News & Announcements

Pat Schou Elected as Secretary of NRHA


Leadership for the National Rural Health Association is secure for 2016 and beyond, thanks to recent elections for its Board of Trustees and Rural Health Congress. NRHA’s elected leaders help ensure the organization remains true to its mission of improving healthcare for 62 million rural Americans.

NRHA members chose Pat Schou, FACHE, ICAHN Executive Director, as Board Secretary. As executive director of the not-for-profit Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), Pat Schou of Princeton is the leader of this first statewide critical access hospital network, which is comprised of 53 critical access hospitals providing several hospital support services and educational programs. ICAHN also manages the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant, Small Hospital Improvement Grant, and several other grant programs on behalf of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Prior to ICAHN, Ms. Schou was the state critical access hospital coordinator and was instrumental in Illinois being recognized as one of the most successful state critical access hospital programs. Through her work, she has demonstrated leadership in many ways, not just in the Princeton area, but also in Bureau County, across the state of Illinois, and throughout the nation. Enthusiastic and energetic, she has been a tireless advocate who leads a team of people focused on assisting and guiding small and rural hospitals in Illinois.

Ms. 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, Board of the Accreditation Association for Hospital/Health Systems, and more. She is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has received 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, to name just a few of her honors.

Mark Rossi, ICAHN’s Board President stated, “Our Board of Directors congratulates Pat on her recent election. We are not surprised at all that Pat is a rising star on the national rural health scene, and we are confident that she will serve as an outstanding Secretary of NRHA.” 

David Schmitz, MD, was named President-Elect. Schmitz, Family Medicine Residency of Idaho's Chief Rural Officer and Director for Rural Training Tracks, will assume the duties of NRHA president in 2017. He continues to practice family medicine, including obstetrics, as a medical educator at several Idaho locations. Elected in 2014, Lisa Kilawee will serve as president in 2016. 

The following NRHA members were elected by their peers to serve in leadership roles:

Board of Trustees Officers

  • President-Elect: David Schmitz, MD, Boise, ID
  • Secretary: Pat Schou, Princeton, IL

Constituency Group Chairs

  • Hospitals and Health Systems: Susan Starling, Irvine, KY
  • Public Health: Alana Knudson, Bethesda, MD
  • Research and Education: John Gale, Portland, ME
  • Statewide Health Resources: Patricia Crawford, Lewisburg, WV
  • Students: Julie Middleton, Seattle, WA

Rural Health Congress Representatives

Hospitals and Health Systems:

  • Steve Barnett, Sandusky, MI
  • Kiley Floyd, Osborne, KS
  • Jan Kemmerer, Beloit, KS
  • Jeremy Levin, Sauk City, WI
  • Jim Peterson, Arroyo Seco, NM
  • Pat Schou, Princeton, IL
  • Allen Van Driel, Smith Center, KS
  • Roger Wells, Saint Paul, NB
  • Holly Wolff, Waterloo, IA

Research and Education

  • David Gross, Morehead, KY

Rural Health Clinic

  • John Everett, Snyder, TX

Statewide Health Resources

  • Sally Buck, Duluth, MN
  • Brad Gibbens, Grand Forks, ND
  • Sandra Pope, Charleston, WV

NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education, and research. NRHA’s membership is made up of more than 21,000 diverse individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health.