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Department of Health and Human Services
The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services
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Biographies of members of the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

Chair: Ronnie Musgrove, J.D.

Former Governor of Mississippi
Jackson, MS

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 chair of the Mississippi Center for Legal Services Advisory Group and is the Senior Policy Scholar in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. In March 2014, Gov. Musgrove was reappointed by U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, to serve as a board member on the National Assessment Governing Board, of which he is a past-chairman
of the NAEP 12th Grade Preparedness Commission.  He is also past co-chairman of the Biomass Research and Development Technical Advisory

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 Parkway Hills United Methodist Church of Madison. They have four children and reside in Madison, MS.

Kathleen H. Belanger, MSW, Ph.D.

Nacogdoches, TX

Kathleen Belanger, MSW, Ph.D. retired as Professor of Social Work at Stephen F. Austin State University, is a member of the Rural Policy Research Institute’s Human Services panel, and a consultant with the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment at AdoptUSKids.  Her experience, research and numerous publications address rural human services, particularly racial disproportionality in child welfare, working with faith communities, building sustainable programs in and with communities, demystifying research and data, addressing foster and adoptive parent recruitment and retention challenges, and building evidence in practice.  Her awards include the CWLA’s Champion for Children Award for her work in rural child welfare.

William (Bill) F. Benson

President, International Association for Indigenous Aging and Principal, Health Benefits ABC's
Marriottsville, MD

Bill Benson is Managing Principal in Health Benefits ABCs, offering aging and public health policy, educational and strategic planning consulting services.  Benson has held senior leadership positions in the U.S. Congress and at the U.S. Administration on Aging. He spent 10 years with the California Department of Aging including as California’s State Long-Term Care Ombudsman. For the past 13 years he has been a consultant to CDC’s Healthy Aging Program. Other clients include the National Adult Protective Services Association, the U.S. ACL-funded National Resource Centers for the Senior Health Insurance and Assistance Program (SHIP) and the Senior Medicare Patrol Program, Michigan and Mississippi Public Health Institutes, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and many others. Since 2000 Benson has hosted First Person, a series of conversations with Holocaust survivors before live audiences at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Benson is also President of the International Association for Indigenous Aging, which focuses primarily on policies to improve the lives of American Indian and Alaska Native elders. He also serves on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations including the American Society on Aging, National Center for Creative Aging, and the Center for Global Aging at The Catholic University of America.

Tyrone (Ty) F. Borders, Ph.D, M.S., M.A.,

University of Kentucky
College of Public Health's Department of Health Services Management
Lexington, KY

Tyrone Borders earned doctoral and master's degrees in health administration, as well as a master's degree in epidemiology from the University of Iowa, and a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Kansas.  His research focuses on the conduct and analysis of population-based studies to identify subgroups of persons at risk for poor health and problems obtaining health services, with an emphasis on rural populations. His research has been funded by AHRQ, RWJF, NIAAA, and NIDA and has culminated in numerous peer-reviewed articles. 

Borders serves as editor of The Journal of Rural Health, the world’s foremost academic publication devoted to rural health research. In 2007, he was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Epidemiology.

Kathleen Dalton, Ph.D.

Retired, Department of Health Policy and Administration, School of
Public Health
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC

Dr. Dalton’s experience in health care finance spans roles not only as researcher but also as manager, consultant and hospital trustee. Following a 20-year career in health care finance she earned her doctorate in health policy from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina. After completing a CMS-funded dissertation on payments to teaching hospitals under the Medicare prospective payment system, she remained at the University for five years as a research faculty member, where she was a frequent investigator with their program on rural health policy and also conducted multiple studies under contract to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. After joining RTI in 2005 she continued to focus on Medicare payment policy and the effects of reimbursement incentives on care delivery.

Carolyn Emanuel-McClain, MPH

CEO, Rural Health Services, Inc.
Santee, SC

Carolyn Emanuel-McClain graduated UNC-School of Public Health (Chapel Hill, NC) with a Masters in Public Health (Administration) in 1979. She was employed by Pembroke Medical Services, a free standing NHSC site) immediately upon completing graduate school (1979) until 1981. In 1981 she founded the Lumbee Medical Center in Pembroke and was responsible for obtaining the first PHS Section 330 funding for a health center in Robeson County, NC. In 1985 Lumbee Medical Center formed a consortium with other health care facilities in the county and the name became Robeson Health Care Corporation with the principal office located in Pembroke, NC.  In 1986 Emanuel-McClain became the Executive Director of Family Health Centers, Inc. in Orangeburg, SC where she remained for the next 15 years and was responsible for the health center being the first CHC to become JCAHCO accredited in SC.  From June 2001 until August 2009 she worked as an independent consultant with numerous health centers in SC and the southeast. She also worked as a consultant with the SC Primary Health Care Association and for Management Solutions Group, Inc. Effective August 14, 2009, Carolyn Emanuel-McClain became the Interim Chief Executive Officer for Rural Health Services, Inc., d/b/a/ Margaret J. Weston Community Health Centers in Clearwater, SC and was named the CEO in April of 2010. Mrs. Emanuel-McClain has served as a past Chair of the National Association of Community Health Centers and as President of the SC Primary Health Care Association.

Kelley Evans

Chief Executive Officer,
Beartooth Billings Clinic,
Red Lodge, MT

Ms. Evans responsibilities include the overall administrative management and operation of the Beartooth Billings Clinic.. Beartooth Billings Clinic is a private not for profit 501(c) 3 located in Red Lodge, Montana. Beartooth Billings Clinic is an integrated provider based clinic with a ten bed Critical Access Hospital.  The facility was replaced in 2010, upgrading an original Hill Burton era facility to a state of the art organization. As with many rural organizations, Beartooth Billings Clinic encompasses the services of Home Health, Hospice, Rehabilitation (OT, ST, PT), Public Health, Endoscopy, Skilled Swing Bed, Same Day Care, Children’s Center, and specialty visiting clinics such as orthopedics, general surgery, cardiology, urology,
gastroenterology, and dermatology.

Barbara Fabre

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.

Constance (Connie) E. Greer

St. Paul, MN

Constance has been employed by the State of Minnesota from 1980-2014 in the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) in state Departments in which OEO was located. (Minnesota Department of Human Services, St. Paul). From 1991-2014, she served as the Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity. Duties included leadership, management, policy development, and supervision of state and federal anti-poverty programs. This included Community Action, Homeless Shelters (HUD), Food Banks and Food Shelves, The Emergency Assistance Food Program (TEFAP) (USDA), SNAP Outreach and SNAP-Ed. She was also responsible for legislative and budget activity, planning and policy analysis and evaluation. From 1980 to 1991, she held positions in the Office of Economic Opportunity including administration, monitoring, training and technical assistance for Head Start, Head Start/Child Care Collaboration, Energy Assistance, Weatherization, Food Shelves, Homeless Programs, Lead Abatement, and Community Action Agencies. From 1973-1980, she was employed by the Bi-County Community Action Agency, Bemidji Minnesota, in positions including Head Start Director and Director of Personnel and Operations. She supervised and managed the delivery of agency programs including Energy Assistance, Weatherization, and Senior Citizen Services. Managed and supervised a staff of sixty persons. Constance has a BA in Social Work from the University of Minnesota.

Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., F.A.P.A.

Executive Director
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, The University of Texas
Austin, TX

Dr. Martinez is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., and a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties.  A native Texan and licensed psychiatrist, Dr. Martinez is the fifth executive director and the first Hispanic to lead the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health since its creation in 1940. The foundation’s grants and programs support mental health services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas. As chief executive officer, he oversees the vision, mission, goals, strategic planning and day-to-day operations of the foundation. The Hogg Foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Martinez holds an appointment of Associate Vice-President within the division.  He is also a clinical professor with an appointment in the university’s School of
Social Work; and holds an adjunct professor appointment at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. His academic interests include minority health, health disparities, and workforce issues.

Carolyn Montoya, Ph.D, CPNP

Associate Professor,
College of Nursing, University of New Mexico,
Albuquerque, NM

Carolyn Montoya is currently the coordinator of the Family and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Concentrations at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. Ms. Montoya received her bachelor’s degree from the College of Nursing at UNM and her master’s degree in nursing from Yale University. She maintains national certification through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.  As a National Health Service Corp scholar, she completed two years as a pediatric nurse practitioner in Brownsville, Texas before returning to her native New Mexico. In addition to her academic duties, Ms. Montoya has maintained a continuous clinical practice at Pediatric Health Services in Albuquerque. She has been active with the New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council for several years, serving two terms as president of the Council. Ms. Montoya was elected as a state affiliate representative for the American College of Nurse Practitioners in the spring of 1997 and was later elected as president for the 2001-2002 year. In 2001, Ms. Montoya was selected as a fellow for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Primary Care Policy Fellowship. She was also president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners for the 2007-2008 year.

Maria S. Poepsel, CRNA, APRN, Ph.D.

Columbia, MO

Maria “Sallie” Poepsel has a broad-based experience in healthcare for approximately 41 years encompassing clinical, education, research, leadership and administrative practices.  Within the last 21 years she has been providing anesthesia services in level I trauma, ambulatory surgery center, office-based and rural hospital settings.  She has focused her practice in rural critical access hospitals since 2000, and has been a tireless advocate for her profession and more importantly, for access to healthcare services in rural and medically underserved areas.  She has served in many committees both nationally and at the state level, including the state’s DHSS task force for hospital licensure and regulations to review and revise the rules and regulations and make these consistent with the federal CMS regulations.  She has participated as a volunteer anesthesia provider overseas through the Medical Missions Foundation Inc. based in Kansas City, MO, to provide much needed surgical and anesthesia services in third world countries.  She is a consummate professional and has been a lifelong learner, completing her PhD in Public Policy and Administration specializing in Healthcare Services.  

Chester A. Robinson, D.P.A.

Associate Professor
Jackson State University
Jackson, MS

Chester Robinson is currently a full-time Associate Professor at Jackson State University. He previously taught at Tennessee State University for 5 years and has had fourteen years experience as an adjunct professor at five universities. He has taught courses for graduate and under graduate students in the following subject areas: Public Administration, Public Policy, Program Implementation, Social Science Research Methods, Public
Health, and Organizational Behavior. His prior work experience was as a senior program manager, with fifteen years of experience effectively
managing Federal health care and social insurance programs. This career provided him with broad experience in legislative development, policy
formulation, program implementation and evaluation techniques.  For four years, he was responsible for the management of the Medicare health care
provider education and professional affairs program

Mary K. Rolf, MBA, MHA

President/Chief Executive Officer, Home Care of Central New York, Inc.

Kate Rolf is a senior healthcare executive with over 20 years of leadership experience, which is complemented by her master’s in business administration, certification as a Home Care Executive, fellowship from the American College of Healthcare Executives, and licensure as a New York State Nursing Home Administrator.  She is President and Chief Executive Officer at Home Care of Central New York, Inc. (dba VNA Homecare), an eight company long term/community-based home care network with over 500 employees that includes Visiting Nurse Association of Central New York, CCH Home Care & Palliative Services, Home Aides of Central New York, Independent Health Care Services, the Eldercare Social Day Program, two charitable organizations, the VNA Foundation of Central New York and Eldercare Foundation as well as VNA Homecare Options, a managed long term care (MLTC) plan that operates in 48 counties throughout New York State.  Strengths include strategic planning, financial management, streamlining operations and customer service.  Ms. Rolf currently serves on Board of Directors for Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA), LeadingAge New York where she is also their Home and Community Based Service Cabinet Chair, the Long Term Care Executive Council and Selective Services.  She has received countless honors and awards, most recently the Home Care Association of New York State’s 2015 Advocacy Award and the Excellence in Health Care Award for Innovations in Health Care.

John J. Sheehan, CPA, MBA

Retired Partner
Chesterfield, MO

John Sheehan joined BKD in 1977 upon graduation from the University of Missouri—St. Louis. He retired from BKD on June 1, 2012.  BKD is a
national CPA and advisory firm with its largest industry concentration in services to health care providers. The BKD National Health Care Group works with thousands of providers nationwide, including hospitals and health systems, long-term care and skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, rural health clinics and physician groups and other health care organizations. These providers depend on BKD’s health care professionals for assurance services, tax advice, financial and strategic planning, financing assistance, reimbursement services and compliance assistance. He was a member of the BKD National Health Care Group and specialized in serving BKD’s hospital clients.  He began his career providing both audit and consulting services, eventually focusing exclusively on consulting services. His experience, which spans more than 34 years, includes Medicare, Medicaid and operations consulting. He prepared and reviewed cost reports, Medicare exception requests and appeals, financial feasibility studies and operations studies. He also provided litigation support and managed many varied financial services for health care industry clients.

Mary T. Sheridan, RN, MBA

Bureau Chief, Bureau of Rural Health & Primary Care, Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare
Meridian, ID

Mary Sheridan, RN, MBA, is the Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Rural Health & Primary Care, Division of Public Health, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, since 2003.  She has many years of clinical nursing experience and provides leadership for federal and state programs designed to improve healthcare access in rural and underserved communities.  Mary actively leads a number of rural initiatives in Idaho’s Statewide Healthcare Innovation Plan, a healthcare transformation effort.

Benjamin (Ben) H. Taylor, PA, Ph.D.

Martinez, GA

Ben Taylor is a graduate of the Army’s Physician Associate Program through the University of Oklahoma. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Virginia State University, a Master's degree in Emergency Medicine from the University of Nebraska and a Doctorate in Health Sciences from Walden University.  He lectures in multiple medical venues and currently practices in multiple clinics in South Carolina and Georgia.  He continues to be active in PA advocacy.

Donald K. Warne, MD, MPH

Associate Professor and Director
Master of Public Health Program
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND

Dr. Donald Warne comes from a long line of traditional Lakota healers. Dr. Warne holds an MD from Stanford University and a Master of Public
Health from Harvard University. He is also a Diplomate of both the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Medical
Acupuncture. Since 1998, Dr. Warne has worked as a family physician in the American Indian community. As a Staff Clinician with the National
Institutes of Health in Phoenix from 2000 to 2003, he conducted diabetes research and developed diabetes education and prevention programs for
Native American tribes. Dr. Warne is currently the Director of the Master of Public Health Program at North Dakota State University, and serves as the Senior Policy Advisor to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board.

Peggy Broussard Wheeler, M.P.H.

Vice President
Rural Health & Governance, California Hospital Association
Sacramento, CA

Ms. Wheeler currently serves as Vice President of the Rural Healthcare Center (RHC) at the California Hospital Association. RHC represents small and rural hospitals and other members of the sponsoring organizations who provide service to rural populations in the State of California. Ms. Wheeler is responsible for developing, and executing public policies, legislation and regulations on behalf of rural hospitals at the state and national levels. Previously Ms. Wheeler served as the Health Policy Analyst for the California Legislative Rural Caucus. In this capacity, she staffed the 45 legislative member Rural Caucus by conducting research and providing analyses of relevant issues that affect individuals, families, and communities in rural California.