New Session!

We’ve been able to add another session to the Head for the Hills agenda!

Justin Crow, from the Virginia Department of Health will be presenting:

Getting the Most from Federal and State Loan Repayment Programs:  Guidance for Practitioners and Practice Sites

Mr. Crow’s presentation will enable you to:

  • Describe HPSA designations and the HPSA designation process
  • Ascertain eligibility for Loan Repayment Programs
  • Select the appropriate Loan Repayment Program with goals & eligibility
  • Navigate the HPSA and LRP landscape

Justin Crow, MPA is the HPSA Designations & GIS Manager, Office of Minority Health & Health Equity, Va. Dept. of Health.  We hope you are looking forward to all of the educational sessions at this event.

Do Residents Return?

“Grow your own” is a popular phrase for those trying to improve the supply of health professionals in rural areas.  But does it work? The USDA recently released a report titled “Factors Affecting Former Residents’ Returning to Rural Communities“.

Factors which encouraged residents to return to their rural roots:

  • presence of parents
  • desire to raise their children back home
  • easy-going environment
  • outdoor recreation

Local schools also played an important role.  People who had a positive outlook on rural schools came back; those who felt that urban schools would better fit their child’s needs, did not.

The report summary goes on to say:

Family motivations dominated, but returning home also depended on securing a job, often involving creative strategies to overcome employment limitations. Return migrants frequently mentioned their acceptance of financial and career sacrifices for returning home. Most nonreturnees who may have considered coming home cited low wages and lack of career opportunities as the primary barriers to their return.

So the challenge for rural recruiters is: what can be done to improve the factors that can be controlled – school systems and economic environment?

Turn Up the Volume

Head for the Hills isn’t the only event for rural healthcare providers this fall; the Virginia Rural Health Association will be hosting their annual conference October 13 & 14.

For twenty years, the Virginia Rural Health Association has served as “The Voice for Rural Health in Virginia.”  Now they are asking you to turn up the volume on that voice.  Rural hospitals, clinics, providers and students are under greater pressure than ever to provide services in an increasingly challenging environment.  For their 20th Anniversary, VRHA is asking all rural health stakeholders to raise their voice with us and help call attention to the needs of Virginia’s rural citizens.

The Annual Conference of the Virginia Rural Health Association is an opportunity for the people and organizations that serve Virginia’s rural population from across the Commonwealth to meet.  The event is filled with workshops, keynote speakers, poster presentations, networking and an Exhibit Hall.  The people who attend the event are as diverse as the VRHA membership: hospital executives, academic faculty, clinic staff, government officials, health professions students and more.

Bringing the people who care about rural Virginia together provides an opportunity to discuss how we can ensure the sustainability of rural Virginia through policy, access, economics, education and more.

Turn Up the Volume!  Click here for details.

Lodging at the Hills

Oh, the views…170-Stateline-Overlook

One of the highlights of the Head for the Hills event is being able to stay in accommodations with views like this:


If you’ve attended Head for the Hills in the past, note that lodging arrangements are a bit different this year.

You will need to reserve your own room.  For reservations please call BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK directly at 276-865-4414 Ext. 3201.  They will require your credit card to hold the room.

PLEASE NOTE that your card will be charged at the time you make the reservation.  BUT – when you attend Head for the Hills, you will receive a check from us for $75/night (room fees are $70 + tax). This policy has been implemented to preserve funds lost due to no-shows. Everyone who attends will reimbursed for their room costs.

Note that the deadline to reserve a hotel room is September 15th.  That’s also the deadline to cancel a room you have reserved and still be able to get a refund from the hotel.  In the event of problems or questions making a hotel reservation, the park contact is Vickie Swiney ( 276-865-4413 Ext. 3203).

Because you don’t want to miss out on the views…



What to do in the Hills?

Let’s face it – while Head for the Hills is a fantastic educational event, it also reflects the old adage, “location, location, location.”  Why do the educational sessions end at 12:30 each day?  So you can go have fun!

Head for the Hills will be held again this year at the Breaks Interstate Park.  It will be October, so the fall leaves will be at their peak.  That means:

“Bountiful nature, as richly colored as our mosses underfoot, our mountains on the horizon, and our sky overhead.”

The Breaks Interstate Park boasts 4600 acres, more than 25 miles of walking trails, and a 5-mile gorge plunging to 1650 feet known as the “Grand Canyon of the South.”  Activities include guided hikes, biking, geocaching, birding, pedal boats/canoes and fishing (some activities have a fee).

If you’ve been to the Breaks before, that might sound too familiar, so check out their new activity – Elk Watching!

Not into the great outdoors?  You can venture off site to the Ralph Stanley museum in neighboring Clintwood, or ACT Theatre in Elkhorn, KY.

Bringing the kids?  There is child care available during the educational sessions, hay rides later in the day, a playground, and magician Joseph Young!

Visit the main Head for the Hills page for details about registration, lodging and links to the educational session descriptions.  See you there!






Executive Director, Southwest Virginia Area Health Education Center (AHEC)

Oakwood, VA & Blacksburg, VA (2 office locations, HQ site to be determined based on employee residence)

Position Description:  Under the direction of the Southwest Virginia AHEC Board of Directors, and working with the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority (VHWDA), the Executive Director provides leadership and administrative and program management for Southwest Virginia AHEC. This includes regional development of services and programs that support health careers promotion, access to primary care, student and resident experiential education, community health awareness and professional continuing education within the SW AHEC 21-county service area.

Principal Responsibilities:  Duties include but are not limited to developing, directing, and promoting immediate and long-term programs and projects, developing and maintaining a professional staff, preparing and managing an annual budget, and carrying out the organization’s goals and objectives to ensure compliance with the contractual terms between the VHWDA/Virginia Statewide AHEC Program and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, and others.

Minimum Experience and Qualifications: The position requires a Bachelor’s degree, preferably a Master’s degree, in a health-related field, community health, health education, public relations, business management, or non-profit management, with a minimum of five years of professional experience, including program management and implementation. Demonstrated experience in human resources supervision (at least one year), fiscal management, and developing community collaborations and partnerships is essential.

Compensation:  Commensurate with experience; anticipate salary between $45,000-60,000, plus benefits.

Interested candidates should submit résumé with cover letter describing skills and experience to:

Howard Chapman, Jr., Chairman of the Board
Program Development Director
Tri-Area Community Health
PO Box 9,14168 Danville Pike
Laurel Fork, VA  24352

Position will close on September 07, 2015.

More Head for the Hills

Here’s a few new session descriptions for the upcoming Head for the Hills event:

Curbside Consults, Bob Franko

Embedding behaviorists into primary care has many benefits in both clinical and financial outcomes, but to achieve those outcomes is often harder than it looks. Cherokee Health Systems (Knoxville, TN) offers a mature integrated practice that has nearly 40 years of development to its credit, today serving over 65,000 patients in 56 clinical locations across 15 counties in east Tennessee.  We will describe the clinical model and define the key roles, as well as talk about the specific billing and coding challenges related to an integrated practice. “Curbside consults,” “warm handoffs,” and team meetings are terms associated with integrated care, but are widely misunderstood by both providers and payers. We’ll define these practices and how to discuss them with payers.

Nutrition Economy in a Food Oasis, Kelley Pearson

Living on a tight budget means careful consideration of food choices. Chef Kelley Pearson discusses how a family of two adults and five kids at the poverty line shops local and eats mostly good stuff. Kelley also runs a restaurant that serves non-processed foods, and has “fought the good fight” on what patrons will and won’t pay to eat. Listen to her witty, wise, and informative discussion of the difference between “medical advice” and “plausible lifestyles” in SW VA. Extra Q&A time has been scheduled so you can get insights from someone who has been there, done that.


Click here for the main event page and here for additional session descriptions.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.