Heidi Anderson, MBA BSN RN, Chief Executive Officer at Forks Community Hospital. Ms. Anderson comes with 32 years’ experience in healthcare. She has held the CEO position at Forks Community Hospital since May 2020. Prior to becoming CEO Ms. Anderson worked for the Hospital district as the CNO as well as a staff nurse in the ER, Acute Care and Surgery. Ms. Anderson has an AAS degree in Nursing from Peninsula College, a BS in nursing from Washington State Intercollegiate College for Nursing, and an MBA from The College of St. Scholastica.
Holly Andrilla, MS, is a Principal Research Scientist in the University of Washington Department of Family Medicine in Seattle, Washington. She is Deputy Director of the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, and the UW Project Director of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) Technical Assistance Evaluation. She is also an expert on the workforce trained to provide medication treatment for opioid use disorder and is currently leading studies looking at rural-urban differences in access to this treatment and behavioral health care for young people.
Christa Arguinchona is the Manager for the Special Pathogens Program at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital. Her responsibilities include developing and maintaining a care team for the Special Pathogens Unit and developing policies, protocols, and educational and training plans. Christa manages the Special Pathogens Program that facilitates readiness throughout HHS Region 10 for emerging special pathogens. Christa collaborates with community, regional and national partners on all aspects of what it means to be a Regional Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Center. Christa has her Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Nursing and is certified in Critical Care. She has over 30 years of critical care experience in the neurological/trauma ICU at PSHMC&CH.
Maria Beermann-Foat, Ph.D., NRP, has over 25 years of prehospital emergency care experience in privately-owned, hospital-based and county government-based emergency services. Dr. Beermann-Foat currently serves as the EMS Training Coordinator for the Eugene Springfield Fire Department in Oregon. Dr. Beermann-Foat retired from Johnson County (Kansas) MED-ACT- Emergency Medical Services in December 2021, where she last served as a Battalion Chief of Operations. Since first joining MED-ACT in 1999 as a paramedic, she moved up the ranks in the roles of community education officer/PIO, captain/field training officer, battalion chief of training, and division chief of quality management. She also held a position on the Diversity and Equity Committee for Johnson County Government.
Dr. Beermann-Foat holds a Ph.D. in Organization Management from Capella University and a Master of Business Administration from MidAmerica Nazarene University. She obtained a City and County Management Graduate Certificate from the University of Kansas in 2020. She holds a six-sigma green belt certification through Johnson County Community College. She is a member of various professional and trade associations, including the International City and County Management Association (ICMA), the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), the National EMS Management Association (NEMSMA), the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE), the National Emergency Medical Services Quality Association (NEMSQA), and the American Society for Quality (ASQ) Kansas City Section.
Dr. Naomi M. Bender, Quechua, is the Director of Native American Health Science Programs and the new Center for Native American Health at Washington State University’s Spokane Health Science campus. As the Administrator of these programs, Dr. Bender manages the oversight, strategic development, implementation, and response to Native American pathway programs to help expand the health care workforce in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health sciences. She also develops and implements policy, culturally based curriculum, workshops, community initiatives, research, scholarly projects, and has an expansive track record in building partnerships to meet the systemic need of healthcare workforce expansion and response in Indian Country. Dr. Bender, and WSU NAHS, recently opened the Center for Native American Health (CNAH). The CNAH provides three areas of focus and opportunity, within a student support and success center, a tribal community health initiative and collaborative space, and the nation's first Indigenous developed and instructed clinical simulation education center in any health science higher education setting. The cohort she leads to develop this space, are made up of almost 20 Native American and Indigenous western and traditionally trained healers. Together, they aim to dismantle the historically racist and biased treatment of Native peoples in health care settings by helping educate and inform current and future healthcare workforce how to better provide culturally centered care. In addition, she has led the nation's first interprofessional Indigenous Healing Perspectives Certificate, to launch fall of 2022, and has done so with other tribal leaders and community stakeholders every step of the way. Dr. Bender hopes to help providers and health care workers change the landscape of health outcomes for tribal communities and indigenous patients, while counterbalancing Western medicine and creating and maintaining a climate of cultural humility and safety.
Dr. Bennett is Professor of Family & Preventive Medicine, in the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, in Columbia, SC. He serves as the Director of the Research Center for Transforming Health, and Director of the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare. He also serves on the National Rural Health Association’s Board of Trustees, and as President Elect (2024).
His work focuses upon care delivery for vulnerable and underserved populations, such as rural residents, and those with chronic diseases, and how national, state, or local policies and legislation affect these populations. He has also worked extensively with community organizations, rural health networks, healthcare systems, and state agencies to create, facilitate, and evaluate the impact of innovative care delivery programs.
Heidi Berthoud is an experienced leader who began her public health and social service career at a large non-profit county hospital supporting training teams in the nursing education department. She received her master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington and concurrently completed a Global Health master’s certificate.
Heidi has more than 20 years of knowledge and experience in health care research, evaluation, public health initiatives, qualitative data collection and analysis, and patient advocacy. Her experience includes working with government, academia, and non-profit organizations and she has been invited to work with Indigenous communities developing and delivering surveys and evaluations.
She is the founder and principal consultant at Heidi Berthoud Consulting, LLC where she works with Public Health departments and health and social service nonprofit organizations conducting community health needs assessments, program evaluations, and helping teams collect data they can use to improve their communities. She is passionate about reproductive health, reproductive justice, and making public health data accessible to everyone.
Anessa has a Master’s in Public Administration and have been working with the aging and disabled population for the last 3 years. Her current role as the Planning Coordinator at Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington, where she is involved in dementia education and community work, falls prevention, and area planning. When she is not working, she is spending time with her husband, 1 year old son, and their pets.
Tammy Cassezza is a native of Deer Park, Washington, and continues to live and raise her family in this small, rural community. Tammy earned her bachelor’s degree in organizational management, with an emphasis on human resource development at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. She accepted a position at NEW Health as the Workforce Development Director after many years of working in the HR field for larger corporations. Tammy was interested in giving back to the rural communities that she grew up in and around and was excited for the opportunity to engage with others via NEW Health University, forging career paths and setting career goals. In addition to working with NEW Health University, Tammy oversees NEW Health’s HR Department.
Rana Clarke has been a Registered Nurse for over 30 years specializing in critical care, trauma and cardiovascular surgery. Through the intensity and complexity of critical care nursing she has found a new focus and passion for end-of-life care. Rana has worked with pioneers in the field, the founder of No One Dies Alone (NODA) and The Sacred Dying Foundation. Rana collaborated with Sacred Dying developing an innovative web-based educational tool for the training of health care providers to care for patients as they go through the natural dying process. Rana traveled to Kenya in 2013 and fell in love with the natural beauty, traditional cultures and the Maasai people. Rana worked with the local villages for 6 years to develop a women’s health initiative to put an end to female genital mutilation. Rana is currently the Executive Director of Jamie’s Place, an Adult Family Home in Winthrop, Wa. where she is working with local agencies to improve access to resources and barriers to care.
Allison Cole, MD, is Associate Professor in Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and co-Director of the Institute of Translational Health Science’s Rural Health Initiative. Dr. Cole is a family physician and earned her M.D. from the University of Iowa School of Medicine in 2002, completed a family medicine residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in 2005. Dr. Cole practices family medicine at the Harborview Family Medicine Clinic in Seattle, WA. Her research program focuses on bidirectional partnerships with primary care practices to improve health outcomes in rural communities.
Jerry Crowshoe is an enrolled member of the Piikani Nation (Blackfoot Confederacy) from Brocket, Alberta, Canada. Mr. Crowshoe grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, and graduated from Mary Walker High School in Springdale, WA.
Mr. Crowshoe graduated from Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Developmental Psychology, and then from Gonzaga University with a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling. Mr. Crowshoe worked as a Mental Health Counselor with the Kalispel Tribe’s Behavioral Health Program (Camas Path) for many years providing one-on-one counseling services to youth and adults. Mr. Crowshoe also conducted family and group counseling sessions and coordinated the Tree of Healing Conference during his tenure with Camas Path. Mr. Crowshoe worked on a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) contract as a Community Coordinator with Kauffman and Associates, Inc., and provided training and technical assistance for tribal communities to address substance use and suicide. Mr. Crowshoe traveled throughout Indian country providing training and technical assistance (TTA) on a variety of topics such as the Gathering of Native Americans curriculum (both training and facilitating), positive youth development, suicide prevention and postvention, trauma and trauma informed care, cultural considerations in Gatekeeper training, digital storytelling, healthy relationships, effective outreach and engagement strategies, community action plans, and the Community Readiness Assessment (to name a few). He utilizes various facilitation and therapeutic methods to help engage individuals and communities he serves. Mr. Crowshoe also served as Mental Health Professional and the Program Support Services Director for the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations (an adolescent treatment center). Mr. Crowshoe utilized various therapeutic techniques to help residents with their personal growth. Mr. Crowshoe also developed and facilitated to group curriculums (Healthy Relationships and Emotional Regulation) at the Healing Lodge. Mr. Crowshoe also served as the Intensive TTA Director with Kauffman and Associates, Inc., with SAMHSA for the Tribal TTA Center. Mr. Crowshoe currently serves as the Prevention Program Manager for the Spokane Tribe of Indians and coordinates various prevention events and activities to address substance use, opioid use, bullying, and smoking and vaping use.
Jac Davies is Committee Liaison for the Rural Collaborative (TRC), a statewide consortium of 24 rural health systems focused on shared services and collective action to strengthen rural health systems and improve the quality of rural health care. She also serves as Director of the Northwest Rural Health Network (NWRHN), a consortium of seven rural health systems working together to improve the health of rural populations in eastern Washington. Before joining these organizations, Ms. Davies worked at Inland Northwest Health Services where she managed multiple programs including telehealth and workplace wellness. Earlier she served as the Assistant Secretary for the Division of Epidemiology, Health Statistics and Public Health Laboratories at the Washington State Department of Health. Ms. Davies has an MS and an MPH from the University of Washington, and a BS from the Mississippi University for Women.
Eryka Delgado-Hernandez is a 2022 graduate from Shelton High School.
While attending high school, she was also enrolled in running start at South Puget Sound Community College. Becoming a nurse means a lot to her because she can help others in the same manner that all the nurses helped her during my numerous hospitalizations and
made a difference in her life.
As a first-generation college student, she initially found it frightening and stressful because she had no idea what to anticipate or how to start. But her thrilled to say that Mason General was able to support and guide her on my journey, and she beyond grateful for that. Her senior year, in May 2022, she was awarded a full ride scholarship from the Mason Health
Science Academy, which has significantly helped me in every way. She no longer felt lost and alone, which strengthened her hopes and dreams of becoming a nurse.
She will be applying for the nursing program in the spring of 2024. Along with that, she will be enrolling in a CNA course at Olympic College this spring to obtain her certification as a nursing assistant and, potentially, be able to start working as a CNA at Mason General by the summer.
In addition to showing people compassion and affection, she also enjoy baking, cooking, and everything related to the outdoors. She not only speaks one language, but two. In high school, she
earned her Seal of Bilingualism, certifying her proficiency in both languages. Her primary language is Spanish, and her second language is English.
She very eager for what is to come and can't wait to change the lives of many others.
Ray Eickmeyer is the EMS Director at Lake Chelan Health. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Paramedicine from Central Washington University and has 30 years’ of healthcare experience in urban and rural settings throughout Washington state. Ray has been recognized for leadership in both regional and state settings. In 2018 he was named Administrator of the Year for Chelan/Douglas County, and in 2010 he received the Washington State Emergency Cardiac and Stroke TAC-Award. He is a current board member for North Central Accountable Communities of Health. Ray co-authored the Department of Health’s EMS All Hazards Protocol for EMS providers in Washington state in 2003. He also helped plan and develop the nation’s first comprehensive statewide cardiac and stroke system for Washington state, which led to the passage of the state law authorizing the Emergency Cardiac and Stroke System. Combining his experience in public health, hospital care, specialty clinic care, rural health clinic care, and prehospital medicine, Ray has developed one of the most comprehensive Community Paramedicine Programs in the state of Washington. Most recently, Ray has been in charge of the logistics and delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations in Chelan / Douglas County.
Pat Ellis started his career as a public safety chaplain in 2000 with the Kent Police Department, Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority, Valley 911 Communications Center. He holds multiple certifications in critical incident stress management, traumatic stress, traumatic grief, and line of duty death of an emergency responder. Pat teaches Critical Incident Stress Management, Compassion Fatigue and Emotional Survival in Emergency Services for various public safety agencies and academies throughout Washington. He also trains and coordinates peer support teams for multiple fire and police departments. Pat serves as President of the Board for the Washington State Fallen Firefighters Foundation and is the co-author of the Washington State Fire Service Line of Duty Death Policy and Procedures. He is the Washington State Coordinator for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Local Assistant State Team. Pat is married and has three children and 4 grandchildren.
Director of Clinic Services for Columbia County Health System. She has been in health care for 45 years, longer if you count being a “candy striper”. She started her career as a Medical Technologist at a hospital lab blood bank in Memphis, TN. Then, she moved to Bremerton, WA and continued in the lab as a generalist until 1996 when her love of taking care of patients lead her to MEDEX Northwest , University of Washington. She practiced as a Family Practice Physician Assistant in the Seattle area for many years before moving to Dayton mid-2012. She wishes she could adequately express her love of working in a rural community and taking care of patients in her community. In those days we saw our clinic patients, took care of nursing home residents and all took our “turn” at covering the Emergency Department. Life and medicine have certainly changed over the years, resulting in strategic planning, growing our system, finding those niches to keep evolving and always always caring for our community. She stopped being a PCP in 2021 and became the Director of Clinic Services. She feels that continuing to serve her community by developing our wonderful health system, growing our services and looking to the complicated future of health care. This is put wonderfully in our vision to be the leader of holistic, high quality and patient centered care without boundaries or limits. We are guided by our mission to enable optimal health through service excellence, timely solutions and devotion to our region. service organizations.
Dawn Felt is a subject matter expert for EMS who oversees and provides guidance related to EMS provider certification, education, and training for Washington. She leads the State EMS Education and Certification workgroup and EMS Protocol Workgroup. She engaged nationally though workgroups with the National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) and the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT). Dawn started her EMS career in the early 90’ with as a volunteer FF/EMT for a rural department in Eastern Washington. She continues to maintain state and national Paramedic certifications for more than 24 years, and volunteers with a local rural fire department. Dawn holds an MPA from the University of Washington and a BS in Paramedicine from Central Washington University.
Jakob has worked for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians for 15 years. He has been with the Tribal fire dept for the past 7 years and is currently serving as the assistant fire chief and emergency manager for the reservation. Jakob is also involved in the Kalispel Tribe’s wildland fire program, which mobilizes throughout Washington and Oregon every summer. Along with responding to all emergency calls, Jakob is also a rescue diver/swimmer for the tribe. Mr. Fox takes the lead in offering first aid and CPR instruction to all tribal members and staff on the reservation. Jakob has built strong relationships within the tribal community and is grateful for the opportunity to serve others. Jakob got into the fire service directly out of high school and has been involved with public safety for 16 years.
Dr. Janessa Graves is a health services researcher in the College of Nursing at Washington State University. Dr. Graves’ primary research focuses on inequities in access to healthcare services across geography and among historically underrepresented populations. Her research has informed state and federal health policies to improve access to and quality of healthcare services for high-needs populations and will ultimately reduce health disparities for rural and underserved communities. Dr. Graves actively leads several externally funded research projects, has authored over 70 peer-reviewed publications in public health and health services research journals, and currently mentors graduate students in nursing, prevention science, and public health.
Sarah is the Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC). She works on both regulatory and legislative federal policy and provides direct technical assistance and education to RHCs on COVID-19 allocations and other programs. Sarah also advocates for reimbursement policies that incentivize and support rural primary care and other health services. Prior to joining NARHC, Sarah worked for the Pennsylvania State Office of Rural Health. She earned her BS in Health Policy and Administration from Penn State University and is currently pursuing her Master in Public Health from the Penn State College of Medicine. Sarah resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Laura became the SEIU 1199 NW Multi Employer & Education Fund’s (Training Fund) executive director in August of 2018. The Training Fund is the sponsor of the Health Care Apprentices Consortium (HCAC). Before coming to the Training Fund, she held the position of Vice President of Instruction at South Seattle College. She brought to the Training Fund with a wealth of experience, sound knowledge of the community college system, and expertise in apprenticeships with unions and management. Before transitioning to a career in education, she worked in aerospace mechanics and manufacturing. She founded and was the Executive Director of the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) for 5 years. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Science.
Laura is recognized for her visionary leadership and strategic business development. She is also a respected leader – Laura is known as a skillful change agent with a remarkable record of bringing groups of diverse peoples together to achieve meaningful goals.
Mohamed is a trained physician with many years of experiences in licensing reform and workforce development. in 2019; Governor Jay Inslee appointed him to serve on the State International Medical Graduate Workgroup. He successfully advocated for licensing reform every year since 2019 and helped pass multiple legislations around the country. The most recent legislation, HB1129, established the first license in the country specifically for international doctors. It was featured in several articles, including Federal Trade Commission Watch, Long Reads and Times Magazine. Dr. Khalif also speaks at educational seminars and webinars related to Brain Waste and Immigrant integration. His most recent presentations were at the Migration Policy Institute, World Education Services, and the Health Care Leadership Table.
Jessica started her career as a caregiver in 2004; she was working on her pre-requites for nursing. As life would have, a child was born, and those dreams had to go on the back burner. Jessica continued her path in the caregiving world for many years. She had the opportunity to continue to grow her skill sets and education; from 2004-2011, she worked in two hospitals and one long-term care home. During this time, she was at a loss for what was happening in the long-term care world. In 2011 she found herself able to work at one of the only Greenhouse homes in WA State! She instantly fell in LOVE with the model! This model is what is missing in our long-term care settings. The elders were able to guide and direct their care! Jessica continued to work as a caregiver for five years and then was allowed to advance her career through management.
Jessica went back to school for a couple of years when she was allowed to expand her skills and education even more and become the Administrator of Jamie’s Place! This was indeed an honor for her to run the home she dearly loved. Jessica has been in the administrative role now for three years! Jessica is now the Associate Director of Jamie's Place. She continues to grow in the position and expand her knowledge. Jessica has four children and currently living in Winthrop, WA. Jessica's faith is the head of all she does and continues to strengthen her daily!
Joel Loiacono is the Regional Director of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho for the Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. He also serves as one of the Alzheimer’s Association Pacific Northwest Region Research Champions. He has been with the Alzheimer’s Association for 25 years providing dementia care training and support services to families. Joel has a bachelor’s degree Political Science degree from Washington State University. He also a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Master’s Level Certificate in Health Care Administration from Eastern Washington University. Joel is a recognized regional speaker on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Gretchen Maliska, Director of Career Connected Learning for the Shelton School District, provides leadership and vision for career connected learning into all phases of 7th-12th grade instructional programming. Students leave the district as high school graduates with industry recognized credentials in vocational disciplines (such as Natural Resources, Health Sciences, Manufacturing, and Business & Marketing), experiences in the field, and opportunities for post-secondary education or direct to career success.
Supporting a graduation pathway for everyone in a K-12 system where students can discover passions and talents, they can later use in the workforce has been lifelong career for Gretchen. As a mother of five boys, with her last graduating high school this June, she has devoted herself to giving back to students as an active community volunteer and educational leader for more than 25 years. Gretchen believes in celebrating and honoring differences and addressing the individual needs of every child to help them achieve success. She is dedicated to the success of all students in our district and understands that partnerships with families, staff, and community are crucial in making this happen.
Richard Mandeville grew up in Montana. He attended college at Loyola University in New Orleans and later transferred to the University of Northern Colorado. His professional experience began at Western Montana College where he first learned about the field of student development. He earned his PhD at the University of Northern Colorado. After an appointment as the Dean of Students for Semester at Sea, he came to Whitworth University as Associate Dean of Students where he served for 25 years, retiring as the Vice President of Student Life. Following a brief pause, he came out of retirement to teach part-time in Gonzaga’s School of Leadership Studies and coordinate community education in Spokane for World Relief, a refugee resettlement organization. He and his dazzling wife, Judy, recently celebrated their 525th monthiversary. They have two children, two children-in-law, and three hilarious grandsons.
Mike is the Chief Nursing Officer for Ferry County Health, a Critical Assess Hospital in the frontier town of Republic. He grew up in Connecticut, and an opportunity to join his hometown's ambulance organization at the age of 14 sparked his passion for healthcare and community service. He served as an EMT starting at 16 years old, and later as an ambulance driver at 18 years old. He is a featured cast member in the documentary: High School 911. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Villanova University. Since graduation, he has worked a variety of nursing roles and on units ranging from critical care, cardiac, oncology/hospice, to school-based nursing. He worked as a travel nurse throughout the country for 4 years before arriving to the Ferry County community. He instantly recognized the ability to provide high quality and versatile care as a critical access hospital nurse, and Republic quickly became home. He then trained as a SANE and discovered a new passion for forensic nursing after identifying the need to bring back victim nursing services for his County. He values community engagement and the role that a rural nurse has to impact public health. Mike enjoys back country skiing locally during the winter and hiking during the summer with his fiancé and two dogs.
Kim volunteered and worked in development for local private schools and the Spokane Guild’s School for 8 years prior to completed her Master’s in education in 2010. Kim Taught for a few years then accepted a job working for a local refugee resettlement agency. Since 2010 she has worked to raise awareness and engage communities around refugee concerns, individuals recovering from serious health events, individuals experiencing difficulty navigating and accessing programs such as Medicare, and Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Kim currently works for the Washington state chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association as a Community Outreach Manager and is located in Spokane. She serves greater Spokane county as well as Stevens, Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Whitman counties. Her position gives her the opportunity to meet those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia where they are, bringing information and resources to them, easing their journey, even a little.
In Kim’s professional life she has been a presenter for a nationwide audience on Medicare topics, advocated to city leadership on behalf of refugees, and served on a number of committees focusing on making a positive impact.
On a more personal level, with her mother, she cared for her father who passed 5 years ago from Lewy Body Dementia. Kim has worked with aging individuals for many years and without hesitation all will say they want to age well. Kim believes that this is something all can strive for no matter their condition. We as a society are a big part of how that happens.
Corrin McMichael, MPH CPH is Deputy Director at Whitman County Public Health, where she leads a team who builds programs and partnerships in the community to increase access to resources that support physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Corrin leans on experience working at the intersection of education, public health, and communication.
Honoring seniors and supporting their decision to stay at home has always been a passion for Teresa Michielli, Care Services Director at Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington (ALTCEW). 24 years ago, Teresa began her work as a Case Manager in Mental Health and Medicaid services. Her passion grew as she began creating individualized care plans, linking necessary community resources with the client’s emergent needs and improving the client’s ability to stay at home with their friends and family. Most recently, she has been working to develop programs such as Care Transitions and Medication Management to continue the pursuit of building strong networks that support at-home living.
John Nokes is the Rural EMS Project Coordinator at the department. John works with rural EMS agencies to improve sustainability. This work is funded though the FLEX EMS supplemental grant. John has over 20 years of experience working with urban and rural EMS Systems starting in Stevens County in 1997. During his career as a paramedic, John was a Training Captain, in charge of all aspects of training from on-boarding to continuing education. John has spent many years in charge of QA/QI committee within his agency. In addition to working in EMS, John volunteers his time with the Stevens County Sheriff’s Dive Team, both as a member and as an instructor to keep members current on required education.
Bethany joined ALTCEW this year as part of the leadership team focusing on Planning and Development. Bethany is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest and is an honors graduate from the University of Oregon with a BA degree in Applied Cultural Anthropology with studies in social & health services and archeology. Bethany is also a student in the Gonzaga Leadership Studies Program for 2022. Bethany served as president of the Washington Rural Health Association for 4 years and was the recipient of the 2021 Rural Health Innovation Award for outstanding service in Rural EMS Health Initiatives. She has 20 years of experience working with rural and diverse communities for improving health care access, while advocating for better health outcomes through strategic partnerships throughout Washington State. She is an accomplished grant writer, public speaker, and advocate for rural EMS. Bethany was offered the state’s first managed care organization Tribal Liaison position while working at Amerigroup in 2017. She has served on multiple boards including working with the Children's Alliance Public Policy Council, SRHD Community Health Board, Spokane Action Neighborhood Program Planning Board, Washington Rural Health Association, WA State Governor’s Tribal Leadership Council, Accountable Communities of Health, and the EMS E. WA Trauma Council. Her passion is to serve her community as an advocate for the, underserved, rural, aging, and disabled populations. Bethany has a blended family with 4 beautiful daughters with three of them in the health care industry, and one big fluffy cat. Her and her husband live outside of Elk, WA and enjoy hiking, local hockey games and traveling. Bethany is a current Lieutenant Resource Officer / FF and NREMT with Pend Oreille County Fire District #2. She volunteers 2 weekends a month and assists with their grant work and community outreach.
Davis Patterson, PhD, is a sociologist and Research Associate Professor in the University of Washington (UW) Department of Family Medicine in Seattle, Washington. He is Director of the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center and Deputy Director, Health Equity, in the UW Center for Health Workforce Studies. His research seeks to inform policy to improve rural and under-resourced populations’ access to healthcare. His work focuses on the health workforce, examining educational pathways to prepare, recruit, and retain health care practitioners and innovative workforce models to achieve health equity.
Ken Peralta is the fire chief for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. Ken has 48 years in the fire service. Ken has experience in Structural firefighting, has been a Hazmat Technician and Incident Commander. In his wildland firefighting roles, he was in the US Forest service for 4 years serving on an engine for 2 years and as a Hotshot for 2 years, he is an Instructor, Engine Boss, Firing Boss, Line EMT and a Safety Officer on Incident Management Teams, he is also a founding member of the Kalispel Tribes Dive Rescue Team. Ken has been a member of a USAR Team, a Strike Team Leader and Station Captain in San Diego County where he started his career in 1975 as a volunteer.
Since graduating from Central Washington University with an accounting degree in 1983, Julie has worked in healthcare for almost forty years. Following a brief stint at Group Health in Seattle, Julie moved to the eastern side of the state where she has made her home and career first as Controller and Chief Finance Officer and then as Chief Executive Officer.
Julie is the past President of AWPHD, past Chair of WSHA, past Member of the AHA Task Force on Ensuring Healthcare for Vulnerable Communities, and has represented small and rural hospitals on the AHA Regional Policy Board for Region 9. In all of these roles, Julie has been an unapologetic advocate for rural communities and their right to access high-quality healthcare that supports the health and wellness of rural communities in rural communities.
Julie spent more than 15 years at Prosser and during that time she developed a true commitment to ensuring that rural and smaller communities did not get left behind as sweeping changes overwhelmed the healthcare industry. Even as the affordable care act expanded coverage in Washington hundreds of thousands of disproportionately rural residents, federal and state regulatory and payment policies focused on the large systems that served urban and suburban communities. Julie became an unapologetic champion for access to high-quality care for the 20% of Washingtonians who make their homes in rural communities.
Since 2016, Julie has served as the CEO of Kittitas County Public Hospital District No #1 and Superintendent of Kittitas County Public Hospital District #2. KVH, with its reputation for quality and excellence, sets the standard for access to high-quality care that rural communities should expect and defend.
Chuck (Charles) Pitcher has beautiful wife of 21 years, 3 glorious daughters and their spouses, and now 13 grandchildren who we are so very blessed with.
I have been working in the world of Human Resources now for the past 9+ years. I kind fell into the role while working in another capacity for a Behavioral Services Co. in Nampa, Idaho. That company grew from 125 employees to 275 employees in just 4 short years so it was all trial by fire with an extremely high learning curve. My B.A. in Business Management has helped some but great training in relationships by my parents has been my best asset in the HR role. After being laid off due to a company buyout, I landed in the thriving metropolis of Pomeroy, WA. A town which I had never even heard of.
I have now spent 5+ years at Garfield County Hospital and once again a high learning curve was needed having never worked in a hospital nor around their terminologies. But fortunately, there is very much a family work culture here and my relationship and communication skills have been allowed to thrive in this setting. A very transparent Administration and Board of Commissioners has helped in gaining community and staff trust. I believe this, along with our current Leadership Trainings is continuing to bring in and keep the best staff that Pomeroy has had in many years, and we hope to continue all that is making us successful.
Katie Jo Raebel has more than 20 years of experience in audit and accounting services, focused exclusively on healthcare industry clients. She specializes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement issues. Katie Jo is known nationwide for her knowledge of rural health clinic certification and reimbursement issues. In addition, she helps organizations determine the best certification options to experience the most beneficial gain from Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
Katie Jo is a regular speaker at industry events and conferences including the Rural Health Clinic Association of Washington, the Oregon Rural Health Conference and the National Association of Rural Health Clinics Conference. She also is a featured speaker at Wipfli’s annual cost report and reimbursement seminar.
Michelle Rathman founded Impact! Communications, Inc., in 1989. For over 30 years, Impact! has provided a broad range of strategic advisory, culture transformation, and communication services for several industries, with over twenty years focused on rural health.
Known and awarded for their strategy and creative works in stakeholder engagement through facilitated live events, large-scale art and team building projects, social media, and community influence building, Impact! brings experience and expertise that has helped several rural hospitals gain public support to invest millions into much-needed facility improvements while designing and implementing programs for patient and staff recruitment and retention. Beyond bricks and mortar, Impact! is focused on helping to reverse outmigration, increase utilization of local care, and position rural hospitals to thrive in the future.
Understanding that today’s rural health landscape could not escape what began in 2020, the year of brace-for change, Impact! began collaborating with the authors and creators of “100% Community: Ensuring 10 Vital Services for Surviving and Thriving” and “Anna, Age Eight.” Their successful, data-driven, county-wide action team framework builds a foundation to close access gaps to food, housing, medical/dental care, behavioral health, transportation, and action teams focused on essential parent and child support services. The 100% Community Impact! Project, and Michelle’s new podcast, The Rural Impact!, will launch in 2023.
Michelle is a speaker, podcaster, passionate home cook, grandmother (Mimi as she prefers), cancer survivor, and not shy about talking about the elephants when they’re in the room.
Lindsay Roberts is a Medical Laboratory Scientist and the Manager of Laboratory Services at Mason Health. She knew she wanted to be a scientist when she was just five years old!
In 2020, she decided to leave California state and come to Northwest Washington while completing her bachelor’s degree.
In December of 2020, Lindsay completed her bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) and became a nationally licensed MLS, then working as a microbiologist and blood bank lead at a small hospital on the WA coast.
In August of 2022, she was offered and accepted the Laboratory Manager position. She continues to work on her master’s degree while now managing a busy critical access hospital laboratory, and she loves every minute of it.
When she is not at her desk, Lindsay is also heavily involved in sharing knowledge to the younger population on laboratory science and the critical nature of the professional need within the field. She shares her passion with high school classes, advisory boards, committees, and anyone else that will listen, as she believes that the medical field would not be what it is today without laboratory medicine.
Darrell Ruby is the Regional Coordinator for the HHS Region 10 Emerging Special Pathogen Treatment Center (RESPTC), 1 of 13 in the Nation at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital. Darrell has worked as an Emergency Manager for nearly 20 years at the local, regional, and state level when he was with Spokane Emergency Management and for the last 8 years at Providence.
Mellisa Russell grew up in Chewelah, Washington and knew she wanted to give back to her community after returning from college. Mellisa began her NEW Health career first as a supplemental employee and next as a Medical Assistant. Over a twenty-year period she continued to grow her career within NEW Health, transitioning from clinical to EHR and IT positions. Mellisa currently serves as the organization’s NEW Health University Manager. In this role she leads the organization’s education programs and training team. Mellisa is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management. Mellisa’s advancement within NEW Health over a span of 23-years is a prime example of NEW Health’s “grow our own” strategy.
Mat has been with Garfield County Hospital District since 2017. He started as a staff physical therapist but was soon moved into the role of Rehab Manager due to staff turnover. Mat along with his counter part Jayd Keener were appointed as Co-CEOs in spring of 2019 at the recommendation of the exiting CEO. After a 6 month trial run, they were appointed to the position permanently. Jayd and Mat have worked tirelessly with their team to advance their organization and healthcare in their community. Mat has a bachelor of science degree in biology and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree.
Bob taught and practiced landscape architecture in Canada and the United States. An associate
professor at WSU Spokane’s Interdisciplinary Design Institute for 19 years, he is a registered landscape
architect in Washington and Massachusetts. His Bachelor and Masters Landscape Architecture degrees
were earned at UMass, Amherst. His Masters and PhD degrees in Social Geography were earned at Clark
University in Worcester, MA. He consults under Land and Life®LLC in Spokane, Washington and is
currently on the Governor’s Committee on Aging, the Aging and Long-term Care of Eastern Washington
Program Committee, and Spokane’s Design Review Board. He edited Recreating Neighborhoods for
Successful Aging (2009) and recently published Landscape Architecture as Storytelling.
For almost 50 years Bob has worked to understand how the built environment – interiors, architecture,
and landscape architecture – can positively influence the quality of life for those living with physical and
cognitive disabilities and their care partners.
Ms. Jenny Shin is a Program Project Manager for King County Public Health’s Emergency Medical Services in Seattle, Washington. She has a background in Public Health, double majoring in Population Health & Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Case Western Reserve University. Throughout her career she has contributed to research, presentations, and publications on Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest and Resuscitation. She serves as a faculty member of the Resuscitation Academy. In her current position, she conducts grant funded research and is the Pacific Northwest CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) and US HeartRescue coordinator. She serves as the Equity and Social Justice representative working as a liaison between the EMS division, the King County Fire Chiefs Association, and the Department of Public Health. She has created two programs committed to creating an EMS workforce that represents the community that it serves.
Kim Smith is an Emergency Medical Technician-IV Technician an
Northern Quest Resort & Casino in Airway Heights Washington.
Kim has been in the Fire/EMS service for 35 plus years.
Kim works for the Kalispel Tribal EMS as the Supervisor of the department.
Kim has worked for the Kalispel Tribe and Northern Quest Resort & Casino
For 22 years. Kim started his career with the Kalispel Tribe and Northern Quest
Resort & Casino as a Security EMT officer. Kim started up the EMS department
Just after Northern Quest Resort & Casino just after they opened in December of 2000.
Kim then took the position of being the Risk Manager for the Kalispel Tribe and Northern Quest
Resort & Casino and still over seen the EMS Department. 3 years after that Kim and the EMS
Department were moved into their own department at the casino.
Ashley Steinbruecker has worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years, gaining experience in medical records, fundraising, community relations, public relations and marketing. As the Director of Marketing & Communications/Foundation at Clearwater Valley Health in Orofino, ID she is passionate about improving the health and wellness of people in rural communities, especially that of Orofino, ID, and its surrounding areas. In addition to her work for Clearwater Valley Health, she is also heavily involved in community events as the past former President and current Board Member of the Clearwater County Chamber of Commerce. Outside of the office, Ashley enjoys traveling, camping, gardening and hanging out with her husband and five year old daughter, Addison.
As a 25-year resident of Spokane, I have worked within the community to effect change for our marginalized and vulnerable populations. Starting with Youth Outreach, I eventually moved into homeless services with Catholic Charities, where I managed several programs. Then I was the state lead Community Health Worker for United Health. This ignited my passion to help our aging and disabled populations. Now, I am the Community Living Connections Director for Aging and Long Term Care of EA WA, the first avenue for people needing services to remain independent and safely home for as long as possible. In addition, I am also a part of the Homeless Coalition, the CHW state and local coalitions, Co-Chair for Smile Spokane and Chair for the annual Spokane Homeless Connect.
Melissa Strong, RN, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer Mason Health. Strong has been with the District for 21 years. She began her career as a nurse on the Medical-Surgical Floor and then transferred into Intensive Care Nursing where she worked for several years before entering into nursing leadership. She has held many manager/director level positions within the District. Strong received her Masters in the Science of Nursing with an emphasis on health care systems in 2012 from Grand Canyon University. She has been in her current position as the Chief Nursing Officer since January 2017. Strong is active in her community and volunteers for several community events throughout the year. Strong also volunteers her time with the Shelton School District, annual Shelton parades and various other volunteer opportunities. During her spare time, she loves to do arts and crafts with her three granddaughters, garden and travel with her husband.
Strong received the 2021 LifeNet Health Hospital Administration Award. The award celebrates their leadership in creating a supportive environment that promotes the culture of tissue donation throughout Mason General Hospital. She also received the 2022 Health Care Champion Innovation in Rural Medicine Award for her work on the Health Sciences Academy.
Dr. Raj Sundar is a family physician and community organizer who is currently working as a full-spectrum family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Washington. In addition to his clinical duties, Dr. Sundar serves as the Associate Medical Director of the Burien Medical Center, where he oversees the care of over 17,000 patients and is the leader of the Health Equity Action Team (HEAT), a group of over 500 members who are committed to promoting healthcare equity through forums and community organizing. In his spare time, Dr. Sundar hosts the Healthcare for Humans podcast.
A public health professional with over twenty-three years of experience in public health. Her interest has been to work in the low income and farm worker communities for the purpose of reducing environmental health disparities and improving health outcomes for our community in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. Her expertise is in implementing community-driven and community-engaged research and public health practice projects with aims to build a healthy thriving community. She is bicultural, bilingual, and a trusted public health messenger in her community, and has a proven record conducting community based participatory research projects ranging from topics of indoor air quality and pediatric asthma, occupational exposure and health (such as pesticide exposure, heat related illness) and COVID-19 (risks, symptoms, preventions strategies, and vaccination). For the last year, she has been the Director of Operations for Northwest Communities Education Center (NCEC)/Radio KDNA a community-based non-profit organization located in Granger, WA. As part of the research team, she also administer the grant at NCEC/Radio KDNA and prepare grant reports.
Ms. Towle has more than 20 years of experience in telehealth. With a master’s degrees in Nursing and in International Educational Administration, she established the UCSF International Medical Services in 1996, building clinical and educational telehealth programs reaching Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. From 2001 until 2015, she served as the founding Director for Telehealth Services at the University of Washington, creating a new rural telehealth network, delivering programs and services across Washington and beyond. Since 2016, she has focused on developing innovative telepsychiatry services and telebehavioral health training at the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and now at Harborview’s Behavioral Health Institute. She is a founding Board member and former Board Chair for the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center, as well as a board member of the Washington State Telehealth Collaborative.
Eric Volk is a partner in Wipfli’s Spokane office. He specializes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and audits. Eric provides cost reporting, audit and consulting services to numerous providers in the region. This has enabled him to develop a solid understanding of the issues that concern the healthcare industry.
Carol received her Diploma in Nursing, from Brockton Hospital School of Nursing Brockton MA, in 1983, and her BSN from Western Governors University in 2014. Additionally, she is completing a Community Critical Care Course, a Mobile Intensive Care Nurse certification, CEN, and Essentials of Care Management Certificate.
She has practiced as a Surgical, Intensive, Cardiac, and Emergency Room Nurse. She has also had roles as an Off Shift Manager, House Supervisor, Charge Capture/Education and Care Manager. In December 2019 she joined the MSP (Medical/Surgical/Pediatric) Unit at Mason General Hospital as a Supervisor.
George Wilson co-owns Greater Inland Northwest Advisors along with Summer Rose and Summer Warfield. He specializes in assessments and evaluations, disaster response, interagency coordination, and complexity analysis. He is currently working with partners in Ferry and Pend Oreille counties to establish mobile integrated health programs. George has previously worked with the Spokane Regional Health District, the REDi Healthcare Coalition, Mercy Corps, USAID, and the US State Department. He has an M.S. in Development Management from American University.
Sara Woolcock, MPH, RDN is a Research Scientist at the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center at the University of Washington. Her previous work includes research on healthcare workforce and rural health. She also has a background as a registered dietitian.
Dr. Dentler is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine. After completing a residency in Family Medicine in Spokane, Dr. Dentler established a full-service family practice on the North side of Spokane in 1976. During the 90's Dr. Dentler became interested in Geriatrics and long-term care medicine. From 1996 until his retirement in 2016, Dr. Dentler practiced in retirement communities and post-acute and long-term care facilities as attending physician and medical director. He had Board Certification in Family Medicine, Geriatrics, and Hospice and Palliative Care until his retirement. He is married, has four children and eight grandchildren.
Since retirement, Dr. Dentler has been active in his church and projects, book clubs, master gardening activities and most pertinent to this program--volunteers as a Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the State of Washington. In that capacity he visits long-term care facilities and addresses concerns of the residents to ensure that they are treated with dignity and that their rights are respected. He represents the Ombudsman Program in the Spokane Area Dementia Friendly Community initiative.