The Board of Directors of Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) announced the appointment of Donna Dittman Hale, MHA, CTC; as Executive Director and Project Director of the new Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program for the Rappahannock Region.
Based in Tappahannock, VA, BRTA, is a non-profit consortium of health care organizations created 10 years ago to increase the health and well-being of the medically underserved communities in rural northeastern Virginia by expanding access and reducing health disparities through implementing an open Telehealth system. This telehealth network of healthcare providers and community based organizations serves the residents of the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, Tidewater area and Eastern Shore of Virginia.
The Virginia Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program, as part of the Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority (VHWDA), has forged a new partnership with the Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) to support an Area Health Education Center in the Rappahannock Region of the Commonwealth. In addition to the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck, the Rappahannock Region also includes the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and the City of Fredericksburg.
The Virginia AHEC Program is a federally funded initiative that aims to: (1) educate and train students to become culturally competent primary care health professionals who will provide healthcare in underserved areas and to health disparity populations; (2) increase the number and variety of primary care health professionals who provide care to underserved populations in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and other medically underserved areas; and (3) recruit into health careers individuals from underrepresented minority populations or from disadvantaged or rural backgrounds.
Elizabeth Martin, Board Chairman of the Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance noted, “Ms. Hale brings a wealth of experience to our growing network. We are delighted to have her lead the organization, especially as we expand the reach of our telehealth program to support education, training and placement of healthcare professionals in our region.” Ms. Hale has a Masters in Health Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University, is a Certified Telehealth Coordinator and has a Certificate in Urban Policy and Planning from American University. An experienced nonprofit manager and consultant, Ms. Hale’s skills in program development, marketing, community relations, team building, board relations, grantsmanship, and site/service activation have benefited BRTA, since 2012. She has experience in the development of community partnerships, training, communications, outcome measurement, evaluation and assessment of needs and resources.
BRTA members include Riverside Health System, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, HCA-Capital Region, the Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck Community Services Board, and Bay Aging. BRTA works closely with the Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health (CEALH), which provides Evaluation, Project and Agency Management services to the organization. CEALH is dedicated to improving the quality of life for older adults by promoting understanding of the aging process and how it impacts not only older adults, but also the entire community. In partnership with these organizations, BRTA-AHEC will offer the Rappahannock Region opportunities for promotion of health careers, caregiver training, chronic disease self-management, telehealth certification and training on behavioral health issues for community members and health professionals.