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Sally T. Buck, MS

Chief Executive Officer
(218) 216-7025

Sally joined The Center over twenty years ago and serves as CEO since 2013. She provides leadership and program development for rural health issues at the federal, state and local level by analyzing rural community, hospital and network needs to improve rural health care. Sally directs the following federal funded programs: Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) for the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program, the Small Rural Hospital Transition Project (SRHT) and the Network Technical Assistance Program.

Sally provides technical assistance in performance improvement, health information technology (HIT), network development, population health and workforce for rural providers. She led the impactful education and outreach for the regional extension center for HIT in MN and ND. Sally has conducted program evaluations for workforce, population health and network grantees and participated in federally funded projects on native health integration and rural Veteran’s Health. She oversees strategy, development and innovation at The Center with staff and the Board of Directors. Sally serves as a liaison to the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and other national rural health organizations and represents the organization on appropriate rural health committees and boards.

Sally received a Bachelor of Education and Master of Kinesiology from the University of Michigan. Her current professional association involvement includes:  National Rural Health Association Rural Health Congress, Minnesota Rural Health Association and American College of Healthcare Executives.

Terry Hill, MPA

Senior Advisor for Rural Health Leadership and Policy
(218) 216-7032

Terry is Executive Director of Rural Health Innovations and Senior Advisor for Rural Health Leadership and Policy for the National Rural Health Resource Center. Terry has more than thirty years’ experience in rural health care working with rural health leaders in 47 states. He facilitated seven national summit meetings, written dozens of published articles, led eleven national demonstration projects in rural health and helped to develop three national health care delivery models: critical access hospitals (CAH), frontier extended stay clinics (FESC) and frontier community health integration models (FCHIP).

Terry served as president of the Minnesota Public Health Association, twice as president of the National Cooperative of Health Networks and was Executive Director of both the National Rural Health Resource Center and the Minnesota Center for Rural Health. He testified on a variety of health topics at Congressional committees and subcommittees at the White House and participated in numerous rural health research projects. He has been teaching management and leadership for the MBA program at The College of St. Scholastica for eleven years, and previously lectured at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Terry received the 2014 Presidents Award from the National Rural Health Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rural Health Accountable Care Organization.

Alyssa Meller, MA

Chief Operating Officer
(218) 216-7040

Alyssa joined The Center in December 2013 and brings over ten years of Managed Care Medicaid and Medicare experience. This experience includes care coordination, program development, quality improvement and collaboration with local and state partners. In addition, to overseeing operations at The Center, Alyssa works with networks and rural communities to understand the critical components of care coordination, and how it is an essential part of the new value-based payment models. 

At The Center, Alyssa oversees program operations related to the organization’s mission, including finances and technology. She works with the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors to develop The Center’s strategic plan, and oversees implementation of the strategic plan, budget development, performance improvement and monitoring of the balanced scorecard.

Alyssa received a Master of Administration in Management with a concentration in Organizational Development from The College of St. Scholastica. She holds a double major from the University of Wisconsin Superior in Psychology and Sociology.

Bethany Adams, MHA, FACHE, MT(ASCP)

Senior Program Manager
(859) 806-2940

Bethany joined The Center in 2012 and brings over fifteen years of experience in rural health and seven years in the clinical laboratory. Bethany serves as Program Manager for the Small Rural Hospital Transition (SRHT) project.

Previously, Bethany managed the Rural Hospital Performance Improvement (RHPI) project and served as the Assistant Program Manager for the Kentucky Rural Health Works Program. Prior to that, she worked for the Kentucky State Office of Rural Health as a Program Coordinator and assisted with the development and implementation of the Kentucky Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (KRHF).

Bethany holds a Master of Health Administration from the University of Kentucky. She is board-certified in health care management and a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives. Bethany also holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Clinical Laboratory Science and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She is certified as a Medical Technologist (MT) through the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) and holds a current Florida license in clinical laboratory.

Rhonda L. Barcus, MS

Program Specialist
(904) 321-7607

Rhonda joined The Center in 2012 and brings experience of over twenty-five years in hospital settings. She currently works as a Project Specialist with the Small Rural Hospital Transition (SRHT) project.

Originally, Rhonda worked as the Project Associate for the Rural Hospital Performance Improvement (RHPI) project, since June of 2010, and developed the Recommendation Adoption Progress (RAP) reporting process, which focuses primarily on gathering and analyzing project outcome data. Rhonda is also an independent contractor with Northside Hospital in Atlanta, where she works with leadership teams to improve their effectiveness - related to organization-wide goals. She has worked with organizational development and coordinated projects concerning Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), employee recruitment and retention, and staff and leadership development. She was previously in private practice and has experience with group, individual and couples therapy.

Rhonda holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Wesleyan College in Macon, GA and a Master Degree in Psychology from Georgia College. She is currently licensed in Georgia as a professional counselor.

Phillip Birk

IT Specialist
(218) 216-7031

Phil joined The Center in January of 2008. He is responsible for ensuring The Center’s technology needs are met. He performs system administration functions, including software and hardware maintenance. He evaluates and implements new technology, coordinates internet communications and provides technical support to The Center’s staff.

Phil develops and maintains four websites for The Center and programs that The Center supports. He has been using the Drupal content management system to manage websites for over five years. His web development experience includes writing custom Drupal modules, responsive design and implementing online payment systems.

Phil studied Computer Science and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin Superior.

Nicole Clement

Senior Program Coordinator
(218) 216-7028

Nicole began her work with The Center in 2007 and has worked with recruitment and retention, community health assessments and performance improvement initiatives. Currently, she provides program coordination for the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC), including data management, conference coordination and health information technology (HIT), among other activities.

Nicole's background includes four years of work experience in long-term care. Nicole graduated with a degree in Health Information Management from The College of St. Scholastica in 2013.

Jere-lyn Fern

Senior Administrative Assistant
(218) 216-7029

Jere-lyn joined The Center in 1998 and provides administrative services for the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC). Jere-lyn coordinates educational workshops, logistics and registration. Jere-lyn also prepares payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable and coordinates staff travel. Jere-lyn works with the Network Technical Assistance Team (Network TA) coordinating travel, logistics and schedules.

She earned a certificate from Duluth Area Vocational Technical Institute (now Lake Superior College).


Becky Gourde, MPA

Senior Program Coordinator
(218) 216-7044

Becky joined The Center in November 2015 and provides technical assistance to rural health networks and state coordinators of the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (SHIP). As a Program Coordinator, she assists in the development of educational opportunities and resources for network leaders and SHIP coordinators to build leadership capacity and support long-term organizational or program effectiveness.

Before joining The Center, Becky led efforts in communication, marketing, community outreach, and account management in both the private sector and nonprofit sector, including time spent with a regional integrated health care system and with a community health care non-profit. She currently serves as a core team member for an international organization focused on women’s and children’s rights.

Becky holds a master’s degree in public administration (MPA) from Kent State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of St. Scholastica. She also received a certificate in non-profit management from Santa Fe College.

Bridget Hart

Program Coordinator
(218) 216-7039

Bridget joined The Center in 2015 and provides support and coordination for webinars, conference calls, workshops and conferences within the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) at The Center. Bridget’s role also includes updating technical assistance resources, providing basic technical assistance for state rural health grantees, email communication from the program and maintaining contact information in the customer relationship management database.

Bridget holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology & Health with a minor in English from Iowa State University. In addition to her other work, Bridget has led the The Center's Workplace Wellness Program since 2015.

Dan Herstad

(218) 216-7034

Dan joined the Center in 2012 and brings experience that includes more than eighteen years providing accounting services for nonprofit organizations, including time spent in an accounting firm where he earned his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.

At The Center, Dan is responsible for reconciling and reporting financial information to staff, management and the Board of Directors. He prepares monthly reports and invoices appropriate to specific grants and contracts. He coordinates, and is the primary contact, for all CPA and Federal audits. Dan also assists in preparing the annual budget and the preparation of grant and foundation proposals.

Dan received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Angie LaFlamme

Senior Program Coordinator
(218) 216-7022

Angie joined The Center in 1996 and has nearly twenty years’ experience in health care provider recruitment and health care workforce. In her role as Senior Program Coordinator, she oversees the Minnesota Web Recruitment service for rural and underserved Minnesota, delivers educational presentations to physician residents at Minnesota residency programs and to advanced practice providers and medical students at Minnesota medical and nursing schools. Angie provides recruitment and retention technical assistance to communities, clinics and hospitals throughout Minnesota. She has been a member of the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network for more than ten years.

Angie assists in the coordination of providing relevant and pertinent technical assistance, education, tools and resources that will support successful program outcomes and network sustainability for rural Allied Health and HIT Workforce Hospital Networks, as well as MN Accountable Communities for Health Learning Community Teams.

From 2009-2015, Angie was the Education and Outreach Coordinator with the Regional Extension and Assistance Center for HIT (REACH).  She provided health information technology (HIT) outreach, education and technical assistance for Minnesota and North Dakota Clinics and hospitals, including the coordination of HIT webinars, boot camps, newsletter, operations plans and evaluations.

Angie is also involved with current health care workforce initiatives including recent work on the Upper Midwest Retention Toolkit, Health Care Home Learning Communities, participation in quarterly Health Education Industry Partnership Council meetings and various workforce studies.

Debra Laine, M.Ed

Program Specialist II
(218) 216-7042

Debra joined The Center in April of 2015 and brings over thirty years of adult education experience. As a Program Specialist, she provides education, coaching and technical assistance to rural health networks on topics such as strategic planning, evaluation, collaboration and community engagement, partnerships and leadership. She utilizes her extensive background in training, facilitation and presentation skills to assist rural health network leaders accomplish their goals.

For over ten years, Debra designed, developed, implemented and coordinated education programs across northeastern Minnesota. In that capacity, she worked cooperatively with rural health care providers.

Debra has a Master of Education in Adult Education and Training and Development from the University of Minnesota and has served as an adjunct faculty at three area colleges. Debra has presented on health-related topics at several regional and national conferences.

Tracy Morton, MPH

Senior Program Manager
(218) 216-7027

Tracy joined The Center in 2009 and is responsible for the management of the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC), including strategic planning, work plan development and implementation and developing and maintaining program timelines. In addition to providing technical support, education and information to state Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program grantees, she is responsible for regional and national meetings, conference calls and webinars, and managing consultant projects for Flex Programs and critical access hospitals. Tracy facilitates and participates in The Center’s community health needs assessments and strategic planning services. 

Tracy has worked in public health at the state, local and tribal levels. She received her Master of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Public Health from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire.

Caleb Siem, MH

Program Specialist
(218) 216-7043

Caleb joined The Center in January of 2016 and brings over fifteen years of health care experience. As a Program Specialist he provides technical assistance with the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) to the state Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program grantees.

Caleb has a Master of Humanities from the University of Colorado Denver where he focused on philosophy and bioethics and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Northern Colorado with an emphasis in ethics and public policy and a minor in political science. He brings experience as a state Flex Coordinator where he managed programs for critical access hospitals. Caleb worked as a nurse’s aide while working through college which provided great perspective and appreciation of the patient experience. He also has been a member of numerous ethics committees. Caleb has numerous presentations to his credit including death notification ethics lectures to coroners, first responders, hospitals and most recently was honored to be the key note speaker for the Dietetics in Health Care Communities Meeting in 2015.

Kim Nordin

Program Coordinator II
(218) 216-7037

Kim began her work with The Center in 2009 and currently serves as Program Coordinator. She coordinates Community Health Needs Assessments and population health services for small rural hospitals and their communities. She also coordinates the Small Rural Hospital Transition (SRHT) program, which supports rural hospitals nationally to assist in the transition from volume to value-based health care delivery and payment systems. In addition, Kim coordinates conferences, workshops and forum preparation and logistics.

Kami Norland, MA, ATR

Community Program Manager
(218) 216-7023

Kami is the Community Program Manager for The Center and leads Community and Population Health services. She conducts Community Health Assessments and facilitates strategic planning sessions for rural hospitals.

Kami has contributed towards numerous manuals and toolkits for guiding State Flex Programs, rural health networks and critical access hospitals across the country in identifying best practices and innovations for achieving the Triple Aim and successfully transitioning towards value-based purchasing. She provides technical assistance to the Medicare Beneficiary Flexibility Programs for the 45 eligible states. She has functioned as the subject matter expert for the Veterans Health Administration - Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and led a multi-state palliative care initiative for rural veterans. Kami guided the MN Network of Hospice and Palliative Care Association in building state-wide collaborations and assisted organizations with integrating behavioral health care. She presents at numerous state and national conferences.

Kami is the current president of the Minnesota Rural Health Association and is an active member in the MN Department of Health: Healthy MN Partnership. She holds a master’s degree in art therapy and is a registered art therapist.

Kap Wilkes, MBA

Director of Program Development
(218) 216-7026

Kap, Director of Program Development, joined The Center in 2012. Kap focuses on developing rural health consulting services for the organization; products and services that increase the capacity of health organizations and networks, in alignment with The Center’s vision to sustain and improve health care in rural communities. She is responsible for management of the Network Technical Assistance program and the rural health care recruitment and retention focus area. The Network TA team supports over 100 rural health networks across the nation, providing support, expertise, and training for network development and leadership development in areas such as, collaboration between diverse partners, communication and marketing, managing change and improving performance, strategic planning and program evaluation, value proposition and business planning, health information technology, and rural health network care coordination models.

Kap is a certified facilitator and has helped organizations with their strategic planning and problem solving efforts to adapt and innovate for over fifteen years. She uses balanced scorecard methodology for planning, and provides leadership support for optimizing plans with a systems approach based on the Baldrige Performance Excellence framework. Kap is an adjunct faculty for The College of St. Scholastica School of Business and Technology teaching within the Rural Healthcare MBA program both Organization Development and Performance Improvement courses. She received her Master of Business Administration from the University of Kansas Lawrence and Bachelor of Arts in Physics/Astronomy from Agnes Scott College.