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The Missouri Rural Health Association (MRHA) is a non-profit, member-driven 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to safeguard and improve the health of rural Missourians. The Association accomplishes this mission by engaging in partnerships and providing leadership on rural issues through advocacy, communication, education and research. MRHA consists of nearly 100 members representing rural constituencies with backgrounds that range from health providers, community health users, local, state and federal agencies, educators, health plans, local organizations, networks and other state wide health organizations.
MRHA provides four key services:
1. specialized capabilities (expertise, equipment, and facilities)
2. linkages and social relationships
3. transfer of knowledge
4. management and organization
From the President…
I have had the pleasure of serving as the President of the Board of Directors for the Missouri Rural Health Association (MRHA) for the past three years. During this time, MRHA has undergone significant change, repurposing itself to become a new leader for rural health in Missouri. In 2016, we are rolling out our new image and announcing our strategic direction!
If you have never been an MRHA member, or have previously been a member but have been out of touch for a while, now is the time to join. With a newly restructured board of directors, new branding, and mission to improve rural access to care through leadership, advocacy, communication, education and research – this is the time to engage. MRHA’s foremost priority for the future is to connect the healthcare and transportation industries together to challenge our members to lead, advocate and partner locally to improve access to care through local partnerships. If you have ever encountered frustration with a patient or constituent that is struggling with transportation barriers to care, you need to add your voice to the growing number of MRHA members tackling this issue at the local, state and national levels.
MRHA’s new mantra is “link, engage, and sustain”. Future services and programming will be tied to: 1) linking members to gain new ideas, share best practices, network, and identify opportunities for collaboration; 2) engaging local, state and national leaders and experts with insight to help MRHA advocate for change, provide valued education and training opportunities to support leadership development, and identify technical assistance for members; and 3) sustaining programs and services through membership involvement and leveraging of private and public resources. With a new website and growing staff support, we are improving communication through the MRHA website blog, social media, and e-news subscription opportunities. MRHA is actively conducting research through the HealthTran pilots in south central and western Missouri and will continue to improve HealthTran operations so that the services are replicable in other communities.
Just a few of the benefits that I’ve personally been afforded through membership, include: 1) exposure to other healthcare professionals and transportation providers revealing how they are handling various transportation challenges; 2) access to a network of professionals and specialists providing transportation information and technical assistance; 3) opportunities to develop relationships and contracts with other organizations to address transportation barriers; and 4) an opportunity to provide leadership by serving on the MRHA board of directors. I encourage you to take advantage of these and the many other opportunities for engagement through MRHA.
The dues structure to become an MRHA general member is minimal. The way to make most of your membership is to become involved either through the board or an MRHA committee. Use your membership to avail yourself of education and training opportunities, share or learn best practices, develop leadership skills, and, most importantly, advocate at the state and national level! Our first annual membership meeting will be held in conjunction with the 2nd Annual Get Link’d Conference, which is being jointly hosted by MRHA and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services – Office of Primary Care and Rural Health. I hope to see you there. Don’t delay – join me in creating positive change for rural Missourians through your leadership!
MRHA President, 2016