The Branch
A monthly update for NOSORH members and partners
February 2021
New Fact Sheet Highlights National Rural Health Day 2020 Impact
NOSORH is proud of the annual success of National Rural Health Day, bringing new programs, ideas, events, and opportunities to celebrate the #PowerofRural! Check out this new fact sheet that highlights some of the impact National Rural Health Day had at the local, state and national level in 2020 (including 68 million Twitter impressions during the week!).

Be sure to mark your calendar for Thursday, November 18, and stay tuned for 2021 National Rural Health Day events and resources!
NOSORH Grant Writing Institute to Launch in March
NOSORH invites rural stakeholders to learn grant writing skills to find funding to make a difference to improve health in your community. The NOSORH Grant Writing Institute is a 9-session webinar series covering all aspects of basic grant writing from getting started, grant budgets, finding data, program evaluation and identifying funding sources. The sessions include resources to build a grant portfolio. Participants are provided one-to-one support for grant seeking challenges. All sessions are conducted live and recorded, a forum encourages student interaction, and a certificate is offered for those completing the course. Click here for details about cost, curriculum and how to participate. Registration closes February 26, 2021.
Save the Date! 2021 National Rural EMS & Care Conference
NOSORH, NASEMSO, and the JCREC will be hosting the National Rural EMS & Care Conference virtually on April 20-22, 2021. The planning committee is building an agenda that will deliver meaningful, impactful, and timely information to SORH and EMS partners/stakeholders. Registration will open soon. As information becomes available, it will be posted on the NOSORH website.
Call for Speaker Proposals - SORH Regional Partnership Meetings
NOSORH is now accepting speaker proposals for the upcoming SORH Regional Partnership Meetings. This is a great opportunity to speak and present your work/research findings/projects and other topics to help SORH address the needs of rural communities to prepare for the future. All five of the meetings will be virtual this year. If you are interested in submitting a speaker proposal for the planning committee’s consideration, please click here.
Proposals are due by March 1, 2021.
Connections for Community Care Project Update
The HRSA RHC COVID-19 Testing TA project team is working to advise and support the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and the National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) to grow testing among RHCs by working directly with the 45 SORH that have 1 or more RHCs in their state. TA has been provided to SORH, RHCs and corresponding organizations holding the Tax Identification Number (TIN). Outreach ramped up in mid-October at which time 498 TIN organizations representing 898 RHCs registered and reported data. SORH have demonstrated a significant effort and diligence in disseminating information related to this program, resulting in 1,734 TIN organizations representing 3,408 RHCs registered and reporting some data in the NARHC reporting portal Read More
Rural Health Policy Update
Congress Returns to Begin New Session: In January, the 117th Congress was sworn-in. The annual appropriations process has taken a back seat to the COVID stimulus plan being debated by the White House and Congress. Expect the Biden Administration to release their Fiscal Year 2022 Budget proposal to Congress sometime before his first State of the Union address on February 23. 

COVID Legislative Package Debated in Congress: Prior to being sworn-in, the incoming Biden Administration released an outline of their emergency relief proposal. Democrat leadership endorsed the $1.9 trillion COVID supplemental package. Included in the proposal is increased emphasis on vaccine deployment. Read More
NORC Seeking Focus Group Participants: Revised Criteria
The CDC has contracted with the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis to seek provider input for a study on traumatic brain injury (TBI). The information learned through this study will help guide CDC’s future efforts to support clinicians in preventing, diagnosing, treating, and managing TBI in rural settings across the U.S.

As a part of this study, NORC is hosting a series of virtual focus groups with rural health professionals involved with the diagnosis, treatment, and/or management of TBI who are located in rural communities. Recently, the CDC approved a change to focus group participant eligibility to include: Physicians (MD/DO), Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants practicing in primary care and/or emergency departments; Certified Nurse Midwives; Paramedics/EMTs (including Community Paramedics); Social workers; and Community Health Workers.

NORC would appreciate any assistance in identifying potential focus group participants. They understand that rural health professionals are responding to COVID and that the burden has been inconsistent across rural communities; the focus of this outreach is only for those communities or regions experiencing a low COVID burden.

If you have questions or suggestions for potential focus group participants, please email Maggie Cherney at We greatly appreciate your assistance with this effort.
Featured Community Star
Each month, NOSORH features the work of an innovative SORH or community leader who inspires collaboration, communication, education and/or innovation. The model efforts provided in these stories may be helpful to your rural community.
Kerry Trapnell, CEO
Elbert Memorial Hospital
Elberton, Georgia

Kerry Trapnell was nominated by the Georgia State Office of Rural Health (GA SORH) and selected as Georgia’s 2020 Community Star. Trapnell’s partnership with the GA SORH was instrumental for achieving Critical Access Status for Elbert Memorial Hospital, the first Georgia hospital in nearly 20 years to gain this status.

“If it wasn't for Patsy Whaley of the GA SORH, I don't know if our hospital would be open right now,” said Trapnell. “We were blessed to be part of the Rural Hospital Stabilization Grant program. That was the catalyst to help us keep healthcare local by updating equipment and the appearance of our hospital. From there, the SORH was pivotal in my push to convert our hospital to a Critical Access Hospital. It took me 22 months from start to finish to get our hospital converted. So many people in the state and at national levels told me to stop trying, it would never happen. However, the GA SORH was the ONLY group to stand up and help me from day one. They helped me every step of the way. In January 2020, we converted to a CAH. This has been the ultimate lifesaver for our hospital!”
(1:00 ET)
A Pathway for Rural Health to Thrive in a Post COVID-19 World 
What does a post-COVID world mean for rural hospitals? Find out during the Center for Optimizing Rural Health’s February 9 webinar. Click here to Register
(2:00 ET)
TruServe Monthly Training

Save the Date! Rural EMS & Care Virtual Conference

Mark your calendar and make plans to attend this year's virtual event!