South Country Health Alliance (SCHA) CEO Leota Lind completed the Minnesota Rural Health Association’s (MRHA’s) first-ever Rural Health Advocacy Certificate Program.
The eight-month program led by MRHA Executive Director and former State Rep. Steve Gottwalt was designed for health care professionals working in rural communities. Six participants, including Lind, met monthly to learn how to navigate the legislative process and communicate effectively with lawmakers.
“The program took us through the legislative process start to finish,” said Lind. “It reinforced much of my previous experience working with legislators, but I’ve gotten a better understanding of how to identify and track legislation that could potentially impact health care in rural Minnesota.”
Lind has already been able to apply her knowledge during her meetings with state legislators representing SCHA’s 12-county service area.
“It is my goal to meet with every legislator representing a South Country county,” said Lind. “So far this year, I’ve met with 21 out of 29 of the senators and representatives.”
Lind also had the opportunity to share her legislative knowledge with the SCHA Member Advisory Committee (MAC) during their March meeting. The committee of eight SCHA members learned about the legislative process, finding and tracking bills, and reaching out to their representatives.
“Your voice really matters,” Lind told the committee members. “It’s about advocating on your own behalf and on the behalf of the needs in your communities.”
Lind said she and the other certificate program participants shared feedback to help improve the Rural Health Advocacy Certificate Program for future sessions. MRHA is accepting registration for its 2017-2018 program, beginning July 2017.
Photo provided by Minnesota Rural Health Association