February 23, 2010

Sanders among select group to attend conference

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The new director of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development will participate in an event next month that she believes will enhance her ability to serve the University and community.

Kimberly Sanders is among a select group chosen to participate in the Rural Voices Leadership and Policy Workshop March 29-31 in Washington, D.C. The federal Office of Rural Health Policy is sponsoring the event and just 24 people from around the country get the chance to attend.

“The Rural Voices Leadership and Policy Program will allow me to increase my public advocacy skills and have a greater impact on strengthening rural health infrastructure in the Southern Illinois region,” Sanders said.

Sanders became director of the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development (CRHSSD) in late September. But, her association with the University and the health care field goes back many years.

She has more than 17 years of professional experience in a variety of health-related fields. She was assistant director of entrepreneurship and business development at SIUC from June 2007 until moving to her current position. She previously worked at CRHSSD, initially as education coordinator and later as Illinois Delta Network Coordinator.

Sanders, from Benton, earned her master of public health in 2007 and her bachelor’s of science in community health education in 1987, both from SIUC. In addition, she holds a 1999 Master of Business Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a 1981 Associate of Science from Rend Lake College in Ina.

Sanders has a number of publications and presentations to her credit at the regional, state and national level relative to rural health research, development and collaborative projects. She said she’s confident the upcoming program will enable her to enhance her public advocacy skills so she’ll have a great impact on the quality of rural health care in the region and beyond. She’s particularly interested in access to and the quality of rural health care along with apparent disparities in care.

The workshop will highlight health policy issues at the national level and the effects at the local level. Participants will also focus on leadership skills development and strategizing for engagement of state leaders. The Office of Rural Health Policy covers the costs for Sanders and the others selected to participate in this sharing and learning experience.