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October 20, 2014

From the Executive Director's Office

I'm happy and excited (and just a bit sad for myself) for my good friend and colleague Andy Fosmire as he winds down his work as Executive Director of the Rural Health Projects/NwOKAHEC this week and begins his transition to his new role as Vice President for Rural Health with the Oklahoma Hospital Association. I've had the opportunity and great pleasure to work closely with Andy in multiple capacities for over 10 years and I wish him the very best as he moves on. He's contributed an enormous amount to NAO and to our AHEC Network for nearly 14 years, and we all owe him a significant debt of gratitude.

Congratulations Andy, and our very best!

Please see below for a note from Andy:

Dear AHEC friends, As many of you know I have resigned my position as Executive Director of Rural Health Projects/NwOKAHEC effective October 31 to accept the new role of Vice President for Rural Health with the Oklahoma Hospital Association. As hard as it is for me to leave my AHEC family, I am very excited for this new opportunity. This role includes being the liaison for rural members of the hospital association, tracking policy issues at the state and federal level, and working with rural communities to improve the coordination of their health care services. The nearly 14 years with AHEC and NAO has been wonderful ride. As a result I have great friends and colleagues in every corner of the country and Pacific Basin! I've learned so much as a Center Director, and from NAO as a board member-committee member/chair and NAO President. Those lessons will go with me as I move on. Feel free to keep in touch with me, my new email is

One fine example of Andy's commitment to NAO after a grueling day on the Hill last November:

NAO Fall 214 Conference

If you haven't registered for the fall conference please be sure to do it now! I look forward to seeing many of you in DC in just 5 weeks! We have a great meeting planned and you don't want to miss this one! Please be sure to check the conference website for registration, hotel and conference details:

See you there!

Exciting News for NAO and our AHEC Network!

Improving HPV Immunization Rates

NAO has recently been awarded a $1.05 million (per year) five-year grant to work in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is to improve HPV immunization rates of 11- and 12-year-old males and females throughout the country by improving clinician training and understanding of the vaccine. The ultimate outcomes are a decrease in parents who report their child's provider did not recommend the HPV vaccine, and most importantly, an increase in HPV immunization rates. NAO is one of four national awardees, along with the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academic Pediatric Association.

There will be multiple opportunities for AHEC centers and programs to become involved. More details will be released very soon and in the coming weeks; please keep an eye out!

For now, a baseline understanding is needed of what education activities AHECs may already be involved in related to HPV immunization. Please drop a note to with any details.

This is very exciting and much appreciation goes to the team that worked diligently and quickly to put the proposal together at the end of August.

Please join me in thanking the team members who sacrificed vacation time, worked long hours into the evenings and over weekends, and contributed in ways large and small:

  • Gretchen Forsell
  • Marilyn Mesh
  • Carol Trono
  • Art Clawson
  • Tom Kinight
  • Andy Fosmirte
  • Anne Maynard-Wenders
  • Carol Giffn-Jeansonne
  • Richard Merchant
  • Trisha Shulz
  • Monika Mika
  • Kathleen McInnes

"Tuesdays with Trachtenberg" Changing Schedule

The always interesting and invigorating 'Tuesdays with Trachtenberg" call will not occur this week (10/28) and the next call will be Tuesday November 4th and then will switch to every other week. The call after 11/4 will be on 11/18 and then again on 12/9 as we will be in Washington, DC for the NAO fall conference on 12/2. The conversations have been robust and well-attended, though going to an every-other-week format makes sense given my increasingly booked schedule. Thanks for your understanding.

Next call is Tuesday 11/4/14: 12:30-1:30 EST: Please dial in at 1-605-475-3220. Please make note of the new dial-in number, Passcode: 245171#. Please join us to see where the dialogue will go.

Have a great week and Happy Halloween!