Michelle Rathman, nationally known rural health and community engagement strategist, speaker, and writer, is the new host of Rural Matters, effective September 1, 2018. Her debut episode will release on September 10 and feature guest Alan Morgan, President of the National Rural Health Association.

Rathman replaces Mara Casey Tieken who has been a superb host and an invaluable contributor to Rural Matters, helping the program become the leading podcast in the country focused on expanding the dialogue among stakeholders in the areas of education, health and business in rural communities. Since launching in September 2017, the podcast has reached nearly 5,000 downloads, and has attracted national sponsors such as the American Association of School Administrators (The School Superintendents Association) and the National Rural Education Association, along with marketing partners that include the National Rural Education Association; Center for Rural Affairs; Ohio Small and Rural Collaborative; Foundation for Rural Service; NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association; Harvard Graduate School of Education Rural Educators Alliance; Community Hospital Corporation; and Journal of Research in Rural Education. Rural Matters is available on iTunes. Google Play, and Stitcher.

Click here to subscribe.

Rural Assembly’s Rural Women’s Summit with Whitney Coe & Edyael Del Carmen Casaperalta

Listen to Rural Assembly’s Rural Women’s Summit with Whitney Coe & Edyael Del Carmen Casaperalta

Michelle chats with two very important advocates in the rural space: Whitney Kimball Coe, coordinator of the National Rural Assembly, a rural movement comprised of activities and partnerships geared toward building better policy and more opportunity across the country; (the Rural Assembly is part of Rural Strategies, which also includes Daily Yonder, a definite go-to read for anyone interested in rural matters); and Edyael Del Carmen Casaperalta, Fellow at the American Indian Law Program at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder, where she researches and writes about federal Indian law, international human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, and telecommunications and technology. Coe has established a focus on building civic courage in communities and is directly tied to a practice of participation in her hometown of Athens, TN. Del Carmen Casaperalta is a budding attorney dedicated to serving indigenous peoples and poor communities in telecommunications and technology law matters. The National Rural Assembly is holding its first Rural Women’s Summit Oct. 28-29 in Greenville SC. The Summit will begin with a panel comprising women journalists and will include sessions covering running for public office, curating your own story, gender, identity, and power. Rural Matters will be recording a podcast live from the Summit, #ruralwomenlead. For more information, visit ruralassembly.org. This episode was sponsored by Bryan Telemedicine, https://www.bryanhealth.com/services/telemedicine/; Phynd, www.phynd.com; REC Foundation, roboticseducation.org; For the Win Robotics, frw-robotic.com; and the Rural Assembly, ruralassembly.org.     

STEM Education & Robotics with Daniel Mehay, Dan Mantz, and Tim Heffernan

Listen to STEM Education & Robotics with Daniel Mehay, Dan Mantz, and Tim Heffernan

Michelle chats with three experts on STEM education and robotics: Daniel Mehay, Dan Mantz, and Tim Heffernan.  Daniel Mehay is the owner and founder of FTW (For the Win) Robotics, which explores the STEM principles behind drones and their expanding use in society. Dan Mantz is the CEO of Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, and Tim Hefferman is the Tim has a accountProgram Manager at Pennsylvania Rural Robotics Initiative and the Gifted Support Teacher at Franklin Area High School in Pennsylvania. One of the real upsides of STEM is that the pay for employees is this field is considerably above the national average. Mehay discusses the FTW program, which focuses on the many uses of drones, including photography, crop management, and search and rescue operations — all important activities for rural communities. Heffernan notes that there are now 11 school districts in Pennsylvania participating in his program, but in the very near future, the number of high schools participating is expected to rise fairly dramatically. Mantz describes how once people in rural communities who are exposed to robotics competitions, they begin to understand the real upside for both students and the community. Anecdotally, he notes, on the first day of school this year, four teachers approached him about being involved in a robotics competition.

This episode was sponsored by Bryan Telemedicine,  https://www.bryanhealth.com/services/telemedicine; Phynd, www.phynd.com; and REC Foundation, www.roboticseducation.org

Telemedicine with Dr. Brian Bossard

Listen to Telemedicine with Dr. Brian Bossard

Michelle chats with Dr. Brian Bossard, the co-founder, President and CEO of Teledigm Health, Teledigm Physician Services, and Bryan Telemedicine, who also serves as Chief of Staff of Bryan Health, and is a  charter member of the physician editorial advisory panel for the Society of Hospital Medicine. When it comes to telemedicine, Bossard says it’s important to support the primary physician through new technology and to support patients in rural areas by enabling them to obtain quality care remotely. This is especially important for rural citizens who find it challenging to travel to a provider’s office. To achieve this end, Bossard’s organization participates in health fairs; demos the equipment and services when visiting rural communities; and brings their telemedicine providers on site. Typically, when a patient has a telemedicine encounter, there are mobile carts that include a monitor that is “articulating” or moving, at the direction of the provider, who might be hundreds of miles away. There is always a telepresenter, often a nurse, which connects the patient to the telemedicine experience. Equipment is not a one-size fits all situation but is dependent on the community involved.  Bryan Telemedicine now offers about 30 different telemedicine services.  Michelle and Bossard also discuss challenges to telemedicine, including broadband, licensing, and reimbursement. This episode was sponsored by Talem Health, www.talemhealth.com; Bryan Telemedicine, https://www.bryanhealth.com/services/telemedicine; and Phynd, www.phynd.com.

Rural Tourism with Liz Carey, Amanda MacDonald, and Kristopher Larsen

Listen to Rural Tourism with Liz Carey, Amanda MacDonald, and Kristopher Larsen

Michelle chats with Liz Carey, podcaster and freelance writer for Daily Yonder; Amanda MacDonald, festival co-ordinator for Frozen Dead Guys Days in Nederland, CO; and Kristopher Larsen, mayor of Nederland. Frozen Dead Guy Days started with a celebration of the cryogenic disposition of a local citizen and the running of hearse races almost two decades ago. It has now expanded to a wide assortment of exciting events, including a frozen T-shirt contest, and an attendance of between 20,000 and 25,000 for the weekend, according to MacDonald. The event is really at capacity at this point, notes MacDonald, who purchased the event from the local chamber of commerce. There are plusses and minuses of this event and other similar events, such as Synchronis Butterflies Day, according to Carey, who has written an outstanding piece on rural tourism for Daily Yonder. There is a definite economic boom for the town, which charges the festival for additional police and support and derives a benefit in terms of tourists spending money during the weekend and who also visit the town at other times because, well, it is the home of Frozen Dead Guy Days. But the festival is also taxing for the local police department and presents logistical concerns for both attendees and local residents, including backups on the highways.  Carey notes that the festival is extremely well organized, with specific instructions on how to best enjoy the festival.  Larsen notes that the event takes almost a year to plan, with challenges for the town of only 1,500 people, and includes outreach to citizens and local and state police and the fire and sheriff’s departments to ensure the safety and enjoyment of visitors. The event, which takes place in the second week of March, does offer opportunities for local businesses, explains Larsen. According to an informal survey he has taken, there is a doubling or tripling of their business during Frozen Dead Guy Days, compared to an immediate prior or post-event weekend. Finally, he notes, the event has produced a definite international notoriety, including from, you guessed it, the Netherlands. This episode was sponsored by Talem Health, www.talemhealth.com and 3RNet, www.3rnet.com

“The Providers” with Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin

Listen to “The Providers” with Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin

Michelle chats with the Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin, award-winning filmmakers of the new feature documentary, The Providers, which recently aired on PBS, about the challenges and opportunities in health care in rural America.  The filmmakers spent almost three years in rural New Mexico building long-term relationships with those in the film. It’s clear from the film that the profiled health care professionals provided life-saving services to patients in rural America. According to Green and Moot-Levin, the documentary is now being used by rural organizations to help recruit health care professionals. The film has great potential to influence and educate lawmakers about the current situation that rural decision-makers face when it comes to health issues, including recruitment and retention and the shortage of medical practitioners familiar with dealing with substance abuse issues, including opioids. It’s very important to try to funding for wraparound care and cutting-edge initiatives in rural health, Green and Moot-Levin assert. This episode was sponsored by Talem Health, www.talemhealth.com and 3RNet, www.3rnet.com