“I feel like I arrived on a boat,” quipped Lara Wilson, referring to the recent Chester River Packet cruise celebrating the “Save Our Hospital” committee, the Maryland Rural Hospital designation, and introduction of UM Shore Regional Health’s new Executive Director Dennis Walsh and herself as Director, Rural Health Care Transformation.
Of course, Wilson’s extensive healthcare background got her to Chestertown in her new role. For five years, she was Executive Director of Maryland Rural Health Association along with experience as an independent consultant for providing grant support and funding to rural hospitals and health care organizations across the country.
With a focus on the region’s senior population, Wilson will work with Dennis Walsh to fulfill its new designation as a rural hospital and reach out with new programs as an “aging friendly” healthcare provider in their role as an Aging & Wellness Center Excellence.
Mobile Wellness will be front and center to their core purpose of providing healthcare to a rural population.
“This is about bringing care into the community for patients who aren’t able to get to the hospital, who don’t drive,” she says. Currently, they are developing their mobile wellness team.
“It’s a team of Shore Regional staff that are going out into the community, going into people’s homes, holding community events to provide healthcare to patients without them having to travel here.”
Wilson notes that the pandemic has highlighted the difficulty for many to get to the hospital. Four staff members are now in the process of being trained.
With a look at the network of other rural healthcare models across the country, Wilson says UM Shore Regional Health carefully weighs what has worked and what has been less effective and builds on the successes they have reviewed.
Another of Wilson’s focuses will be bringing in a health educator who will develop a calendar of events for health opportunities, programs, events, and classes.
Working closely as a coordinator between Shore Regional, UMMS, the Kent County Health Department, the YMCA, and other health-oriented partners, the health educator will make sure all health events will be aligned to eliminate redundancy and offer the region a wider spectrum of educational services.
This video is approximately eight minutes in length. For more information about Shore Regional Health please go here.