New England Rural Health Association
May Newsletter
Organization News

Proposals for Presentations for the NERHA Fall Conference are Open!

Hello NERHA Members & Friends, 

The 2021 New England Rural Health Conference - "Rural Resiliency: Innovation and the Journey Forward" promises to be the premiere interdisciplinary rural health conference in the region. The conference will be held on November 3 and 4 at the Sunday River Resort in Newry, Maine. This conference is a great opportunity to reconnect and network, showcase your work and bring exposure to your initiatives.  

Presentations that incorporate the theme of "Rural Resiliency: Innovation and the Journey Forward" will be given priority. Proposals should address opportunities, challenges, and other important aspects of serving members of our rural New England communities as we move forward into a post-pandemic landscape. Do you have resources/tools you can share or a model that can be replicated in New England? Did you incorporate new technology to stay connected and solve rural challenges? Are you interested in exploring opportunities for problem-solving and collaboration?

Sessions designed to be interactive and engage with the audience have been well received in the past. Please include in your proposal the ways in which you will engage with the audience as well as any takeaways/tools/models that you will share with attendees. 

Breakout sessions are typically 50-60 minutes long. We are planning to give participants the option to join virtually to breakout sessions and we will take care of the technical aspects for each room.

Please note that you will need to complete your entire submission in one sitting (you will not be able to edit your proposal once you hit submit). The following items will be required: session title, short and long description of presentations, objective (they do not need to be traditional learning objectives), speaker(s) name(s), emails, addresses, phone numbers, role/title, and organization.

If you need to modify your submission (after it has been submitted), please contact our administrative support team at

Proposals are due May 31st, 2021.

The proposals will be reviewed by a panel of rural healthcare leaders, and their decisions regarding selections will be shared in late June 2021.

The conference registration fee will be discounted for up to two registered speakers for the day that they are scheduled to present.  

If your proposal is accepted, the information provided in your proposal may be used in conference promotional materials, including, but not limited to, RHA: emails, social media posts, website, and/or mailings.  Information will also be included in the conference program and app.

If you’re interested in submitting a proposal, please visit the application here. We hope to see you there!

Thank you,

Ann Marie Day
Executive Director

President's Corner

My very best,


Member Spotlight

If you’d like to be considered for a member spotlight, please let us know!
Save The Date!
Find out more on our website here!

COVID-19 Community Corps - May 13, 2021

Community Corps members, 

Good news: the Pfizer vaccine is now available for adolescents 12 through 15 years of age – a big next step in our mission to get America vaccinated and keep us protected. 

Teenagers over the past year have missed school, sports, prom, concerts, seeing family, hanging out with friends, the list goes on. And parents have seen the toll this pandemic has taken on their kids, missing out on so much of the life of being a teenager. 

Everyday, more and more people across the country are rolling up their sleeves to get the vaccine to bring us back to normal and end the pandemic. Now, it’s time for nearly 17 million teens and young adults to get their turn. 

Pass it on: Parents who wants to protect their child, now you can. Find a COVID-19 vaccine near you at or by texting your zip code to 438829. 

It’s normal to have questions, and as members of the COVID-19 Community Corps, YOU are the leaders that we need to make sure your communities have the answers. Here are tools to use as you connect with patients, parents, neighbors, or even on Facebook: 

For parents: COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens 

For pediatric healthcare professionals: COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkit including materials for parents, FAQs, and more 

As always, if you’re hearing other questions or concerns in your community about vaccines, visit our resources page or email us at  

Thanks for all you do. 

The HHS COVID-19 Community Corps Team

How to Talk About COVID-19 Vaccines with Friends and Family

COVID-19 vaccines are new, and it’s normal for people to have questions about them. The sheer amount of information—and misinformation—about COVID-19 vaccines can be overwhelming to anyone. You can help by listening without judgement and identifying the root of their concerns. Acknowledge their emotions so they know they have been heard. Ask open-ended questions to explore their concerns, ask permission to share information, and help them find their own reason to get vaccinated.
This 11-minute video highlights four FORHP-funded community based grant recipients from across the country. Each vignette describes the impact of FORHP grant funding in a rural area and outlines how the project staff were able to bring critical health care services to their community.

NIH Cancer Map Stories: Rural-Urban Disparities

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) depicts the causes and characteristics of rural-urban disparities in a series of maps and graphics, along with support for recommendations for greater funding for rural cancer control made by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services.

Recent News

VA Telehealth Clinic Focused on Cognitive Issues Helps Veterans in Rural Areas

May 3, 2021 - Features a neuropsychologist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Bedford Healthcare System in Massachusetts and describes how she utilized existing telehealth services to provide rural veterans with care for cognitive issues. Provides an overview of her research that found both in-person visitors and tele-users of the neuropsychology clinic were satisfied with the care they received.

Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

View details


Biden administration to send vaccines directly to rural docs

Biden has announced COVID vaccines will be sent directly to rural areas to help vaccinate 70 percent of the U.S. population by July 4. "At a federal level, every effort to overcome vaccine hesitancy has health care professionals front and center," says NRHA CEO Alan Morgan. According to a recent survey by NRHA and the Chartis Center for Rural Health, an NRHA member, less than half the staff at many rural hospitals has been vaccinated. This creates a “problem that needs to be fixed now,” says NRHA CEO Alan Morgan, adding that if rural and urban areas aren’t vaccinated at the same rates, it could create “pools of COVID infection.” Hesitancy has also led to a surplus of vaccines. “I was talking to some folks from NRHA … and they're genuinely concerned that such a small share of [rural hospital] employees have chosen to get vaccinated,” says NPR reporter Tamara Keith. COVID remains a threat – about 10 percent of the population of Republic, Wash., recently tested positive for the virus after large indoor events.


Report: Broadband Became "Rural America's Critical Connection" During Pandemic

May 7, 2021 -- Provides overview of a report that examined the importance of reliable access to high-speed internet in rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report identifies an increase in broadband use between 2019 and 2020 due to more people working from home and utilizing telehealth.

Demographics and Disability Status of Adults Living Alone in Rural Areas. This brief from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center examines how the types of people who live alone differ between urban and rural areas, focusing on differences in age and disability status.


May 6, 2021 -- Discusses the Extension Collaborative on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) program that provides extension agencies with grants to promote COVID-19 vaccination information in rural areas. Highlights the Purdue Extension office in Indiana which focuses on providing vaccine information to its Latino community, and the Primary Health Network in Pennsylvania which focuses on addressing vaccine hesitancy and building trust.

Advocate and Take Action

On the Hill

Deadline for Senators to Sign Senate FY22 CHC Appropriations Letter Extended 

Thank you to all the PCAs, CHCs, and advocates for your outreach on behalf of this year's Senate FY22 CHC Appropriations Letter. Because of your efforts, we have over 60 signatures, but we are still short of our goal. Please get in touch with your Senators and ask them to co-sign the letter. The Senate has not yet set a new deadline. To sign on, Senate offices should contact Sally Farrington with Sen. Wicker or Amy Brown with Sen. Stabenow You can click here to find the list of Senators who have already signed.


House Appropriations Committee Signals Budget Timelines

Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro said that the House subcommittee and full committee markups would take place in June. The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to release instructions and deadlines for members to submit programmatic, language, and earmark requests. The Subcommittee deadlines will likely be two or three weeks after the President's budget is released, likely around Memorial Day. 


HHS Secretary Becerra to Testify on the FY22 HHS Budget

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra will testify on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in front of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on the FY22 HHS discretionary budget request. NACHC has submitted questions about CHC priorities for subcommittee Members to consider asking the Secretary.


The House Expects to Pass Mental Health Legislation This Week

The Office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the House would consider bipartisan legislation to address mental health needs by strengthening suicide-prevention efforts, authorizing grants for school-based mental health services, and addressing disparities in mental health care among underserved communities this week.

Sign-On Opportunity: Urge Improved Federal Funding for Rural and Tribal Communities

Sign on by Wednesday, May 19th!

Policy Sign-On: Because significant funding to rural and tribal populations is included in the American Rescue Plan Act and other pending federal legislation, we would like federal agency staff and elected leaders to consider impacts and potential changes to current federal funding processes to better serve rural and tribal communities as described in this letter.

If you would like to be included as a supporting individual or organization on the letter, please complete this form. Sign-ons are due by Wednesday, May 19th.

Please forward this information to other rural people and organizations you think may be interested in participating as a signer.

In addition to signing on, we encourage you to write your own letter to your Congressional representatives, sharing your personal perspectives. You can find your Congressperson here.

Dear Partners,

We are pleased to announce that LD 1501: An Act to Protect Oral Health for Children in Maine has passed through the Health and Human Services Committee with unanimous support! We still have some hurdles to jump through to get this bill over the finish line, though. If you are a health provider (including but not limited to dental, primary care, and others) or a community partner who cares about oral health, will you sign our support letter?

LD 1501 would would:

  • Expand Maine’s school-based oral health program to all schools statewide by 2025 (currently limited to elementary schools with 40%+ free and reduced lunch rate)

  • Re-establish a full-time oral health coordinator position at the Maine CDC, which was eliminated 7 years ago.

  • Direct MaineCare to begin a value-based payment pilot for oral health services in school and childcare settings and consider how to maximize federal matching funds for these services, and

  • Build into MaineCare’s annual report to the Health and Human Services committee the status of oral health services provided in schools and methods for maximizing Medicaid funding for school-based oral health services.

Despite the unanimous support in the HHS committee, we still have to ensure that the bill passes with the funding necessary to make all of this happen!

Can we count on you to sign on in support of this bill to ensure all Maine children can grow up free from preventable dental disease?

With hope and optimism for a brighter future for children in Maine, Becca, Kalie, and all the partners that make our work possible.

NERHA Policy Issue Request Form 

The New England Rural Health Association utilizes our Policy Committee to take action around emerging issues affecting rural health. Do you have policy issues you’d like to share with us? Check out our Policy Issue Request Form, which allows our members to share policy items with us that we can help support. This form outlines the key information that the Policy Committee needs in order to consider a policy issue for action. By completing this form you will be identified as the 'Champion' of the issue and will need to participate in the discussions and action items related to the issue. Thank you for partnering with the NERHA to protect rural health.

Interested in Policy? - Join our “Health Policy Happy Hour” committee meetings the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 5-6pm. Please email to get added to the invite.
Funding & Opportunities

Coming Soon - New HHS funding for Rural Health Clinics to strengthen COVID-19 testing and mitigation and increase
vaccine confidence

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will be making new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funding available for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) to strengthen COVID-19 testing and mitigation and increase vaccine confidence.

Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence (RHCVC) Program – Coming Soon!

Interested RHCs should watch for the upcoming funding opportunity and start the process to register to apply for a HRSA grant.  HRSA will fund all eligible RHCs that have a complete and acceptable application.  RHCs may use this funding to increase vaccine confidence, improve health care in rural areas, and reinforce key messages about prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

For additional information please register in advance and join the National Association of Rural Health Clinic’s (NARHC) RHC COVID Initiatives webinar on Wednesday May 19th, at 12 PM ET. Please join the RHC Vaccine Confidence Program mailing list for additional program announcements and updates by clicking here. For additional questions:

Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program - Coming Soon! 

RHCs that have met the requirements for the RHC COVID-19 Testing Program will receive a one-time allocation of up to $100,000 per clinic site automatically deposited in the bank account of the corresponding TIN organization in June 2021. RHCs will not have to apply for payments for this program. Ineligible RHCs that are not current with reporting of testing data on will have the opportunity to catch up for future program consideration, dependent on the availability of funds.  Please join the RHC COVID-19 Testing Program mailing list for additional program announcements and updates by clicking here. For additional questions: 



The Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services administers grant programs to support projects that implement innovative models to improve minority health and reduce health disparities.

OMH has released the following notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) for which applications are now being accepted

Opportunity Title: Family-Centered Approaches to Improving Type 2 Diabetes Control and Prevention 

Award Amount: Up to $500,000

Application Due Date: July 13, 2021, 6:00 PM ET

This notice solicits applications to fund projects that test interventions to identify family-centered factors that promote self-management and prevention of Type 2 diabetes among racial and ethnic minority and disadvantaged families who have a family member(s) aged 12 and older with Type 2 diabetes. Through the testing of family-centered interventions, OMH expects the Family-Centered Approaches to Improving Type 2 Diabetes Control and Prevention initiative to identify specific family-centered factors (e.g., structural, instrumental, functional, cultural, and social needs) that affect patient self-management of diabetes (e.g., physical activity, healthy nutrition) and family members' health outcomes. The target population for the intervention is racial/ethnic minority and disadvantaged families with a family member(s) aged 12 and older with Type 2 diabetes. For the purposes of this notice, “family” also includes persons who may live in the same household as the individual with Type 2 diabetes.

Learn more about this NOFO and how to apply.

NOSORH Rural Health Data Institute

An 8-part, web-based training for individuals who work with rural health data.

Geographic coverage: Nationwide

Application Deadline: Jun 4, 2021

Sponsor: National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health


UMass is Recruiting 

The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (where NEAETC sits) is recruiting for an Associate Director of Education. This position will work with NEAETC and other education and training initiatives within the Department.

Apply Here

Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)

Grants for projects that assist in the development, coordination, and expansion of domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community‐supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer‐to‐consumer market opportunities.

Geographic coverage: Nationwide and U.S. territories

Application Deadline: Jun 21, 2021

Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence

Grants to develop support services for children exposed to violence in their homes, schools, and communities; and to develop, enhance, and implement violent crime reduction strategies that focus on violent juvenile offenders.

Geographic coverage: Nationwide and U.S. territories

Application Deadline: Jun 22, 2021


HRSA Expanding Community-Based Workforce for COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach – Applications Due May 18.

As part of the large federal investment in local-level response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will make approximately 10 awards with total funding of $125 million.  The funding will support outreach, education and assistance related to the COVID-19 vaccine and go to public and/or private nonprofit organizations with demonstrated experience in public health programs across a broad geographic area.  Applicants are expected to have partnerships with health and social service organizations that can directly hire community outreach workers from vulnerable, medically-underserved communities.  This is the first of two funding opportunities for community-based vaccine outreach. The second funding opportunity will be released in mid-May and will focus on smaller community-based organizations.

FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program – Applications Open
on May 12.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created this temporary program to help eligible individuals and households afford internet service during the pandemic. Eligible households can enroll through an approved broadband service provider or by visiting  The program will end when the fund runs out of money, or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever is sooner.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) will make 10 awards of up to $350,000 each for the development of Network Lead Entities that key access functions within a community such as coordination of information and referral, screening, care coordination, care transitions, eligibility and enrollment, and person centered planning.  Eligible applicants are public and nonprofit community-based organizations that can coordinate health and social services across a local or regional network.

Virtual Living Room - Using Technology to Address the Critical Healthcare Needs of Veterans in Rural Areas

A grant program that combines rural technology, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs resources, and local support to provide solutions to improve healthcare access for veterans in rural areas.

HHS Announces Nearly $1 Billion for Rural COVID-19 Response

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the availability of nearly $1 billion to respond to COVID-19 in rural communities.  Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the funds will expand COVID-19 testing, and increase the number of vaccines sent to rural areas.
Additionally, HHS announced that approximately $250 million will be awarded to develop and support a community-based workforce who will serve as trusted voices sharing information about vaccines, work to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence, and address any barriers to vaccination for individuals living in vulnerable and medically underserved communities.

Over the next few months, HRSA will:

  • Provide up to $100,000 to each of more than 4,600 Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) across the country through the Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program, which follows the success of the Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing Program. Send questions about the Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program to 

  • Further expand COVID-19 testing in approximately 1,730 small rural hospitals – Critical Access Hospitals and other rural hospitals with fewer than 50 beds – with up to $230,000 each through the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP).  Hospitals that are interested should contact their state’s SHIP grantee.

  • Invite RHCs to join the new Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Program – a joint effort with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase COVID-19 vaccine supply in rural communities. Send questions about the Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Program to with RHC Vaccine Distribution in the subject line.

Make nearly $100 million available in grants through the Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence (RHCVC) Program. HRSA will fund all eligible RHCs that apply. Rural Health Clinics participating in the RHCVC program will be able to use the funds to increase patient and community confidence in COVID-19 vaccination and to address equity gaps by bolstering patient literacy on the benefits of broader vaccination for other infectious diseases. Send questions about the Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence Program to

Read the full press release and White House Fact Sheet for more details about this new funding. 

Upcoming Events

Mental Health Poll: Assessing the Crisis During

COVID-19 and Beyond 

Monday, May 24, 2021

1-2 p.m. ET

Register Now

Meeting at the Crossroads of HIV & Aging

June 3, 2021 12:00 – 1:00 pm ET

With over 50% of people with HIV/AIDS aged 50 and older, this webinar will address the unique health conditions and social determinants of health for the increasing population of long-term survivors and newly diagnosed as they grow older.

The ABC's of Resilience - An Interactive Workshop to Learn and Practice Resilience Building Skills

July 13, 2021 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Central

Center for Optimizing Rural Health



Wednesday, June 9, 2021, 12:00 PM ET

Webinar Registration

ACL’s National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) will be hosting the 2021 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) webinar, Coming Back Strong After COVID-19: Federal Elder Justice Innovations and Resources.


RuralServ National Government Services Medicare
Listening Session

June 10, 2021    1:00- 2:00pm

During this event, we will be listening to your ideas about how we can improve in areas such as: 

  • Special issues you face serving Medicare beneficiaries in rural communities 

  • The customer service you receive when contacting our call center

  • The training you receive during our webinars and in-person sessions

  • The ease of use of our website, and internet portal, 

  • Our provider Enrollment/Provider Revalidation processes

  • The timeliness and accuracy of our claims processing and payments

  • Processes where you find it difficult to do business with us

  • Actions we could take to help make your job easier

To RSVP, please respond to to let us know you can join the call. Meeting details will be sent following your RSVP. 


The NERHA and First American Healthcare Finance have partnered to offer a Finance Executive Virtual Roundtable discussion on Wednesday, June 16th at 4:00PM (ET) exclusively for members.

This is a great opportunity to share and learn from your peers on how they are navigating through 2021 (i.e. challenges/solutions, rebound/recovery, silver linings, etc.). Registration information is below.


When: Wednesday, June 16 at 4:00PM (ET)

Register here: (after registering, please look for a Confirmation email and survey from First American Healthcare Finance)

Potential Discussion Topics: Budgeting, Cash Flow, Cost Control, Liquidity Utilization, Fueling Growth, Staffing, Increase in Acute Events, Payer Mix, PPE, Reimbursement and Revenue Recovery, Repayment, Vaccination, Telehealth, Testing, Volume Recuperation.

If you have any questions prior to the event, contact Ann Marie at or your First American representative, Jerry Elsing, at



Custom Learning Solutions - Healthcare Service Excellence Pre-Conference Live Stream Summit™ on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.

Theme:   Reimagining HealthCare Engagement

Mission:  Refreshing the Workplace Through Resilience, Agility and Kindness

NERHA brochure - interactive live stream event providing expertise, motivation and practical skills to strengthen your role as an influencer and advocate. 

The 3-page brochure includes detailed information & links about the upcoming event such as:

  • Event agenda

  • Speaker sessions

  • Nominate and celebrate a Caregiver Hero (Extended deadline is now Wednesday, May 19, 2021)

  • Learn to be a Watch Party Facilitator! Register with Brian Lee prior to the event on either June 1, 2021 or June 2, 2021

Registration Information: 

Click here to access the conference registration page, select this Pre-Conference Live Stream event, and insert your Promo Code provided below where requested to register for free.

New England Rural Health Association Promo Code: 68NERHA21


The Northeast Telehealth Resource Center team is beyond excited to return to an in-person format for our 2021 event; This years' event will be hosted in Manchester, NH on September 23-24, 2021 at the DoubleTree Downtown!

Our call of abstracts for breakout sessions during the event is now open, The proposal deadline is Friday, June 25th and Notifications will be made by Friday, July 9th.

Link to Abstract Submission Form:

Join US
Interested in becoming a new member or need to renew your membership? Join the New England Rural Health Association now to take advantage of networking opportunities including our regional conference, members only networking events, and educational sessions.
Copyright © 2020 New England Rural Health Association, All rights reserved