IRHA Program Spotlight: Annual Conference
by Luke Wortley
Last time we covered the hypnotic quality of French Lick, and if that wasn’t enough to sell you on the value of making the trek to the 21st Indiana Rural Health Association Annual Conference, maybe a few testimonials about the programming might put you over the top if you’re hovering over the “Attendee Registration” tab.
IRHA Annual Conference by the Numbers:
- 500+ attendees representing other rural health associations, providers, healthcare facility administration, public officials, population & public health professionals, and students, and more.
- 18 holes of best-ball golf tournament at the award-winning Donald Ross Course.
- 6 awards given at the conclusion of the conference, at the Awards Luncheon, honoring the best of rural healthcare
- 2 ways to volunteer at our inaugural philanthropy project, benefiting teens in need throughout the Orange County community
- 5k Wellness Walk & Run
- 101 exhibit booths
- 40+ speakers and presentations
- 15 restaurants between French Lick and the West Baden
- And more
If that seems overwhelming, trust me, I know. As I said before, I’m still a relatively new staff member attending just my third Annual Conference. It really can feel like there are almost too many things to do for two days. Don’t worry, we’ve thought of that, too. Consider getting there early on Monday, June 25 from 5:30pm -7:30pm for a low-key networking reception sponsored by our Business Partner Network Premier Members. There will be light and heavy hors d'oeuvres as well as a variety of beverages available from the excellent catering staff at French Lick. Come join us for an opportunity to network and be social before the conference begins in earnest the next morning, June 26 at 9:00am.
This year’s theme of the conference is “Creating Healthy Communities” and features dozens of presentations and panels that cover: economic development, telemedicine, quality improvement, addiction and substance abuse, coalition building, social determinants of health, and more. Pages 6-9 in the conference program have a complete listing of all concurrent sessions.
Without further ado, I’ll turn it over to the some of my colleagues.
“Last year, during the IRHA Annual Conference, we had the privilege of convening a panel to discuss the opioid epidemic in Indiana. We heard from various hospital leaders / administrators and vendors as they discussed the challenges and opportunities they were seeing. It was a wonderful discussion, and the room was at capacity with participants – actually, standing room only. I couldn’t believe how well received the session was. Participants asked questions, respected the panel in their views, and stayed until the closing remarks of the session. It was so rewarding to see so many rural healthcare workers and students come together to learn from one another. That is truly what a rural community looks like: people from all walks, specialties, and communities coming together to support and engage.”
“This year will be my 10th IRHA conference. Each year, I enjoy networking with folks that I’ve engaged with via email, phone, or videoconference throughout the year. In many ways, it’s like a huge family reunion (with really nice hotel accommodations and great food!). In my position as Program Director of the Upper Midwest Telehealth Resource Center, I travel to events throughout our regional and around the country. While other organizations put on some great conferenced, the IRHA Annual Conference is my favorite to stay on top of trends here in our state. You may not know it, but healthcare facilities in Indiana lead the country in innovative projects. I’m proud to be a Hoosier, and blessed to be part of such a great organization. Hope to see you in French Lick.”
“I remember connecting with a few InSRHN CEOs through the wellness activities, specifically the 5k walk/run. We connected on a personal level, sharing interests and extending into races we have participated in throughout the years which then led to a deeper relationship to connect on programs we offer at IRHA to improve access and quality of care to their facility. By building rapport and trust, networking and relationship building is more productive, which leads to taking the next step toward solutions for the rural communities.”
“Because of the wide reach of Indiana Rural Health Association, I got to have dinner with Keri Dostie, who I work closely with as our telehealth solutions expert for the school-based telehealth clinics. She is from Massachusetts, so before that, were only able to meet via video conferencing. Getting to know Keri on a personal level at our Annual Conference helped our professional relationship flourish. It was great spending time with someone I normally only see on the computer screen.”
I think that, if you talk to any of the attendees who aren’t on IRHA staff, they’d have similar stories of relationship building that eventually turned into an innovative collaboration. Once again, to register for all these opportunities, check out the annual conference website, here. We look forward to meeting you.
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