Biographies of members of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.
Former Governor of Mississippi
Ronnie Musgrove has dedicated his life to serving the people of Mississippi. For more than two decades, he's taken a leading role in the State to improve education, expand economic development, and ensure that government lives within its means.
During Ronnie Musgrove's tenure as Governor of Mississippi, he helped create more than 52,000 new jobs, brought more than $14 billion in new investments to the state, invested in creating rural jobs, and brought Nissan to Mississippi, which was the largest economic development project in state history.
He also passed historic education funding reforms to ensure every school got its fair share. His administration enacted the largest teacher raise in state history, strengthened school accountability standards, and made Mississippi the first state in the nation to have a computer hooked up to the Internet in every classroom.
Governor Musgrove’s dedication to providing quality public education and creating economic opportunity for all Mississippians has received national attention. His history-making efforts in providing health insurance for children (from under 1,000 to over 60,000), expanding civil defense, and working with the Mississippi National Guard have not gone unnoticed. Having received many accolades, he is the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award from the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C.
A strong fiscal conservative, Governor Musgrove balanced the budget without raising taxes by ordering state agencies to cut their budgets by five percent and cut spending by $50 million in his first budget, while managing to increase funding for education.
Governor Musgrove has served in many leadership positions throughout his career of public service. During his time as a state senator, Governor Musgrove chaired the Education Committee. In 1998 he was recognized nationally as a leader among his peers, serving as chair of the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors. He served as chair of the Southern Regional Education Board, as the chair-elect for the Southern States Energy Board, on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the Executive Committee for the Democratic Governors' Association, where he served as vice chair of policy.
Governor Musgrove is active in volunteerism working with both Habitat for Humanity and Stewpot Community Services. He and his wife, Melody, are active members of First Baptist Church of Jackson, where both teach Sunday school. They have four children and reside in Madison, MS.
Assistant Professor, California State University
Eugenia (Geni) Cowan, PhD, is a professor at California State University, Sacramento, in educational leadership and policy. She has worked as a trainer and facilitator for The Center for Human Services at UC Davis Extension since 1996, specializing in issues such as working with Native American clients, HIV/AIDS in the workplace, the Indian Child Welfare Act, alcohol/substance abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence, and dual diagnosis. Dr. Cowan has more than 20 years of experience in community-based social services and organizational leadership and development. She has provided strategic planning and professional development training to the California Tribal TANF Consortium and taught at a tribal college. She has also developed and managed case management programs and trained case managers for several years. Additionally, Dr. Cowan is a senior consultant with Eagle Blue Associates, a consulting organization providing, among other services, expert witness testimony in ICWA cases.
General Partner, Valdez Medical Clinic LLC
Since 1994 Dr. Cullen has served as a physician at Valdez Medical Clinic, a four physician private practice in a medically remote area at the terminus of the Alaskan pipeline. A member of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), he has served on several task forces including Rural Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Family Physicians performing Cesarean sections. He has been a member of the Alaska Rural Medical Congress since 1998 and was named Alaska Family Physician of the Year in 2008.
At the local level, he has served as Chief of Staff of Valdez Community Hospital since 1995. He is the physician sponsor of Valdez Emergency Medical Services and has served as the physician for the World Extreme Ski Championship, the World Free Ski Championship, and the King of the Hill Snowboard Championship. He has given presentations on anesthesia for remote and rural locations, maintaining ideal body weight, and on family physicians in rural emergency medicine, among other topics.
Dr. Cullen received a B.S. in Molecular & Cell Biology from the University of California, San Diego in 1985 and an M.D. in 1991 from the University of Arizona, College of Medicine. He has served as the President of the Alaskan Academy of Family Physicians and as an expert witness in rural obstetrics malpractice cases.
Director, Central Montana Head Start, Inc.
Pamela is the director for a Head Start program in frontier Montana, Ms. Pamela deRosier has seen the struggles that families face. The coverage area served by their program covers an area roughly the size of Massachusetts but contrasts greatly by having one person per 2.9 square mile. Although she has worked for two not-for-profits that have been located in rural areas, she has a passion for planning, evaluating and monitoring a comprehensive early care and education program which has allowed her to work collaboratively with other rural agencies to overcome the obstacles and increase access to early childhood resources. For the past twenty years, she has been fortunate in having the opportunity to live in many areas throughout the United States from larger urban areas to areas so remote that access to towns with minimal services are still over a hundred miles away. This opportunity has given her the ability to experience the hardships that rural areas face first hand.
White Earth Child Care Programs
White Earth, MN
Barbara Fabre is an enrolled member of the Ojibwa Nation in Minnesota and has worked for the White Earth Reservation for the past 20 years working in the Education and Human Services Department, working with Youth Services, WIC, Indian Child Welfare, Employment and Training and Child Care Services. Barbara is the director for the White Earth Child Care Programs (CCDF), Co-Chair and co –founder of the Communities Collaborative Conference (Minnesota’s largest annual Brain Development conference); a Public School Board member, sits on the Advisory Committee for the Center of Early Education Department/University of Minnesota, and is co-Chair of the White Earth Reservation Cultural Task Force. The White Earth Child Care Program manages two child care learning centers, a basic sliding fee subsidy program a tribal licensing program and early childhood read mobile/early literacy program and is in the process of initiating an Ojibwa language immersion child care program.
Administrator, Upland Hills Health
Ms. Fritsch is the Chief Executive Officer of Upland Hills Health which includes a 25-bed critical access hospital, a 44-bed nursing home, out-patient dialysis, home health, and hospice. She created a separate corporation, Upland Hills Health Foundation, for the purpose of financially supporting Upland Hills Health. Since 1979 she has been with Upland Hills Health in positions that include Director of Health Information Management, Information Systems Director, Quality Improvement Co-Director, and Community Relations Director.
She is a graduate of the Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program and has completed business courses at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Ms. Fritsch is a founding member and Vice-Chair of the Iowa County Area Economic Development Corporation and a member of the Thrive Healthcare Council. She formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Memorial Hospital of Iowa County and the Dodgeville General Hospital.
Chief Executive Officer, Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc.
For thirty years, Roland Gardner has served as the very effective Chief Executive Officer of Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., which provides health services to more than 19,000 patients in the tri-county area. The excellence of his leadership has been recognized locally and nationally. Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. (BJHCHS) provides health care for three rural counties and contiguous areas under Public Health Service Section 330 funding. These services include: medical, dental, laboratory, radiology, nursing, counseling, home health, nutrition counseling, pharmacy, medical social work, environmental health and transportation.
Director, Maine Rural Health Research Center, Research Professor, Muskie School of Public Health, University of Southern Maine
Dr. Hartley is the Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center and a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Muskie School of Public Service, at the University of Southern Maine, where he has been on the faculty since 1994. From 1989 to 1994, Dr. Hartley conducted research in the areas of rural health and medical technology at the University of Minnesota. Prior to his academic career, he had a twelve-year career in health services management, directing both public and private substance abuse treatment programs. His research is focused on access to mental health services in rural areas, rural substance abuse prevention, rural safety net issues, Critical Access Hospitals, and obesity prevention. His publications include research addressing the treatment of depression, the licensure and reimbursement of the mental health workforce, the rural behavioral health safety net, scope of services in rural hospitals, and geographic disparities in health status. In 2003, Dr. Hartley’s sustained research in rural mental health was recognized by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) with their Distinguished Researcher Award. He served on the NRHA’s Policy Board from 1998-2006. In 2004 he served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Future of Rural Health Care, which published Quality Through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health in 2005. He is currently on the editorial boards of the Journal of Rural Health and Rural and Remote Health, and serves in an advisory capacity to the Rural Veterans Resource Center based at White River Junction, VT.
A native of Minnesota, Dr. Hartley holds a Master of Hospital and Healthcare Administration (M.H.A.) degree and a Ph.D. in Health Services Research, both from the University of Minnesota.
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Thomas Hoyer worked primarily in policy-making positions for what is now called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and its predecessor organizations, from 1972 until his retirement in 2002. His experience includes virtually the full range of Medicare and Medicaid policy areas, including health and safety, coverage, and the development of many of today's prospective payment systems. In addition, in the several years before his retirement, Mr. Hoyer served as CMS' liaison to the rural community. He received his B.A. and M.A. in English from Indiana University in 1968 and 1970, respectively, and his M.B.A. from Loyola College in Baltimore in 1983.
Administrator, Good Samaritan Society
Good Samaritan Society Wagner is a nursing home facility, located in Wagner, SD. Nursing home facilities are for elderly people with chronic health conditions or injuries that require long-term care, constant monitoring and 24-hour-a-day availability of doctors, nurses and health care aides. Ms. Juffer focuses on Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society’s mission and hallmark values, providing an environment where individual residents and staff members feel loved, valued and at peace. She ensures leadership team members understand their role and are providing the best possible care for residents and their family members. She strives to be the “Health Care Solution” for individuals in the rural community. The facility is located on the Yankton Sioux Indian Reservation and focuses on making challenges into opportunities.
Director, Charles D. Cook Office of Rural Health, New York and Division of Health Facilities Planning, Office of Health Systems Management, NYS Department of Health
Karen Madden directs the need review process of Certificate of Need applications at the Bureau of Health Facility planning with the New York State Department of Health. Ensures that capital reinvestment is completed based on community need and enhances access to services for all community residents. Reviews needs methodology data and provide updates accordingly as well as participate in statewide community health planning efforts. Ms. Madden serves as a staff member to the NYS Public Health and Health Planning Council. Ms. Madden is also the director of the Charles D. Cook Office of
Rural Health for NY and oversees administration of federal and state programs totaling $18 million. She directs statewide rural policy development and implementation and serves as the Executive Staff to the NYS Rural Health Council.
Executive Director of Southwest 8 Senior Service
Council Bluffs, IA
Barbara became the Executive Director of Southwest 8 Senior Services on July 9, 1991. Southwest 8 Senior Services is the Area Agency on Aging which serves 8 counties in southwest Iowa. Within the Planning and Service Area there is one town which comprises of approximately 55,000 (pop.) (Council Bluffs), but after that, the next largest community is around 7, 300 (pop.) and several at 5,500 (pop.). One county has one large community of only 3,000 (pop.), the rest of the county is under this population amount. The total 60+ age population is just over 38,000 individuals
Prior to this role, she was the Nutrition Director for the Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging for six years, the State Nutrition Specialist for Nebraska's Department on Aging for over four years, and an Assistant Professor at The Pennsylvania State University for two years. Barbara received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Food & Nutrition/Dietetics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She received a Master’s of Science degree in Food Systems Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Barbara has served in many leadership roles including Chair and Treasurer of the Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging (I4A), Alternate to the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging Board, Chair of the Gerontological Nutrition Practice Group of the American Dietetic Association, President of the Nebraska, Omaha, and Lincoln Dietetic Associations, and President of the Council Bluffs Rotary Club. Barb enjoys the challenge of working on senior issues and accomplishing results.
Wayne Myers, MD, is a retired pediatrician. He spent most of his career developing and managing a rural allopathic and osteopathic medical school, allied health and AHEC programs in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Appalachian Kentucky. He directed the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy for two years and was president of the National Rural Health Association in 2003. Dr. Myers is a board of trustees’ member of The Maine Health Access Foundation and the mission is to promote access to quality health care and improve the health of everyone in Maine. As the state's largest health care foundation, the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) supports strategic solutions to Maine's health care needs through grants and other programs, particularly targeting those who are uninsured and medically underserved. Annually MeHAF provides approximately $5 million in grant and program funding in support of activities which support its mission. Since 2002, MEHAF has awarded more than $36 million in grants and program support to 227 organizations across Maine. Mr. Myers currently chairs Maine's Rural Health Working Group, appointed by the Governor's Office of Health Policy, and is involved with national organizations trying to strengthen rural development. He's a trustee of Appalachian Regional Healthcare, a nonprofit organization which operates clinics, home health agencies and nine hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia. He and his wife, JoAnn, operate Beau Chemin Farm, a preservation farm in Waldoboro.
Ms. Perdue currently serves as the President and CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. In that capacity she represents a unified voice for the 14 critical access hospitals as well as the urban hospital and nursing home members.
Prior to this she served as the Associate Vice President for Health at the University of Alaska. She developed academic opportunities for health professions, health research and distance education.
Prior to joining the University of Alaska, Ms. Perdue served for seven years as the Commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services. During her tenure, she led the State's efforts in welfare reform, health care expansions, child protection, juvenile justice, public health, mental health, substance abuse and initiatives in primary care, suicide prevention and fetal alcohol syndrome. She also served as the Department's Deputy Commissioner, specializing in Medicaid, Public Assistance and rural health delivery. She has been a newspaper reporter, a legislative aide to Senator Ted Stevens, and a Teamster during the building of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. She was executive producer of two public television projects, one of which was nominated for a 2006 Emmy, and both of which received Telly awards
She was recently awarded the Victor Howery Award from the National Rural Mental Health Directors Association for her work in behavioral health.
Ms. Perdue graduated from Stanford University. She is a past member of her community hospital board as well as the board of the Providence Alaska Health system.
Chief Executive Officer, St. Luke Community Hospital & Nursing Home
Mr. Roberts has been the Chief Executive Officer of St. Luke Community Hospital & Nursing Home in Ronan, Montana since 1988. He has over seen numerous building projects, the latest a $30 million expansion/addition to the hospital. Prior to joining St. Luke, he served as Financial Director and Administrator of Community Hospital in Yakima, Washington.
He has been a member of the Rural Hospitals Issues Group, the American Hospital Association, and the Rural Hospital Regulatory Advisory Committee. He is on the Board of Directors of the Montana Hospital Association and has served as Chairman. He also served as President of the Northwest Osteopathic Hospital Association. Mr. Roberts was appointed by the Governor as the Commissioner of the Washington State Hospital Commission and to Washington State Hospital Technical Advisory Committee.
Mr. Roberts received a Graduate Certificate in Health Care Financial Management from the University of Colorado-Denver and Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the Central Washington University.
Chief Medical Officer, Whatley Health Services, Inc.
Dr. Gary Maurice Walton, DO, practices family and emergency medicine in York , Alabama . Dr. Walton graduated with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine 26 years ago from University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines, Iowa. He is currently the Chief Medical Officer at the Whatley Health Services, Inc. which is a private, non-profit,community health center whose mission is to provide primary health care services to the medically underserved residents of West Alabama. Headquartered in West Tuscaloosa, the organization utilizes public and private funds to meet the challenges of a dynamic society. They fulfill this mission through utilizing skilled, motivated professionals dedicated to providing health care services and addressing current health needs and by improving access to primary health care for residents of West Alabama. Networking and working collaboratively with other health and human service providers is paramount with this rural health care agency and they provide a "medical home" to the "at-risk" population.
Physician Assistant, Howard County Medical Clinic
St. Paul, NE
Roger Wells graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Physical Education K-12, Athletic Training and Coaching Interscholastic Sports from the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) in 1978. Roger continued his education at Eastern Illinois University and graduated with a Masters Degree in Physical Education and Athletic Training with an emphasis in Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology in 1980. Mr. Wells then went on to the University of Nebraska Medical Center and received a Physician Assistant Degree in 1987.
Mr. Wells is certified through the National Commission of Physician Assistants and is also certified in BLS, ACLS, ATLS, NRP and PALS.
Mr. Wells was the head Athletic Trainer at UNK from 1980 until 1983, and in that role, he was responsible for the injury prevention and care of all 13 varsity athletic teams. He has been a Physician Assistant in St. Paul since 1987. He worked at Family Practice of St. Paul, which then became the Medical Clinic, and is now referred to as Howard County Medical Clinic. Mr. Wells resides in St. Paul with his wife, Debra. They have three grown children: Adam, Lea and Jana.
Founding President and CEO, Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado
Grand Junction, CO
Christy Whitney is a master’s-prepared Registered Nurse who began her hospice career as a nurse over twenty-nine years ago. She helped found an all-volunteer hospice program in Durango, Colorado in 1979, served as a Vice President of Mercy Medical Center in Durango, then served as CEO of Hospice of Northern Virginia. She was recruited to Grand Junction in 1993 to be the founding CEO of Hospice of the Grand Valley (as they were originally known). Under her leadership, Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado has grown to become one of the most innovative hospices and palliative care organizations in the country. She served three terms on the Board of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and is an active Board member of the National Hospice Work Group and Western Health Care Alliance. She is appointed as a Livingston Fellow of the Bonfils Stanton Foundation and is a Nightingale Award recipient.