On the third Thursday of November every year, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health leads National Rural Health Day, an annual day of recognition for those who serve the vital health needs of nearly 60 million people residing in America’s rural communities, estimated to be 1 in 5 Americans. NOSORH is the member organization serving all 50 State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) with Nebraska headquartered in Lincoln.
SORHs provide support to rural hospitals, clinics, and first responders in several ways including technical assistance, funding that supports workforce development, population health management, quality improvement initiatives, and more.
In 2015, NOSORH asked SORHs to nominate hospital and emergency first responder teams, community health, and volunteer service heroes on the front lines of rural health who were making a positive impact on rural lives. Soon after the stories started coming, the book of National Rural Health Day Community Stars was published.
Lexington Regional Health Center is dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective health care and this dedication can be attributed to not one, but three Community Stars. Leslie Marsh, Nicole Thorell, and Kirsten Faessler were recognized as the 2018 National Rural Health Day “Community Stars”. Their names will appear in the 2018 edition that will be available on the https://www.PowerofRural.org website, the official hub for National Rural Health Day and the Power of Rural movement, beginning November 15, 2018.
Leslie Marsh, Chief Executive Officer, began her career at LRHC 20 years ago, and says “there is little distinction between my colleagues and my family.” In 2017, Leslie received the Nebraska Hospital Association’s Excellence in Service Award and was named in Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the “Top Nonprofit Hospital and Health System CEOs to Know in 2017.” Highly regarded amongst her colleagues, she is often asked to speak at local and national events, advocating for rural health care as well as sharing the organization’s success strategies in the hope that others will benefit from their experiences.
Nicole Thorell, Chief Nursing Officer, has been with LRHC for the past 12 years. She shared that, “the impact our hospital has on our community every day is driving my love for rural health care.” Nicole leads by example; in addition to her leadership responsibilities, Nicole is, often seen working clinical shifts on the floor, in the ED, and clinics. Her influence is far-reaching, as she is a National Rural Health Association Fellow, participating as an advocate for improved legislative support for rural hospitals on a national level.
Kirsten Faessler, executive director of rehabilitation services, has dedicated 22 years to LRHC. In her role, she oversees the physical, occupational, speech, cardiac and respiratory therapy operations, as well as the diabetes education program. Kirsten also serves as the coordinator of the Corporate Wellness program as LRHC partners with area businesses to improve the overall health of their employees. Kirsten is committed to community service and serves as the current president of the local Rotary chapter, where she was named “Rookie Rotarian of the Year” in 2015. For Kirsten, the power of rural is all about “supporting local so that the community can stand strong for generations to come.”