Rural Spotlight Interviews

Learn about key rural health and human services issues from national, state and local experts who share their knowledge and experience.

An Interview with Scott Ekblad

Scott Ekblad


The Director of the Oregon Office of Rural Health shares his state’s strategies to address common rural health issues and also newer epidemics such as opiate abuse.

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January 6, 2016

An Interview with Ajit Pai

Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai


Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai discusses the critical need to expand broadband deployment in rural communities and the promise that broadband holds for rural healthcare.

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October 28, 2015

An Interview with Darrold Bertsch

Darrold Bertsch


The shared CEO of both a North Dakota Critical Access Hospital and a Federally Qualified Health Center discusses how these two essential safety net providers work together to meet the healthcare needs of their rural region.

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September 2, 2015

An Interview with Gina Capra

Gina Capra, Director of the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Rural Health


The Director of the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Rural Health (ORH) discusses the Veterans Choice Program and other VA activities underway to connect rural veterans to the healthcare services they need.

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April 28, 2015

An Interview with Craig Kennedy

Craig Kennedy


The Executive Director of the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved discusses its development, and how ACU works to expand access to primary care in rural areas.

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February 26, 2015

An Interview with Robert T. Trachtenberg

Robert T. Trachtenberg


The Executive Director of the National AHEC Organization discusses its evolution, and how AHECs build the rural healthcare workforce.

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November 18, 2014

An Interview with John Halfen, M.D.

John Halfen


Halfen, the Medical Director of Lakewood Health System in Staples, Minn., discusses the challenges of transitioning to a patient centered medical home model.

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August 20, 2014

An Interview with Lisa Davis

Lisa Davis

Lisa Davis


The director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health discusses innovative programs, hydraulic fracking and her work in prisons.

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May 15, 2014

An Interview with Leila Samy

Leila Samy


The ONC Rural Health IT Coordinator describes how the hospitalization of her father led her to become an advocate for health IT.

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February 12, 2014

An Interview with Lander Cooney

Lander Cooney


The CEO of Community Health Partners in Montana discusses how witnessing poverty as a classroom teacher and as a traveler led her to health care.

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November 18, 2013