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Heather Charlet, Wyatt Brieser participate in statewide hospital leader fellowship

April 30, 2024

Heather Charlet, Hammond-Henry Hospital Chief Nursing Officer, and Wyatt Brieser, Vice President of Operations, recently completed the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN’s) Rural Health Fellowship, during ceremonies held April 24 at Erin’s Pavilion, Springfield. The Fellowship is a six-month leadership development program designed for new and emerging C-suite and C-suite track individuals from Illinois’ critical access and rural hospitals or other rural health organizations.

ICAHN selects no more than 20 highly motivated individuals from its membership of 58 hospitals to participate in the annual Fellowship program. Each of the 20 new and emerging hospital leaders is paired with an experienced rural health leader throughout the duration of the Fellowship.

“As a Fellow, you gain a deeper appreciation of what sets rural healthcare apart from urban and a greater understanding of what rural healthcare leaders are called to do in their positions,” said Kathy Fauble, ICAHN Professional Education Services Director. “The Fellowship focuses on four key pillars: rural health, operations, finance, and healthcare leadership, and will transform thinking while also challenging the Fellows to grow as leaders.”

A key element of the Fellowship includes participation building, planning, and implementing a rural healthcare project designed to specifically benefit the mentees’ own hospitals. Charlet’s project focused on the creation and implementation of a leadership orientation tool, and Brieser’s project focused on provider re-engagement initiatives.

“Due to tenured managers retiring and organizational change, Hammond-Henry Hospital has several new leaders in a variety of roles. This led to evaluation of our leadership orientation process and recognition of the need for a comprehensive tool capturing each department’s impact on the hospital for success,” said Charlet. “Feedback from new managers was obtained, with areas of strengths and weaknesses identified. Information was gathered and analyzed and led to the development of the new leadership orientation checklist and resources needed for success.”

Brieser’s project focused on the national trend of provider disengagement driven by poor inclusion practices. To remove the potential for disengagement at Hammond-Henry Hospital, Brieser scheduled monthly meetings between family practice/walk-in care providers, administration, and ancillary service managers.

“Under Hammond-Henry’s new leadership directives, it was identified that our providers may not have been afforded the level of communication or collaboration that was expected,” said Brieser. “Education embedded within ICAHN’s Fellowship Program provided a more nationally identified picture of provider disengagement and lack of long-term commitment to organizations, which is driven (at least in part) by a perception of reduced efforts to include them in strategic decision-making to meet their patient’s needs. This phenomenon is something that we hope to remove entirely from Hammond-Henry Hospital. We have talented providers that are passionate about their patient’s health and well-being. We plan to collaborate with each of them to meet our hospital mission: to improve the quality of life in our communities through excellence in healthcare.”

Both projects had been successfully implemented at Hammond-Henry Hospital, even before the conclusion of ICAHN’s Fellowship program. To date, final revisions and new phases of both projects continue to emerge.

Hammond-Henry Hospital is a member of the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network. ICAHN’s Fellowship program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Heather Charlet is pictured third from the right in the back row, and Wyatt Brieser is pictured on the far right in the back row.