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Pat Schou receives NRHA's highest honor for service


A champion for rural healthcare throughout the state and nation, ICAHN Executive Director Pat Schou received the National Rural Health Association’s highest honor, its President’s Award, during ceremonies held recently in Philadelphia, PA, and attended by more than 400 healthcare leaders.

“One of the true advantages of serving as president of NRHA is having the opportunity to bestow the President’s Award on an individual that is truly deserving,” said Jodi Schmidt, 2015 NRHA President, who also serves as executive director of the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, KS. “Pat personifies the wonderful balance between being an effective visionary for the advancement of rural healthcare, while also maintaining a healthy respect for reality. She has made a significant impact on rural healthcare for many years, and that’s what this award is all about.”

Generous in sharing her knowledge and experience as the executive director of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), the state’s first network of its kind, Schou has been a tireless advocate in leading her team and in assisting other healthcare organizations throughout the state and nation.

“Pat is never opposed to anything new and different and always makes certain that the change to be effected will also be connected to resources available in the critical access hospital and small and rural communities her network serves,” said Schmidt. “It’s these strategies that allow and drive future success.”

Pat Schou holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as a Master’s of Science degree. Some of her other past and current positions include president of the Illinois Rural Health Association, the National Rural Health Association, Rural Congress, Rural Health Quality Workgroup, and the Board of the Accreditation Association for Hospital/Healthy Systems. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). 

She was recently awarded the Calico Quality Leadership Award in recognition of her role in improving the quality of healthcare in rural America, which was sponsored by the National Rural Health Research Center; was named the 2014 Rural Health Hero by the National Center for Rural Health Professions; was named among the Top 25 Women in Leadership for Central Illinois by WEEK-TV Channel 25; and was among the roster of the 2013 Women of Distinction in the Illinois Valley area, sponsored by the Bureau County Republican newspaper.