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Thank you to all that attended
The 2022 Oklahoma Rural Health Conference at the Edmond Conference Center!

Scroll to the bottom of the page for conference presentations.

RHAO Annual Awards

Rural Health Advocate of the Year:

The Rural Health Association of Oklahoma recognized Adrienne B. Elder, MPH Public Health Institute of Oklahoma for her work in rural health.  Adrienne Elder received “Rural Health Advocate of the Year” at the Awards Luncheon during the 2022 Oklahoma Rural Health Conference in Edmond, Okla. 

Adrienne Elder has a master’s in public health and is the Director of Special Projects at EB Consulting. By contracting with public and private partners, Adrienne increases collaboration, aligns resources, and implements effective solutions co-designed with local communities. She is a Core Team member of the Campaign for TraumaInformed Policy & Practice’s National Trauma Campaign and on the Speakers & Trainers Bureau of the PACEs Connections Network. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist, National Bridges Out of Poverty Trainer, Certified Getting Ahead Program Facilitator, and co-author of Getting Ahead ACEs and PACEs Supplement: Addressing Trauma Through Building Trust and Resilience. She is the Past Chair of OK Turning Point Council, and Director of Early Intervention with Public Health Institute of Oklahoma to advance Handle With Care statewide.

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Rural Health Leader of the Year:

The Rural Health Association of Oklahoma recognized Melinda Laird, CEO, CNO Cordell Memorial Hospital for her work in rural medicine. Ms. Laird received “Rural Health Leader of the Year” at the Awards Luncheon during the 2022 Rural Health Conference in Edmond, Okla. 

Melinda Laird, MS, has been a registered nurse for 33 years, with 25 of those years spent in administrative/executive leadership. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at East Central University in Ada, and her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Oklahoma. She began executive leadership in rural health in southern Oklahoma where the importance of being connected and caring for the community was of high value to the organization. In moving to other organizations, the focus for Ms. Laird was to develop collaborative relationships with leadership and others in the community to align and share the hospitals involvement in the community. Her belief is the local services provided by the hospital help both the hospital and the community and keep patients and their families home. Ms. Laird is passionate about the community having a relationship with the hospital.

Rural Health Educator of the Year:

The Rural Health Association of Oklahoma recognized Maye Durant, MS, RN  for her work in rural health education. Ms. Durant received “Rural Health Educator of the Year” at the Awards Luncheon during the 2022 Rural Health Conference in Edmond, Okla. 

Maye Durant MS, RN, has been a nursing professor at Eastern Oklahoma State College of Nursing for 18 years. She has also worked PRN in labor and delivery at McAlester Regional Health Center for 25 years. Ms. Durant graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a master’s in nursing and pathway in nursing education. Ms. Durant believes delivering nursing care to a person is an honor and teaching future nurses of tomorrow is a blessing. Shaping the next generation of nursing at the bedside and mentoring is her passi

Rural Practitioner of the Year

 The Rural Health Association of Oklahoma recognized Susan Trippet, APRN-CNP for her work in rural medicine. Ms. Trippet received “Rural Health Practitioner of the Year” at the Awards Luncheon during the 2022 Rural Health Conference in Edmond, Okla. 

Susan Trippet has been a family nurse practitioner for Beaver County Memorial Hospital since 1994 when the hospital developed two rural health clinics in Beaver and Turpin, Oklahoma. She graduated with honors of summa cum laude from Northwestern Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Nursing degree. She earned her Master of Nursing degree from West Texas State A&M University. Rural Health, with its challenges and joys, has always been a passion for Susan. She has loved working at the local level providing hospital, emergency room, nursing home, and clinic care for the people of her community. She has served on the board of Northwest AHEC and currently serves on her local health department board. Susan was the Northwest Representative for the Oklahoma Nurse Practitioner Association when this group was instrumental in getting prescriptive privileges for nurse practitioners approved for the state of Oklahoma. Her goal has always been helping people improve their health and providing hope and trust that she is there to help them along their health journey. Ms. Trippet loves the life God has blessed her with and is thankful for the people He has put in her life professionally and personally. Susan’s favorite activity outside of work is hiking with her husband, children, grandchildren, and two dogs. 

Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award 

The Rural Health Association of Oklahoma recognized Ted Rowland, MD for his work in rural Oklahoma. Dr. Rowland received the “Rural Health Lifetime Achievement” award at the Awards Luncheon during the 2022 Rural Health Conference in Edmond, Okla. 

Born in Durant in 1957 Dr. Ted Rowland grew up following in the footsteps of his great grandfather Dr. Pool and his father Dr. Herbert Rowland. One of four boys, Dr. Rowland grew up in the Milburn, Durant, Fox, Antlers, and Duncan areas, graduating as National Honor Society President of Duncan High School in 1975. He completed his undergraduate at Southeastern Oklahoma State University then went on to earn his Medical Doctorate at Oklahoma University Health Science Center, graduating in 1983. Dr. Rowland did his residency in Shawnee from 1983-1986. When his formal training was completed, Dr. Rowland joined his father’s medical office in Antlers. In 1996, Dr. Rowland married Dr. Victoria Pardue, a notable doctor on her own. Seeing a need for accessible medical coverage in the counties surrounding Pushmataha County, Dr. Rowland and Dr. Pardue opened a Rural Health Clinic in Hugo and Antlers, as well as another medical clinic in Atoka. Dr. Rowland is a member of the Rural Health Network of Oklahoma, which was founded to improve medical care in the rural areas of Oklahoma. Practicing medicine in three of the most impoverished counties in the state, Dr. Rowland brokered contracts with a variety of specialists to travel to the Rowland Flatt Clinics and provide much needed services for our under-privileged patients. Dr. Rowland was instrumental in adding full lab and x-ray capabilities to all three of his rural-based clinics allowing patients to receive complete care in one location. The Choctaw county location also offers weekend urgent care coverage. Dr. Rowland and his staff have been providing emergency services as well as primary care for Pushmataha, Choctaw, and Atoka counties for many years, where he has served as the Chief-of-Staff at all three hospitals. He is the Medical Director of four nursing homes in Pushmataha and Choctaw counties and the medical director for the EMS in both Pushmataha and Choctaw counties. He continues his medical training through professional training such as the Oklahoma Do No Harm Project and SBIRT through the Oklahoma Primary Healthcare Improvement Cooperative. He is also a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine, Rural Health Network of Oklahoma, National Rural Health Association, and the American Medical Association. Community and his patients are of the utmost importance to Dr. Rowland. With this in mind, Dr. Rowland has sat on the boards of several community business and medical boards. He is a father of four and has encouraged all of his children in their endeavors, with several of them having joined him in the medical profession. Known to his close family as “Mr. Fixit,” Dr. Rowland loves camping, traveling, and spending time with his family.

Rural Health Hero of the Year

 The Rural Health Association of Oklahoma recognized Angela Smith, RN for her work in rural medicine. Ms. Smith received “Rural Health Hero of the Year” at the Awards Luncheon during the 2022 Rural Health Conference in Edmond, Okla. 

Angela Smith, RN, has been in the medical field for a total of 28 years. First working as a CNA, she received her LPN certification in 1994. She received an associate’s degree in RN in 1995. Ms. Smith worked in Med/Surg for four years then transferred to the Radiology/Cath Lab in 1999. She has been a manager in the Radiology/Cath Lab for many years while also circulating in the OR. Ms. Smith is reliable, dependable, flexible, and hardworking, giving 100% to all things. She is a caring and compassionate person who is always looking to help others in any way possible. She has assisted with many fundraisers for the foundation at MRHC and also assists with annual education sessions for hospital employees. Additionally, she assists with community education at the annual health fair promoting heart health.

2022 Presentations.

Session Name
Session Title
Plenary I
The National Landscape of Rural Health
Brock Slabach, Sr., VP of Member Services, NRHA
Concurrent Session I
HWTC (PMTC) Update
Concurrent Session I
Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) Impact on Hospitals
Jonathan Pantenburg
Concurrent Session I
CATCH-UP Oklahoma: A Community-Designed Project for COVID-19 Relief and Response
Laura Ross, Timothy Van Wagoner, and Christi Madden
Plenary II
Best Practices in Public/Private Partnerships (Panel)
Todd Hoffman, Tony Hancock, and Tyler Norvell
Plenary III
CMS Updates
Carmen Irwin, Rural Health Coordinator, CMS Dallas
Concurrent Session II
Workforce Shortages: Succession Planning is Planning to Succeed
Bonnie Britton
Concurrent Session II
Oklahoma RHC Performance Improvement Network
Gregory Wolf and Lara Brooks
Concurrent Session II
Western Oklahoma Wellness—Providing Outreach for Rural Health Care Services
Jason Felts
Concurrent Session III
MASH Camp: A collective curricu-lum on increasing interest and knowledge of medical and service area careers for junior high and high school students
Dr Leslie Collins & Dr Bo Hannaford
Concurrent Session III
CMS Health IT Regulatory Up-dates—Promoting Interoperabil-ity, HIPAA, and SAFER Guides
Ashley Rhude
Concurrent Session III
The 5 Foundational Marketing Tactics You Need to Get New Patients
Cory Krueger
Concurrent Session IV
Cross-Training Providers and Nurses in Rural Hospitals with Respiratory Thera-pist Shortages
Melinda Culp & Amber Lee
Concurrent Session IV
Ending the HIV Epidemic in Rural Oklahoma: A Path Forward
Randolph D. Hubach PhD,MPH
Concurrent Session V
Master Planning for Rural Hospitals: How it Helps Build a Case and Fundraising Options
Dwayne Robinett, Steve Lewallen, & Rick Wilson
Plenary IV
HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Updates Jason Steele
Jason Steele, MPH, Public Health Analyst, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
Plenary V
Food Desert
Chris Bernard, Executive Director, Hunger-Free Oklahoma
Concurrent Session VI
Keeping Patients Local, Hospitals Sus-tainable via Tele-Nephrology
Ron Kubit
Concurrent Session VI
Removing the Shame and Stigma of Substance Use Disorders
Zach Grimes
Plenary VI
Self-Care at Work
Jeremy Elledge, New View Health Solutions
Plenary VII
De-escalation Training
Department of Homeland Security
Plenary VIII
Managed Care/Value-Based Care Updates
Ellen Buettner, Chief of Staff, Oklahoma Health Care Authority
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