Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Rural Health Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 9-11:30 a.m.

Videoconference Meeting
Minnesota Department of Health-Freeman Building B108 (origination site), St. Paul, MN

Members Present: John Baerg, Tom Boe, Ray Christensen, Tom Crowley, Margaret Kalina, Tom Nixon, Nancy Stratman

Members Absent: Deb Carpenter, Jode Freyholtz, Steve Gottwalt, Jeff Hardwig, Diane Muckenhirn, Mary Ellen Otremba, Yvonne Prettner-Solon

MDH Staff Present: Doug Benson, Jeanne Danaher, Deb Hagel, Jill Myers, Tamie Rogers, Mark Schoenbaum, Angie Sechler, Kristen Tharaldson, Karen Welle


Dr. Barbara Brandt, Ph.D., director of the Minnesota Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) presented and led a discussion regarding the AHEC program and its five regional offices.

Also in attendance from the program office:  Melissa Hansen, Jennifer Kertz, Richard Smestad. 
Regional directors in attendance:  Brendan Ashby (Northeast), Pam Cosby (Urban), Dale Hustedt (representing the Southern region), Laurissa Stigen (Central) and Joan Tronson (Northwest). Each AHEC region operates as an independent nonprofit organization. 

Dr. Brandt’s presentation included background on the AHEC nationally and in Minnesota. The Minnesota AHEC was established in 2002. Primary strategies AHEC employs include:

1) Nurturing interest in health careers among youth
2) Linking health professionals students to practice opportunities in underserved rural and urban areas
3) Supporting health professionals in the community through education, training and partnership opportunities and
4) Working with communities to address regionally specific health workforce priorities.

Issues and needs raised during discussion included:

1) Clinical training sites are needed in rural facilities to support provider education and training
2) Continued monitoring of workforce shortages is needed. Recently, BSN Nurses have reported difficulty in finding employment
3) The long term care workforce is becoming more diverse. There is still a great need for recruiting and training a variety of workers to provide services for the aging. 


Mark Schoenbaum provided a brief, preliminary overview of known highlights impacting rural health care in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. More information on health reform and its implementation will be forthcoming.

ORHPC staff news: Kristen Tharaldson was accepted into the 2010 Rural Voices, which provides leadership and advocacy training for rural health. Jay Fonkert, lead Health Workforce Analyst retired in January. Ed Van Cleave will be starting in that position April 5.


Jill Myers provided an update on the Rural Telemental Health project. Small group discussions and key informant interviews have taken place regarding workforce and legal and financial issues. Additional meetings and interviews regarding infrastructure, models, and the patient experience are scheduled throughout April and May. A project time line was distributed and reviewed, indicating a final report in July 2010. 


The meeting adjourned at 11:08 a.m. RHAC members (and all interested others) are invited to join fellow RHAC member Nancy Stratman at Cokato Manor in Cokato, Minnesota on May 24. There will be a tour of the campus and a discussion of issues, needs, and models related to aging services and long term care in rural Minnesota. The next official RHAC meeting will be June 29, at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth.

Updated Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 12:28PM