Chair Files

Rural Health Partnerships

Being accessible only by airplane or boat adds to the scenic character of Wrangell, Alaska (population 2,300), but it also creates challenges for health care delivery. Wrangell Medical Center, the only hospital in the community and one of its largest employers, includes an eight-bed acute unit and 14-bed long-term care unit, along with an emergency department, lab, and specialty clinics. To meet Wrangell’s economic and social challenges and address the need for qualified nursing assistants, WMC partnered with the local educational system to establish the Rural Health Careers Initiative. This program provides clinical education and training to interested students, who receive mentoring and financial assistance for the yearlong course. WMC prescreens applicants and offers hands-on training to increase students’ educational performance. To date, this program has trained more than 200 students and saved more than $250,000 in education costs. WMC employs the majority of students who pass the state certification exam. WMC also sponsors an annual community health fair, featuring more than 60 vendors in health, social services and education. Local businesses help with registration and marketing. The health fair has grown significantly and contributes to improving health outcomes for patients receiving health screenings. The number of individual screenings has increased from 761 in 2009 to 1,625 in 2013. Since these screenings are offered at a greatly reduced rate, the savings just this year to the community totaled more than $440,000.

For more information, contact Kris Reed, development assistant, at Further information also is available in the HPOE guide, “The Role of Small and Rural Hospitals and Health Systems in Effective Health Partnerships.”


Additional Resources

Webinars December 13th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 2: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 20th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 1: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 17th, 2017

Transportation and the Role of Hospitals This AHA webinar on “Transportation and the Role of Hos......