Mentors bring real world experience, leadership development to Rural Health Fellowship

Katie Meusel was not going to lose her opportunity this year. “By the time I decided to apply for the ICAHN Rural Health Fellowship in 2020, I was too late.” Instead, her colleague Arica Schmitt participated in year one for the Fellowship.  “Arica loved the experience, so I made sure this year that I would not miss out,” Katie says of grabbing her spot.

Katie, Clinical Manager at Midwest Medical Center, is one of 17 emerging healthcare leaders participating in this year’s Fellowship.  The six-month program gives participants an in-depth look at rural health and challenges them to be a strong voice for rural healthcare by developing leadership and advocacy skills.  Each fellow is paired with an experienced mentor who provides support and guidance regarding leadership roles and the development of the Fellowship project.

See last year's video of the graduates

For Katie, the mentor relationship is one of the most valuable aspects of the program. Paired with a former critical access hospital CEO and now Division Nursing Chair at McKendree University, Dr. Richelle Rennegarbe, Katie has gained a new perspective on how to grow as a leader. During weekly phone calls the two have shared experiences and talked about how Katie can best move forward with her project on ER tracking.  “She encourages me to go with my gut and to have confidence in what I am doing. She helped me focus on the one thing that needed to be fixed and to develop my project around that,” says Katie of their discussions.

Richelle is happy to lend the support. “It is really an opportunity for me to support Katie, but I also gain by learning a new leaders’ thoughts and perceptions regarding the leadership role. I can explain the 'real world' experience of a leader in a critical access hospital. I can help guide the Fellow and answer questions they might have regarding the leadership role.”

It’s the ideas from others, including other fellowship participants and speakers, that have contributed to Katie's growth experience. “It gives me a new way of looking at the same thing. I’ve kept a notebook during the Fellowship where I write down different quotes and things I want to do,” she says.

The 2021-22 Fellowship wraps up April 27 with the final session and graduation at O'Shea University in Springfield. Mentors and Fellows will come together to hear project reports, to reflect on the experience, and to celebrate the investment of our future healthcare leaders.

“This program makes an impact,” Richelle says. “The ICAHN Rural Health Fellowship is an excellent opportunity to support our future leaders and for mentors to pay it forward. The fellowship program is an excellent opportunity for any future leader in rural healthcare.”

2021-2022 Fellows include: 

  • Lisa Ambuehl, CNO, Salem Township Hospital
  • Amy Arnett, Quality Director, Horizon Health
  • Emily Bailey, Director, Clinical Operations, Taylorville Memorial Hospital
  • Darin Buttz, Director of Community Health, Taylorville Memorial Hospital
  • Judah Donaldson, Clinical Informatics/Infusion Center Manager, Horizon Health
  • Nan Dunning, HR Manager, Horizon Health
  • Greg Eberle, Manager, Wellness Center, Hopedale Medical Complex
  • Joann Elliott, Performance Improvement Officer, Marshall Browning Hospital
  • Ozlem Ersin, Professor, Health and Human Services, Eastern Illinois University
  • Nathaniel Hall, Chief HR Officer, Memorial Hospital, Carthage
  • Shelly Hunter, Director of Inpatient Services, Memorial Hospital, Carthage
  • Tyler Killpack, Administrative Director, McHenry County Hospitals, Mercyhealth Harvard Hospital
  • Morgan Kincaid, Rehabilitation Services Supervisor, Horizon Health
  • Chelsea Lowe, ADON, Quality Control, Infection Control, Hopedale Medical Complex
  • Samantha McCarty, Director of Emergency Services, Horizon Health
  • Katie Meusel, Clinic Manager, Midwest Medical Center
  • Jennifer Rigdon, Outpatient Clinic Manager, Horizon Health
  • Aldo Rossi, Senior Director of Patient Care Services, Hopedale Medical Complex

2021-2022 Mentors include: 

  • Ada Bair, CEO, Memorial Hospital, Carthage
  • Pam Pfister, CEO, Morrison Community Hospital
  • Nancy Newby, Retired CEO
  • Gregg Olson, CEO, Rochelle Community Hospital
  • Sue Odle, Administrator, St. Joseph Memorial Hospital
  • Andrew Buffenbarger, Chief Compliance Officer, Kirby Medical Center
  • Heather Whetsell, Administrative Director, Population Science and Policy, SIU School of Medicine
  • Nancy Allen, Senior Operations Specialist, ICAHN
  • Pat Schou, Executive Director, ICAHN
  • Trina Casner, President and CEO, Pana Community Hospital
  • Jim Johnson, CEO, Franklin Hospital
  • Kathy Hull, Administrator, Illini Community Hospital
  • Jim Timpe, President and CEO, HSHS St. Francis Hospital
  • Kendra Taylor, McKendree University
  • Tracy Bauer, CEO, Midwest Medical Center
  • Richelle Rennegarbe, Division Nursing Chair, McKendree University
  • Rob Schmitt, CEO, Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services
  • Bob Sellers, CEO, Clay County Hospital