October 2018


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•MDH & ORHPC news
•MDH & ORHPC grants & loans
•Other grants & funding
•News of our partners
•Staff news
•Now read this
•Save the date

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MDH and ORHPC news

It's not too late to sign up for the last Rural Health Listening Sessions!

The purpose of these rural health listening sessions is to gather information to inform the Minnesota Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Flex) and other ORHPC projects. The Flex Program was created to improve access and quality, and focuses on Minnesota's Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) as the hub of rural systems of care. The target audience for these rural health listening sessions is anyone who works in, works with or uses rural health care. Please RSVP for the session you wish to attend by contacting Emma Distel at 651–201–3528.

  • October 24th in Marshall from 11-2
  • October 30th in Alexandria from 4-6

National Rural Health Day, 2018

2018 National Rural Health Day

Help us celebrate National Rural Health Day!

Take a photo of what rural means to you and send it to us at health.orhpc@state.mn.us. We will be choosing photos to post all day!

Or tweet your photos, #powerofrural, and tag us: @mnhealth

Resource materials for National Rural Health Day can be found at: https://www.powerofrural.org/

How did National Rural Health Day begin?

Since 1991, all 50 states receive State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) Grant funding from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) was established as the membership organization for all SORHs. NOSORH works to build local capacity of SORHs and draws attention to rural health care issues throughout the nation. In 2010, NOSORH created National Rural Health Day (NRHD) as a way to applaud successes and address ongoing challenges. Among the issues Minnesota's Office of Rural Health and Primary Care would like to highlight this year, is the upcoming 2020 Census. It is crucial that we get an accurate count throughout the entire state, especially in rural Minnesota! It is important to get an accurate representation of our population throughout our rural areas.

Count Every One




Sit down and be counted

Census 2020 - why is it important for rural Minnesota?

The U.S. Constitution mandates that everyone in the country be counted every 10 years. The first census was in 1790 and to this day the goal of the census is to count every person living in the U.S. once, only once, and in the right place. Why is the census important? Here are three reasons from the Minnesota State Demographic Center:

  • Equal representation. Every 10 years, the results of the census are used to reapportion the House of Representatives, determining how many seats each state gets. After each decade's census, state officials redraw the boundaries of the congressional and state legislative districts in their states to account for population shifts. It is possible that Minnesota may lose one district (it currently has 8). One less voting district means each district would have to represent about 100,000 more people.
  • Fair distribution of resources. The distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on census data. That money is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs. That means, for instance, that at least $1,532 per person is allocated by the federal government to Minnesota each year.
  • Data to make smart decisions. Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which create jobs. Local governments use the census for public safety and emergency preparedness. Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality–of–life and consumer advocacy.

Rural areas often face challenges in delivering an accurate census count. Let's make sure all areas of Minnesota are accurately represented. Visit the Minnesota State Demographic Center's Census 2020 website to learn how to support and get involved in planning for the next United State's Census!

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MDH and ORHPC grants and loans

Community Clinic Grant Program

The Community Clinic Grant supports the capacity of eligible organizations to plan, establish or operate clinical services for populations with low income and/or living in rural areas of the state. Due to the limited funding available for this program, the application process includes a pre–application which is due 3:00 p.m., November 15. For more information, contact Debra Jahnke at 651–201–3845.

Dental Safety Net Grant Program

The Dental Safety Net Grant Program supports eligible dental providers who serve the uninsured. Funds will be awarded each year proportionally among all eligible programs, based on the total number of uninsured patients under the age of 21 served. Step 1 applications are due by 4:30 p.m., October 26. MDH will send a Grant Distribution Announcement to eligible applicants on or before November 2. For more information, contact Will Wilson at 651-201-3842.

J–1 Visa and Waiver

Minnesota J–1 Visa and Waiver applications will be accepted through November 30. The J–1 Visa Program, sometimes referred to as the Conrad 30 program, is for international medical graduates who wish to pursue graduate medical training in the United States. For more information, contact Jodi Millner at 651–201–3856.

Medical Education and Research Cost (MERC) Grant

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has opened the MERC grant application for clinical training that took place in Minnesota in fiscal year 2017. 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

Doctor of Chiropractic Students

Advanced Practice Nurses

Doctor of Pharmacy Students

Clinical Social Workers

Doctor of Pharmacy Residents

Community Health Workers

Medical Students

Community Paramedics

Medical Residents

Dental Students

Physician Assistant Students

Dental Residents


Dental Therapists


* See application eligibility and instructions for details.

Grant materials can be found at MERC Grant Application.

Mental Health Safety Net Grant Program

The Mental Health Safety Net Grant Program, assists mental health centers and clinics that treat the uninsured. Funds will be awarded each year proportionally among all eligible programs, based on the total number of uninsured patients under the age of 21 served. The Legislature has appropriated up to $393,750 in Fiscal Year 2019. Funding will be allocated by formula, among eligible applicants. Step 1 applications are due by 4:30 p.m., October 26. For more information, contact Will Wilson at 651–201–3842.

Primary Care Residency Grant Program

The Primary Care Residency Grant Program provides funding to expand the training of primary care physicians. The grant program assists existing or proposed Primary Care Residency programs in Minnesota by funding costs associated with creating new residency programs, and training eligible residents in newly created slots. The Minnesota Legislature has appropriated $1,500,000 in grant funds for fiscal year 2019. Funds will be awarded after a competitive review process. Applications are due by October 31. For more information, contact Jodi Millner at 651–201–3856.

Rural Family Medicine Residency Grant Program

The Rural Family Medicine Residency Grant Program supports Family Medicine Residency programs outside the 7–county metropolitan area by funding costs associated with training eligible residents. Grant funds will be allocated first to support proposed new family medicine residency positions, and remaining funds will be allocated proportionally based on the number of existing residents in eligible programs. Step 1 applications are due by 4:30 p.m., October 29. For more information, contact Jodi Millner at 651–201–3856.

Rural Hospital Planning and Transition Grant Program

The purpose of the Rural Hospital Planning and Transition Grant Program is to provide funds for eligible small hospitals (50 or fewer beds) to preserve or enhance access to health services through planning or implementation projects. Applications are due November 9. For more information please contact Craig Baarson at 651–201–3840.

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. CT, November 6. For more information, contact Jodi Millner at 651–201–3856.

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Other grants and funding


Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) has announced a call for applications for Community Impact Contracts – Strategic, Timely, Actionable, Replicable, Targeted (CIC–START). DASH CIC–START aims to help multi-sector collaborations catalyze their efforts to share and use data to improve health and build a culture of health in their communities. An informational webinar will be held November 1 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET. The application deadline is November 16, 3:00 pm ET. In February 2016, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, St. Paul, was awarded a DASH grant to develop and implement multi–sector data sharing projects. Read about the work Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota addressed through Altair Accountable Care for People with Disabilities.

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Benefits of public transportation survey

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is funding a study, conducted by researchers at North Dakota State University, about the benefits of public transportation in Greater Minnesota. Individuals across the state are invited to complete this survey by copying and pasting this link in your browser: https://ndstate.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_1ZKe7s5ldYKVaWF. For more information about the project, please contact Sara Dunlap at 651–366–4194, or Jeremy Mattson at 701–231–5496.

Celebrate Corps Community Month in October

Throughout the month of October, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) will highlight how the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) provides access to care in rural and underserved communities across the country. By providing essential care to those who need it most, the NHSC makes a difference in the lives of millions of Americans. The Corps Community Month is an opportunity to recognize these contributions. Watch the Corps Community Month video.

Health Care Homes Learning Days call for proposals

Minnesota Department of Health's Health Care Homes is seeking proposals for concurrent breakout sessions for its Learning Days Conference, April 10, 2019. The annual conference brings together more than 300 health care providers, public health professionals and community partners to exchange information, advance health transformation, and build relationships. Proposals may include individual or group presentations and should align with conference objectives. Proposals are due November 9.

National Rural Health Association webinars

Every month, the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Partnership Program hosts free webinars. You must register for them. The following are a sample of topics.

  • The community connection: How top 20 hospitals win locally. Tuesday, October 23, 2:00 PM–3:00 PM CDT.
  • Rebranding rural healthcare: Challenging a community. Wednesday, October 31, 2:00 PM–3:00 PM CDT.
  • Healthcare governance today: Is your board strong enough for the future? Thursday, November 1, 2:00 PM–3:00 PM CDT.
  • Understanding and addressing the impact of clinician burden. Wednesday, November 7, 2:00—3:00 PM CST.

New data on child health across the United States

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has released the 2017 National Survey of Children’s Health data from nearly 21,000 households across the U.S. This voluntary survey, funded and directed by HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau, provides annual national– and state–level estimates of key measures of child health and well–being. Anyone can access the data free of charge. The HRSA National Survey of Children's Health gives the most current state–by–state snapshot of data on some of the most consequential health issues affecting children today.

Rural insights on adult and youth obesity

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey provides nationally representative estimates of obesity in adults and youth as well as the latest trends in obesity and severe obesity in rural compared to urban areas from 2001 to 2016. 

Telehealth resource center

Telehealth can play an important role in addressing the opioid epidemic by filling gaps in access to care and available workforce. Expanding the use of telehealth for the delivery of medication–assisted treatment (MAT) complements comprehensive primary care services and coordination of patient care across providers. In a recent blog post, Using Telemedicine to Combat the Opioid Epidemic, the federal Health & Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health alerted health care providers to how they can expand access to medication–assisted treatment through telemedicine. Providers in underserved urban areas and rural communities will want to take a closer look at these important resources.

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News of our partners

Minnesota Critical Access Hospital Awards

Every year the highest ranked critical access hospitals (CAHs) in the country, as determined by The Chartis Center for Rural Health, are recognized at the annual National Rural Health Association's (NRHA) Critical Access Hospital Conference. This year, four Minnesota Critical Access Hospitals were honored at the conference held in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City, Missouri

  • Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin:Top 20 Overall Award

    Riverwood Healthcare Center
    A team of 8 people from Riverwood Healthcare Center (including CEO Todd Sandberg) were there to accept the award in person.

  • Bigfork Valley Hospital in Bigfork: Top 20 Award for Best Practices in Quality and Top 20 Award for Best Practice in Patient Satisfaction

    Bigfork Hospital
    Aaron Saude (CEO of Bigfork Valley Hospital) accepting the award in person. Mr. Saude was also a co–presenter with Sarah Young from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) and Sarah Brinkman from Stratis Health on quality of care (work that was highlighted in the MBQIP Monthly January 2016).

  • Sanford Westbrook Hospital in Westbrook: Top 20 Award for Best Practices in Quality

    Sanford Westbrook Hospital
    Stacy Barstad (CEO of Sanford Westbrook Hospital and Chair of the Minnesota Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Advisory Committee)

  • Murray County Medical Center in Slayton: Top 20 Award for Best Practices in Patient Satisfaction

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ORHPC staff news

It is with heavy hearts that we relay the news that our wonderful colleague, ORHPC Policy Planner, Darcy Dungan–Seaver, passed away after a long struggle with a recurrence of cancer. Many of you worked with her over the last six years on a range of rural health issues, or in her previous roles at Westside Community Health Center and the Neighborhood Health Care Network. For those of you who had the good fortune to work with Darcy, you know that she was an energetic, creative, passionate advocate for rural health and safety net care, as well as a joy to talk to about any topic. She was an inspiring colleague and we will miss her deeply.

As many of you know, our Helmsley Trust LUCAS Grant Coordinator, Jodi Millner, has accepted the ORHPC Workforce Grants Administrator position. She will be managing a suite of grants, administering the J–1 visa waiver program, and helping with the MERC program.

After years of running Minnesota's Flex Program, our Flex Program Coordinator, Judy Bergh, has retired to the North Woods where we wish her a warm fire for the coming months ahead. Luckily for us, Judy is still involved in the Listening Sessions that ORHPC is holding this fall.

We welcome Rose Christensen to ORHPC as a OAS Senior and are looking forward to the experienced administrative skills she will be bringing to the office!

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Now read this

Health equity

Significant disparities in college student mental health treatment across race/ethnicity (EurekAlert!).
Trend of fewer black male doctors has broader public health impact (The Atlanta Journal–Constitution).

Health care

Should hospitals limit the number of patients nurses can help? (Governing).
App allows online doctor visits during Florence (video) (WSAV3).
Your next doctor's appointment might be with an AI (MIT Technology Review).
Direct primary care: A segue to direct–to–employer? (HealthLeaders).


Rural america gets creative to attract much–needed doctors (Governing).
Could the state–funded International Medical Graduate Assistance Program do more for immigrant doctors—and help address Minnesota's looming doctor shortage? (MinnPost).
The community health worker boom (NEJM Catalyst).
MSU students staffing mental health clinic (Bozeman Daily Chronicle).
Helping healthcare workers avoid burnout (Harvard Business Review).
Building a strong home care workforce (Forbes).
AHCA teams with PHI, launches long–term care workforce center (Skilled Nursing News).


Day–tripping to the dispensary: Seniors in pain hop aboard the canna–bus (Kaiser Health News).
Twin Cities hospitals face critical shortage of pain medications (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
The HRSA strategy to address intimate partner violence, 2017–2020 (Health Resources & Services Administration).

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Save the date

The annual Many Faces of Community Health Conference will be held October 25–26, in Bloomington.

The Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS) Conference Reigniting Our Passion for Safe Care will be held October 25–26, in Brooklyn Park.

The Minnesota Oral Health Coalition's 2018 Conference Endless Possibilities: The Expanding Oral Health Neighborhood will be held November 2, in Andover.

The annual National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota Conference Transforming Attitudes will be held November 3, in St. Paul.

The Minnesota School Mental Health Conference Integrating Health, Safety and Learning: The Tools Needed for Success will be held November 7–9, in Brainerd.

The Northeast Regional Healthcare Workforce Summit will be held November 9, in Mountain Iron.

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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

Contact maria.rogness@state.mn.us or call 651-201-3863.



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ORHPC 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.
Updated Thursday, 29-Nov-2018 11:27:05 CST