cable Cooperative in Braham received a $50,000 grant to expand educational opportunities to 10 schools in east central Minnesota. The project will promote higher education and workforce development strategies and work to preserve the Ojibwe language and culture through distance learning technology.

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ORHPC Staff News

Flex Program Coordinator Judy Bergh attended the National Rural Health Association’s Critical Access Hospital Conference in Kansas City, MO. She also did a site visit to Rainy Lake Medical Center, International Falls.

Flex Program Coordinator Judy Bergh, Rural Health Policy Researcher Emma Distel and Research Analyst Specialist Senior Angie Sechler met with Penny Black, Rural Health Epidemiologist at the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, to discuss evaluation and data analysis for State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and Flex Programs.

ORHPC Deputy Director Tim Held attended the annual EMS Medical Director's Retreat in Alexandria, and the 2016 Minnesota Childhood Injury Summit in Vadnais Heights.

Senior Research Analyst Laura McLain presented an overview and update on Minnesota's health workforce landscape to the Legislative Health Care Workforce Commission as they plan to end the work of the commission and produce a final report by the end of 2016.


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Health Reform
Reforming mental health in Minnesota (Governor's Task Force).
Rochester Community Drug Center opens with big plans (Foster's Daily Democrat).
Community Behavioral Health Hospitals mark decade of service (Minnesota Department of Human Services).
BJC HealthCare CEO lays out recommendations for improving direction of US health care (Becker's Hospital Review).
The urgent care business is about to get a lot bigger in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis Star Tribune).

Primary Care
Family doctor for rural area earns national recognition (The News & Observer).
Extending primary care hours is linked to fewer emergency department visits (Science Daily).
Transforming primary care (Federal Telemedicine News).

Rural Health
Supply and distribution of the behavioral health workforce in rural America (Rural Health Research Center).
Rural physician program draws support (University of South Dakota).
Pilot project to offer timely mental health care to rural patients (Billings Gazette).
Building a lifeline for rural addicts (Modern Healthcare).

Baby boomer bubble could stretch Iowa's health care workforce (The Gazette).
Aging experts say strengthening eldercare workforce must be a priority for the next president (Medical Xpress).
Minnesota's home care workers demand action on staff shortages, low wages (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
LRH hosts summer interns to help prepare for healthcare careers (Lake Region Healthcare).
A new kind of paramedic for less urgent 911 calls (Governing).

The revolution in EMS care (The Wall Street Journal).
30,000 opioid deactivation pouches being distributed in Minnesota (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
After life-saving call, Minnesota doctors looking at FaceTime differently (CBS Minnesota - WCCO).

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The eighth annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference Critical Issues in Rural Practice webcast will be held October 21 via webcast.

The Rural Minnesota Community Health Worker Conference will be held October 21 in Bemidji, MN.

The 2016 Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS) conference Partnering for Safe Care will be held October 27-28 in Brooklyn Park.

The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held November 3-4 in Minnetonka.

The fifth annual Women Impacting Healthcare Conference Celebrating Leadership: The Sweet Spot for Interprofessional Leadership Teams will be held November 11 in Minneapolis.

The Opportunity Conference Advancing LGBTQ Health will be held February 27-28 in St. Paul.


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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.