Listen to the podcast on Spotify or YouTube.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Indiana Regional Medical Center’s podcast, Rural Health Pulse, concludes season one with Katie Donald, marketing and public relations specialist at Punxsutawney Area Hospital, discussing rural healthcare models and challenges.

The Rural Health Pulse podcast is available for free on Spotify and from the IRMC website. 

The podcasts include professionals from IRMC and from IUP and are recorded by students in the IUP Department of Communications Media under the direction of communications faculty member Mark Piwinsky and produced by IUP Director of Strategic Partnerships Christina Koren. Jim Kinneer, IRMC chief human resources officer, serves as the host for the shows.

The Rural Health Pulse podcasts are part of a continued collaboration between IUP and IRMC on the topic of rural health care, focusing on issues and stories impacting the health of the region and programs and initiatives designed to improve healthcare and wellness.

Donald has a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in health care administration from Penn West University and a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is also credentialed through the Society for Health Care Strategy and Market Development in public relations and communications in health care settings and is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Health Care Risk Management and the American Society for Health Care Risk Management Association.  

As the risk leader of a community hospital, Donald has used her extensive expertise in public relations, marketing, and social media to make an impact and improve the processes of risk mitigation and management at Punxsutawney Area Hospital. She also manages the Community Health Needs Assessment and Rural Health Model Transformation plan for PAH. She has a great passion for improving community health and educating the community on resources that are available.  

Donald has been a featured author in the CHART Risk Retention Group quarterly newsletter and has presented the topic of social media at the Pennsylvania Association for Non-Profits annual conference, the Pennsylvania Head Start Association annual conference, and served as a social media panel specialist at the Pennsylvania Association of Tourism annual conference. She is scheduled to present at the Pennsylvania Association of Non-Profit Organizations annual conference in September and the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management at the annual conference in Minneapolis in October.

Donald is active in her community as she volunteers for many nonprofit organizations, including the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce, PEO International, and Jefferson County Development Council Community and Economic Development Committee, and is currently the president of the Punxsutawney Revitalization organization.

Rural Health Pulse Podcast

The first episode for season two will be released in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Mountains Rural Health Care Conference, co-sponsored by IUP and IRMC, on November 16 (National Rural Health Day) and will feature Nick Jacobs.

Jacobs, of Windber, is a cofounder and president of the Windber Research Institute (now the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Molecular Medicine in Windber) and is the founder of the Clinical and Translational Genome Research Institute, a research institute that is now part of Southern California University of Health Sciences in Los Angeles. Jacobs also is a consultant with the United States Department of Defense Clinical Breast Care Project.  

Jacobs earned both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from IUP and was honored with the IUP Distinguished Alumni Award for his leadership in the healthcare and business communities.

The Rural Health Pulse podcast launched in November in celebration of National Rural Health Day on Nov. 17, 2022. Amanda Vaglia, family medicine physician and director of the IRMC Residency Program, is featured on the first episode of the series, discussing the residency program.

Episode two of the podcast features Narayanaswamy Bharathan, chair, IUP Department of Biology, and Jackie Sansig, IRMC director of Laboratory and Respiratory Services, discussing the evolution of the same-day COVID-19 testing process at IRMC by Bharathan, and the difference it made in patient care.

Episode three features Rick Adkins, professor of mathematics in the IUP Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, discussing the community wastewater surveillance system. Indiana Borough has had a sewer surveillance program with Biobot Analytics, Inc. since April 2020. Weekly flow samples are collected over a 24-hour period at the headwaters of the wastewater plant and sent to BioBot Analytics.

Episode four has IRMC’s Dan Clark, director of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery and director of IRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center, discussing robotics in surgery. Since coming to IRMC, Clark has been integral in IRMC’s successfully obtaining a second da Vinci Xi robotic surgery system. In summer 2022, IRMC’s robotic surgery team surpassed a milestone of 2,200 robotic surgeries performed in the hospital’s state-of-the-art operating rooms. IRMC offers robotic surgery in the areas of general surgery, bariatrics, gynecology, orthopedics, thoracic, and (coming soon) urology. Clark serves as a national proctor for robotic surgery and plays an important role in certifying robotic skills competency.

IRMC’s five family medicine residents—Nawar Al Janabi, of Baghdad, Iraq; Tanvi Bharathan, of Indiana; Mohit Chhatpar, of New York; Robin Rodriguez, of Corpus Christi, Texas; and Narinder Sangha, of California—are featured on episode five of the podcast.

Episode six interviews Clark presenting an overview of breast cancer medical education and care from IRMC. Clark has more than 25 years of breast cancer experience and more than 12 years of experience with genetic counseling. In this role, Clark serves as a breast surgeon as well as a genetic counselor.

Episode seven features Steve Hovan, dean of IUP’s John J. and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and IUP Distinguished University Professor, discussing IUP’s John J. and Char Kopchick Hall, future home to the Kopchick College.

Episode eight is an interview with Wendy Haislip, IRMC vice president and chief nursing officer, discussing Pennsylvania’s rural health model and workforce challenges.

Episode nine features Erin Clark, director of IUP’s Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic and assistant professor in the IUP Department of Communication Disorders, Special Education, and Disability Services.