Why we are funding 100 MPH Scholarships for Rural Healthcare Workers
Updated: Feb 7
In 2006, my husband was struck with an aggressive cancer that took his young life in six short months. The experience was horrendous, exacerbated by a heartless, byzantine healthcare system that left us hopeless and exhausted. After a 30-year career innovating medical devices, drugs and information systems, it was clear to me that the greatest gains in terms of public health would come from reforming the healthcare delivery system, not by inventing another treatment or diagnostic product.
Having no idea how to change a trillion-dollar behemoth, I endeavored to learn how to manage population health and effect change in health policy. Studying Health Policy and Management at the University of California’s Berkeley School of Public Health, I learned how underserved rural patients and providers are today and exactly what I needed to know to be able to make a difference in rural healthcare. My capstone project was a concept to aggregate and support rural providers to improve quality, access and the cost of care. As a direct result of my MPH and the extraordinary Cal alumni network, I founded Caravan Health in 2014. In 8 years we supported more than 20,000 primary care providers and 250 rural and safety net hospitals making the transformation to value-based payments models. We improved care for more than 700,000 Medicare beneficiaries, saved Medicare more than $500,000,000 and earned more than $200,000,000 in shared savings for safety net providers. Caravan Health was acquired in 2022 and my husband, Bob Campbell, and I used the funds to create the Barr-Campbell Family Foundation. Our family foundation’s focus is healthcare, the underserved, education and protecting the environment.
The foundation’s first major grant is $10 million to promote an innovative public health workforce in rural America by fully funding 100 Rural Innovation Scholars to receive online MPH degrees at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. These scholarships are exclusively available to experienced healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, hospital executives, social workers, etc.) that live and work in rural communities. The school has created a special curriculum that focuses on unique rural issues of access, payment, workforce, quality and sustainability. We need new solutions to rural health’s intractable problems, informed by people who deal with those issues every day. Our goal is to create 100 rural health innovators and leaders of the future.
In addition to tuition, books and travel expenses, Rural Innovation Scholars will receive membership in the National Rural Health Association. Furthermore, each year an elite cohort of Rural Innovation Scholars will be selected to also receive Rural Policy Fellowships, which include attending the NRHA Policy Institute in Washington DC, receiving additional training in policy and advocacy and meeting with key policy leaders. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.