We look forward to convening the 2nd Annual Summit on the Future of Rural Health Care - October 18, 2023

On October 18, Sanford Health will convene the second annual Summit on the Future of Rural Health Care in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The hybrid event will bring together senior Administration officials, policymakers, health system CEOs, industry experts, prominent tech leaders and frontline caregivers for candid, wide-ranging conversations about the future of rural health care. The Summit is an opportunity to hear from the industry’s most exciting voices on breakthrough ideas to reimagine how we build the health care workforce of tomorrow to best serve rural America.

These diverse voices from across the health care ecosystem will discuss timely topics, including:
- Creating a more resilient and sustainable rural health care workforce
- New care delivery models that redefine workforce needs
- The role of AI and digital innovation in transforming how we work
- Public policy solutions to attract and retain the caregivers we need today and cultivate the workforce we know
we will need tomorrow

The Summit will deliver bold solutions to meet current and future health care needs and improve communities for generations to come. Rural America faces unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to health care access:
- Nearly 20% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas but only 11% of physicians live and practice in rural communities.
- The U.S. faces a projected physician shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034, with the biggest gaps in primary care, behavioral health and rural communities.
- Nearly 25% fewer rural physicians will be practicing by 2030.
- The shortage of health care providers in rural areas exacerbates rural health disparities. 60% of health outcomes are determined by a person's zip code.

2023 Speakers and Moderators

Kasey Buckles, PhD
Professor of Economics and Concurrent Professor of Gender Studies, University of Notre Dame 
Dr. Kasey Buckles is a Professor of Economics and Concurrent Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Buckles’ research interests include the economics of the family, economic demography, and child health and well-being. Professionally, Dr. Buckles is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow at the IZA Institute for Labor Economics. Currently, Dr. Buckles serves as the president of the Midwest Economics Association.  
Dr. Buckles received her Ph.D. in Economics and Master of Art in Political Economy from Boston University. In addition, she serves as a board member on the Society of Economics of the Household.

Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH
President, American Medical Association 
Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld serves as the president of the American Medical Association. Before serving in this role, Dr. Ehrenfeld was elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees in 2014. He is a senior associate dean, tenured professor of anesthesiology and director of the “Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Endowment” at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Ehrenfeld has served on the governing boards of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Resident Component, the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Illinois State Medical Society. He also served as speaker of the house of delegates of the Massachusetts Medical Society for six years.

Born in Wilmington, Del., Dr. Ehrenfeld is a graduate of Philips Academy, Haverford College, the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health. Board-certified in both anesthesiology and clinical informatics, Dr. Ehrenfeld is a fellow of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Medical Informatics Association.

Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, The Diane S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, is a world leader in health policy, widely cited bioethicist, UPenn provost and professor, and oncologist. As the vice provost for global initiatives and the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Emanuel has been positioned to influence public health policy nationally. He serves as a special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization and the founding chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health.  

Previously, Dr. Emanuel served as a special adviser on health policy to the director of the Office of Management and Budget and National Economic Council. In this role, he was instrumental in drafting the Affordable Care Act. Dr. Emanuel also served on the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.

Dr. Emanuel received his MD and PhD in Political Philosophy from Harvard University, and a Masters of Science from Oxford University. 

Russ Gronewold
President and CEO, Bryan Health
A Nebraska native, Russ Gronewold is President and CEO of Bryan Health.  Bryan is a six-hospital system serving over 60 communities in urban and rural Nebraska.  

Gronewold started his career as a CPA with Arthur Andersen in their health care division and has over 30 years in the health care industry, including senior management positions with 4 different health systems working in the areas of finance, business development, operations, innovation, physician practice management, and managed care. After 10 years as Bryan’s Chief Financial Officer, he became CEO in 2020. He is a member of the American Hospital Association (AHA) Board of Trustees and serves as chair of the AHA’s Regional Policy Board 6. He is a past chair of the Nebraska Hospital Association and is on the board of the Nebraska Educational Health and Finance Authority.

Tommy Ibrahim, MD, MHA, CPE, FHM, FACHE
President and CEO, Bassett Healthcare Network
One of the nation’s youngest healthcare CEOs, Tommy led the $1 billion-plus Bassett enterprise with a 5,600 square mile service area through the COVID-19 pandemic, navigating workforce shortages, vaccine hesitancy, inflation, and supply disruptions.

A keynote speaker at universities and conferences on improving healthcare for underserved communities, Tommy is well-versed in healthcare transformation, service line and system integration, and reforming the health service delivery model. He also helps struggling hospitals get back on track with partnerships and programs that generate new revenue. Tommy focuses on transitioning health networks from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care approach centered on wellness and prevention. He works to bridge the gap between today’s medicine and tomorrow’s technology identifying ways that artificial intelligence, when properly managed, can reduce workloads by performing routine tasks while clinicians focus on patients.

Ann Mond Johnson
CEO, American Telemedicine Association 
Ann Mond Johnson has been a pioneer in healthcare for more than two decades, where she has dedicated most of her career to raising Chicago’s profile as a major hub for healthcare technology firms. Serving as the CEO for the American Telemedicine Association since 2018, Johnson and her team has prioritized patient access and virtual care throughout COVID-19 and the challenges that followed. In her role, Johnson leads efforts to build ATA’s strategic partnerships and alliances that ensure patients, employees and consumers across the United States and globally can reap the full benefits of advanced healthcare technologies to gain access to top-quality care, delivered cost-effectively.

Prior to joining ATA, Johnson was the CEO of Zest Health and served as a Board Chair and advisor to ConnectedHealth after earning her Masters of Business Administration and Health Care Administration degrees from the University of Minnesota.

Josh Jorgensen
Associate Director, Legislative Affairs at Alliance of Community Health Plans 
Josh Jorgensen serves as the Associate Director of Legislative Affairs at the Alliance of Community Health Plans. His advocacy focuses on providing policy makers with tested solutions to deliver better value for patients, employers and taxpayers and focuses on advancing health priorities on Capitol Hill.  

Prior to serving in this capacity, Jorgensen served as the Government Affairs and Policy Director for the National Rural Health Association. His experience highlights his strength in rural health policy. Jorgensen graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science.

Thomas H. Lee, MSc, MD, BA
Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Editor-in-Chief, NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery 
Dr. Thomas Lee is an internist and cardiologist who practices at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a Professor of Medicine, part time, at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health. He currently serves as Chief Medical Officer to Press Ganey, Inc. He is a member of the Editorial Board of The New England Journal of Medicine, the Board of Directors of Geisinger Health System, the Board of Directors of Health Leads; the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College; the Special Medical Advisory Group (SMAG) of the Veterans Administration; and the Panel of Health Advisors of the Congressional Budget Office.

Kimberly Marselas
Senior Editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News
Kimberly Marselas is senior editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. She joined the staff in 2021 after working as a contributor for eight years. A proud journalism graduate of the University of Maryland, Marselasis an award-winning journalist covering the skilled nursing industry, delivering policy, payment and treatment news that keeps providers and staff informed and competitive in this ever-changing healthcare environment. 

Alan Morgan
CEO, National Rural Health Association
Recognized as among the top 100 most influential people in healthcare, Alan Morgan serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the National Rural Health Association. His more than 31 years' experience in health policy development has positioned him to improve the lives of 62 million Americans who call rural home. Morgan is one of the nation’s leading experts on rural health policy.

Morgan served as a co-author for many publications, including “The Handbook of Rural Aging,” “Rural Populations and Health,” and for the publication, “Policy & Politics in Nursing and Health Care.” Included in “30 Healthcare IT Influencers to follow,” Morgan is leading innovation, equity and change in the digital health space.

Nancy O'Connor
Director, Office of Program Operations & Local Engagement, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Nancy O’Connor is the Director of the Office of Program Operations and Local Engagement (OPOLE) at CMS. O’Connor is responsible for ensuring the smooth policy implementation and operations of the Medicare and Federally Facilitated Exchange programs throughout the country. She also leads the agency’s field strategic outreach and engagement with stakeholders.  

Prior to her current role, O’Connor served as Deputy Consortium Administrator for Health Plans Operations and as the Regional Administrator for CMS’ Philadelphia office with responsibility for the external affairs operations of the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP programs in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

O’Connor’s CMS career includes positions as Acting Deputy Director for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and Acting Director for the Office of External Affairs in Washington, DC. In 2015 and 2019, she received one of the highest honors, the Presidential Rank Award, an award received by the top one percent of the Senior Executive Service in the country for outstanding leadership. O’Connor received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Villanova University and a Master of Health Services Administration from George Washington University.

Mark Parkinson, JD
President & CEO, American Health Care Association
As the head of the nation’s largest association representing long term and post-acute care centers focused on delivering solutions to today’s health care challenges, Mark Parkinson serves as a dedicated champion for Americans in our care centers. Parkinson serves as the President & CEO at American Health Care Association representing over 14,000 skilled nursing facilities and assisted living centers. Prior to serving in his capacity at AHCA, Parkinson served as the 45th Governor of Kansas where he helped develop a comprehensive energy policy and a ten-year transportation plan.

Parkinson was named a “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” in 2020 and 2021 and has been named a “Top Lobbyist” issued by The Hill for eight consecutive years. His recent lobbying endeavors feature the Biden administration's staffing mandate. Parkinson is a graduate from Wichita State University and received his JD from the University of Kansas School of Law.

Clifton Porter, MBA
Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, American Health Care Association 
Clifton Porter serves as the top lobbyist for the nation’s largest association representing long term and post-acute care providers, the American Health Care Association. His work as an advocate helps advance the legislative priorities of AHCA – including Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and new policy initiatives. In this capacity, Porter directs and oversees all federal, grassroots and public policy functions in the Assocation.  

With 33 years of experience in healthcare management, Porter has leveraged his operational expertise with policy analysis, strategic planning and execution to advocate for healthcare policy in his role. Porter graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, and Florida State University.

Travis Robey, JD
Vice President, Political Affairs at American Hospital Association 
Travis Robey serves as the Vice President of Political Affairs at the American Hospital Association. In this capacity, Robey directs AHA’s mission to advance the health of all individuals and communities. His work primarily relates to lobbying efforts relevant to rural health providers and the care they deliver. Prior to joining AHA, Robey worked on the hill as a chief of staff for various congresspersons.

Robey graduated from Kalamazoo College with a Bachelor of Arts and the University of Maryland with a Francis King Carey School of Law with a JD and a Certificate in Health Law.

David Shulkin, MD
Ninth Secretary, US Department of Veteran Affairs 
Appointed in 2015 by President Obama, Dr. David Shulkin was selected to serve as the Under Secretary of Health to lead the Veterans Health Administration – the country’s largest integrated delivery system. Now, serving as the president for Shulkin Solutions, LLC, Dr. Shulkin works with leading healthcare organizations and companies to foster innovation and improve wellbeing for patients in both the public and private sector. Shulkin Solutions has a focus on innovation including artificial technology, behavioral health, consumer engagement, home health, telehealth and veterans' health care.  

Prior to serving with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Shulkin served as the President for Morristown Medical Center, and the President and CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Shulkin received his Doctor of Medicine from the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Bachelor of Science from Hampshire College.

Antoinette (Toni) Thomas
U.S. Chief Experience Officer & Industry Advisor, U.S. Health and Life Sciences, Microsoft Health 
Antoinette Thomas specializes in inpatient bedside digital systems to create a health system that enables patients to move from passive to active participants in their health and wellness. As the U.S. Chief Experience Office & Industry Advisor at Microsoft Health, Thomas’s passion lies in data analytics, cognitive computing, user experience, and the democratization of data.

Her 17 years of experience in pediatric critical care has helped shape her expertise in healthcare IT and healthcare consumerism. Prior to joining Microsoft, Thomas was the Chief Nursing Officer for Oneview Healthcare for over 5 years. Her experience in patient care and engagement combines to create a passion and expertise for user-friendly solutions in health systems.
2022 Event Recap
Media Coverage
About Sanford Health
Sanford Health, the largest rural health system in the United States, is dedicated to transforming the health care experience and providing access to world-class health care in America’s heartland. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization serves more than one million patients and 220,000 health plan members across 250,000 square miles. The integrated health system has 47 medical centers, 2,800 Sanford physicians and advanced practice providers, 170 clinical investigators and research scientists, more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations and world clinics in 8 countries around the globe. Learn more.
 Join us in October 2023

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