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Project Title:Rural Health Innovation CollaborativeInstitution Name:Indiana State University Innovation Category:Economic and Workforce Development Project Director:Richard “Biff” Williams, Dean of the College of Nursing, Health, and Human ServicesContact Information:(812) 237-3683, biff.williams@indstate.eduWebsite:http://www.therhic.org/
Project Description:The Rural Health Innovation Collaborative (RHIC) works to improve health care in rural Indiana by increasing the number of qualified rural healthcare professionals. Institutional partners in the RHIC include Indiana State University, Union Hospital and its Lugar Center for Rural Health, Hamilton Center (mental health services), Indiana University School of Medicine – Terre Haute, Ivy Tech Community College, Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation, and the City of Terre Haute. RHIC priorities include expanding health care businesses, generating research opportunities, providing health care training programs, and ultimately improving access to rural medical care. The RHIC was created in September 2008 and became a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation in December 2009.
Objectives:RHIC initiatives include three main areas of focus:

o  Identifying gaps in education training programs in the state and region and working collaboratively to address those gaps; providing cooperative education/training programs between the educational partners.

o  Fostering economic development by attracting emerging health-related companies to the region and supporting expansion of existing companies.Development of the RHIC “District” or neighborhood,  a 170 acre area in north-central Terre Haute bordered by Union Hospital to the north and ISU to the south. Plans for development include enhancement of shared educational facilities on the Union Hospital campus and development of appropriate commercial and residential sites.

Outcomes:o  An inter-professional simulation center was opened in 2011.  Student teams provide care for patients using real-life scenarios and life-like electronic mannequins that mimic actual human conditions.

o  Seventy high school students have participated in “Body Shop,” a program focused on hands-on health care career exploration.

o  RHIC received a Healthy People 2020 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop health-related inter-professional education materials and to implement a multi-disciplinary internship program geared toward helping current and future professionals better utilize a team approach to health care. Initial interns included a medical student, as well as students from pharmacy, communication, respiratory care, and physician assistant studies. The Rural Health Scholarship Program was developed to prepare students from rural Indiana to return to rural areas, as a primary care physician. The program offers students an opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree with admission to medical school (Indiana University School of Medicine—Terre Haute on the campus of Indiana State University) following completion of undergraduate studies and all program requirements.

o  An inter-professional simulation center was opened in 2011. Student teams provide care for patients using real-life scenarios and life-like electronic mannequins that mimic actual human conditions.

o  Seventy high school students have participated in “Body Shop,” a program focused on hands-on health care career exploration.

o  RHIC received a Healthy People 2020 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop health-related inter-professional education materials and to implement a multi-disciplinary internship program geared toward helping current and future professionals better utilize a team approach to health care. Initial interns included a medical student, as well as students from pharmacy, communication, respiratory care, and physician assistant studies. 

o  The Rural Health Scholarship Program was developed to prepare students from rural Indiana to return to rural areas, as a primary care physician. The program offers students an opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree with admission to medical school (Indiana University School of Medicine—Terre Haute on the campus of Indiana State University) following completion of undergraduate studies and all program requirements.

Challenges/Problems Encountered:A significant portion of RHIC programming is driven by external funding. The diligent pursuit of funding is a time-intensive task. The director and staff must be skilled at navigating the cultures of each of the RHIC institutional partners. Although RHIC members share common goals, the practices and policies of each organization vary, sometime considerably.
Evaluation Approach:The most important metrics for the RHIC include student enrollment, number of graduates, and placement rates in rural health care settings. Each program of the RHIC has individual evaluation metrics which oftentimes are driven by the funding agency.
Potential for Replication:The program could be replicated in regional hubs with multiple academic institutions and health care programs. Partners must be committed to interdisciplinary education and willing to financially support the program. The RHIC is a long-term program that will take several years to fully develop. Long-term commitment on the part of the founding partners is critical.
Additional Resources:

RHIC Simulation Center - http://www.rhicsimcenter.org/ 

ISU College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services - http://www.indstate.edu/nhhs/  

CEO-to-CEO Contact:Daniel J. Bradley , PresidentDan.Bradley@indstate.edu
(812) 237-4000
Date Published: Monday, October 1, 2012