About Us - Michigan Center for Rural Health

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Michigan Center for Rural Health Michigan State University




John E Barnas Executive Director (517) 432-9216
Crystal Barter Director of Performance Improvement (517) 432-0006
Victoria Lantzy Education Program Manager (517) 355-8250
Rachel Ruddock Recruitment and Retention Services  (517) 355-7758
Emma Smythe Rural Health Programs Coordinator (517) 355-7757
Sara Wright Community Programs Assistant (517) 353-3990

Jeff Nagy
Quality Improvement Advisor (517) 884-8641
Jessica Strickland Administrative Assistant (517) 355-7979
Becca Mickow Administrative Assistant (517) 355-7979

909 Fee Road, B-218 West Fee Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

The MCRH is organized on a directorship basis. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of representatives from each of the following organizations:
  • Michigan State Medical Society
  • Michigan Osteopathic Association
  • Michigan Nurses Association
  • Michigan Health and Hospital Association
  • Michigan Primary Care Association
  • Michigan Association for Local Public Health
  • The Office of the Governor
  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services 
  • State Division of EMS
  • The Michigan State Senate
  • The Michigan State House of Representatives
  • Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (ex officio)


State Office of Rural Health

The MCRH, under annual contract to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), serves as the Michigan State Office of Rural Health (SORH), as designated by the Office of Rural Health Policy within the US Health Resources and Services Administration, a Health and Human Service agency. This activity is supported by a state/federal cooperative agreement. As the SORH, the Center coordinates resources and activities statewide on the development of a comprehensive approach to rural health care delivery, collects and disseminates information concerning rural health issues, provides technical and other assistance and support for the development of services in rural Michigan, promotes recruitment and retention of health professionals, acts as an advocate between state and federal agencies and rural communities, and strengthens state/local/federal partnerships.

Michigan Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program

The MCRH, under an annual contract with the MDHHS, coordinates the development and implementation of Michigan’s Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (Critical Access Hospital “CAH”).

Michigan now has thirty-six CAHs, all 25 beds or smaller, all in rural communities, all networked with a tertiary care facility, and all providing 24 hour access to emergency care. Each rural community served by a CAH has been the recipient of hospital focused community health grants for network development; medical staff needs assessment, comprehensive recruitment and retention services, quality improvement programming, and EMS coordination. Additionally, the Michigan Flex Program supports the Michigan CAH Quality Network (MICAH). MICAH meets quarterly, collects and reviews health indicators, and posts best practices. Through MICAHs efforts Michigan CAHs have lowered the time to treat community-acquired pneumonia below the national and State average.

The Michigan Flex program is supported by a MDHHS state/federal cooperative agreement averaging $500K per year over the past five years.

Bureau of EMS, Trauma, and Preparedness

The continued development and implementation of plans to assist certified RHCs in the improvement of the communication capacity through the Michigan Health Alert Network system.

Recruitment and Retention Services

The MCRH provides a comprehensive Recruitment and Retention Program managed by the Recruitment Coordinator. This program includes assisting in the training of an on-site recruitment coordinator, opportunity assessment, development of site-specific marketing, sourcing of candidates, representing rural Michigan facilities at physician conferences, screening of potential candidates, conducting telephone interviews to develop candidate profiles, providing appropriate candidate profiles to sites, assisting and preparing Area Health Education Consortium clinical sites, promoting collaboration between allied health training institutions and rural facilities, and pre-qualifying sites for state and federal loan repayment, NHSC Scholar Program and HPSA status.

Distance Education

The MCRH coordinates LIVE video/audio conferencing throughout rural Michigan with the help of REMEC, the Upper Peninsula Telehealth Network, and the Southwest Telehealth Network. We also provide LIVE webinars using one of our two webinar services: AT &T Webinar Technology or Adobe Connect Technology provided by Michigan Department of Community Health.

All program participants receive continuing education credits while staying in their own communities. In 2013, the MCRH and partners provided 30 Grand Round programs (11 of which were in webinar format) about various topics such as: geriatrics, nursing, psychiatry, social work, pharmacy, oral health, EMS, and many more to health care professionals.  The total number of continuing education units provided was 2,338.

Small Hospital Improvement Program

As the SORH, the Center has been contracted by HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy through MDHHS to administer the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP). This project provides grant-funding support for rural hospitals with less than 50 staffed beds to assist with quality improvement, ACO and value-based purchasing initiatives. Each of Michigan’s 46 qualifying hospitals received a $9,000 grant in 2014 to assist in implementing one of these three objectives.

Click here to see the 2013 Activities Report


National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) Board Member
NOSORH Policy Committee
NOSORH/National Association of State EMS Directors Task Force
Bureau of EMS, Trauma, & Preparedness Advisory Committee
National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network Board Member
Michigan Recruitment and Retention Network
Michigan Arthritis Collaborative Partnership
Michigan Stroke Initiative Collaborative
Technical Assistance and Services Center
Michigan Oral Health Coalition

© 2010 Michigan State University Board of Trustees. East Lansing MI 48824.  MSU is an equal-opportunity institution.