Rural Health Care Leader Presented Calico Leadership Award

July 2021
The National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center)


A picture containing person, wall, person, indoor</p>
<p>Description automatically generatedPeggy Broussard Wheeler, Vice President of the Rural Healthcare Center (RHC) at the California Hospital Association (CHA) was awarded the Calico Quality Leadership Award at the 2021 Flex Program Reverse Site Visit held virtually July 20-22, 2021. “For more than 15 years, Peggy’s leadership and advocacy on behalf of California’s rural hospitals has played a pivotal role in preserving access to care for people who live in California’s remote and often underserved communities,” said Carmela Coyle, President & CEO of the California Hospital Association. “Peggy’s deep-seated passion for improving the health and well-being of people who live in rural communities has led to important public policy achievements, including making it easier for doctors to relocate to rural areas. I can’t think of anyone more deserving, or a more appropriate honor for someone who has dedicated her career to making sure Californians living in rural communities have access to quality health care than Peggy Wheeler.”

The Calico Quality Leadership Award is presented annually by the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC), a program of the National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center), to an outstanding rural health leader. The Calico Award was created in honor of long-time rural health leader, Dr. Forest Calico, for his life-long commitment to improving the quality of rural health. This year’s award was presented to Peggy for her outstanding leadership. Ms. Wheeler is responsible for developing, advocating, and executing public policies, legislation, and regulations on behalf of rural hospitals at state and national levels.

Ms. Wheeler provides her guidance and expertise on key rural issues related to quality improvement, financial and operational improvement, population health, and issues related to disparities of health outcomes. Beyond her work providing expert services and technical support to critical access hospitals in California with the State Office of Rural Health (CalSORH) Flex Program, her perspective is sought both locally and nationally as exemplified by her work coordinating and developing activities with the California Critical Access Hospital Network, her participation in the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services, and the TASC Advisory Committee. Ms. Wheeler also serves as the Issue Manager for Homelessness, Language Access, and Governance issues, as well as Hospital-Prison issues. “Peggy has partnered with the California State Office of Rural Health for many years and the deep knowledge of rural health issues Peggy shares has increased our ability to improve health care in rural California. In addition, Peggy’s professionalism, communication skills, and ability to bring people together to work towards a common goal have been integral to making California’s rural communities stronger. Congratulations!”  Jennifer Brooks, Flex Coordinator, California State Office of Rural Health.

“I extend my congratulation to my friend and colleague Peggy Wheeler for the well-deserved and hard-earned recognition of the Calico Award.” Said John Supplitt, Senior Director, Field Engagement, Rural Health Services, American Hospital Association. “Peggy Wheeler has been a champion for rural health care, hospitals, and providers since the day we met some 15 years ago. In that time she has advocated, represented, and elevated the cause of those who give care as well as those who receive care in our rural communities.”

For more information or questions about the National Rural Health Resource Center, please contact Tracy Morton at (218) 216-7027 or