Sanford leaders share strategies at rural health conference

Workforce, technology among key topics at American Hospital Association event

Sanford leaders share strategies at rural health conference

More than 1,000 health care leaders, including a contingent from Sanford Health, gathered in Orlando to discuss the challenges and opportunities that face rural health systems across the country at the 37th annual American Hospital Association Rural Health Care Leadership Conference.

Attendees of the four-day event, which took place Feb. 11-14, discussed a myriad of relevant topics, including sustaining workforces in rural areas, disaster preparedness, telehealth, best practices in health care delivery to Indigenous communities, and more.

Among the leaders attending on Sanford’s behalf were Natasha Smith, Sanford Health’s head of diversity, equity and inclusion, who spoke on a panel about sustaining health equity in rural communities.

“One of the things that really stuck with me from a health equity perspective is just this notion around patients wanting care from people who look like them, who share similar lived experiences and really have that shared identity,” Smith said.

“From a workforce perspective, the opportunities that exist for health care systems — particularly those in rural areas — the opportunities that we have to increase that representation, to really build cultural competency and improved employee experience, all of that really impacts health care outcomes.”

Sanford Health chief nursing officer Erica DeBoer also presented at the conference, discussing rural workforce shortages and how to build a more sustainable nursing workforce using technology and artificial intelligence.

“When I think about the opportunities that we have to leverage AI as well as other technology to reduce the burden on our front-line teams, it’s more important now than ever as we look at really transforming the way that we care for our patients, no matter where they live,” said DeBoer.

Chelsie Falk, senior director at Sanford Wheaton Medical Center also spoke at the conference, taking part in a fast-paced session with four other rural health care leaders called “7 Minutes to Innovation,” which focused on building a more flexible and sustainable workforce.

Learn more

Posted In Company News, Inclusion at Sanford, Leadership in Health Care, News, Rural Health