News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 10, 2012

Parke County nurse selected new RHIC executive director

Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Parke County nurse has been named executive director of the Terre Haute-based Rural Health Innovation Collaborative.

Stephanie Laws of Bloomingdale, a town of 350 that doesn’t have a traffic light but is home to one of the county’s 31 covered bridges, will oversee day-to-day operations of the collaborative. She will work to ensure that the education, health care, government and economic development partnership through short- and long-range strategic plans.

Launched in 2008, the RHIC works to improve and expand health care education, especially for rural providers. It also seeks to boost the economy of west-central Indiana by developing health care-related jobs and revitalizing a Terre Haute neighborhood that lies between the campuses of Indiana State University and Union Hospital.

“We’re extremely pleased to have the benefit of Stephanie’s enthusiasm and dynamic leadership as the RHIC management level,” said David Doerr, chair of the RHIC board of directors and CEO and chairman of Union Health Group. “She has been able to take her life experiences from a small town in covered bridge country and successfully communicate at the state and national level the unique health care needs of rural America.”

Laws has been involved in rural health issues for more than 10 years, both as a clinical provider and as coordinator of telemedicine services to west-central Indiana and east-central Illinois. She is director of the Wabash Valley Rural Telehealth Network, a member of the American Telemedicine Association, Indiana FCC Telehealth Advisory Committee and the national and Indiana rural health associations. She works extensively with colleagues to advance the use of telemedicine in rural communities to fill service gaps and improve health care services through technology.

She has managed the telehealth and innovative technologies department at the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health at Union Hospital. She has worked for Union Hospital Health Group since 1998 and has managed emergency, medical-surgical, ambulatory surgery and intensive care departments at a critical access hospital.

“I am very honored to work with all of the RHIC partners to leverage resources in an effort to improve health care delivery quality and outcomes throughout the region via interprofessional education, training and research,” Laws said. “I also look forward to fostering community collaboration and revitalization by promoting opportunities made possible through the collaboration.”

Laws is past president of the West-Central Indiana Area Health Education Center. She holds an associate’s degree in nursing from Indiana State University, a bachelor’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University and is pursuing an ISU master’s degree in nursing administration.