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  • Mon, October 30, 2023 10:39 AM | Anonymous


    Holly Figueroa Recognized as Arizona’s
    “Community Star” on National Rural Health Day

    Arizona Center for Rural Health – Holly Figueroa, BCBSAZ Health Choice & Arizona Rural Health Association, has been named Arizona’s 2023 “Community Star” by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH). 

    On the third Thursday of November, NOSORH leads National Rural Health Day (NRHD), an annual celebration that shines a light on those who serve the vital health needs of the nearly 61 million people living in rural America. Holly Figueroa will be featured prominently on the official NRHD website,, on November 16, 2023, alongside other Community Stars from across the nation. This platform will showcase each Star’s remarkable dedication and contributions to rural healthcare.

    Arizona Center for Rural Health is proud to join NOSORH in honoring Holly Figueroa as Arizona's Community Star. Ms. Figueroa has shown steadfast commitment to improving health systems in her community and throughout Arizona. We are honored to work with her and congratulate her on this well-earned recognition.               

    In 2015, the Community Star Recognition Program was established in conjunction with NRHD to tell the stories of the people and organizations who make a difference in rural communities. Since then, over 300 inspiring rural stars have been honored nationwide on NRHD.

    Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found at To learn more about Arizona Center for Rural Health visit

    Ann Garn
    Arizona Center for Rural Health

    Release Date: November 1, 2023

  • Wed, September 27, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Elizabeth Hall-Lipsey, JD, MPH, past president of AzRHA and faculty of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona, recently completed her fellowship with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). NRHA's Rural Health Fellows program is a yearlong, intensive training program that develops leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America.

  • Thu, September 21, 2023 8:06 PM | Anonymous

    The Arizona Rural Health Association (AzRHA) has announced a call for nominations for its 2024 board of directors.  If you are interested in nominating a colleague or self-nominating, you may click here to complete the board application form.

  • Thu, September 07, 2023 12:14 PM | Anonymous

    A woman performing a nose swab on herself as part of a COVID at home test.

    Diagnostic tests can show if you have an active COVID-19 infection. 

    These at-home OTC COVID-19 diagnostic tests are FDA authorized for self-testing at home (or in other locations). This means you collect your own sample, perform the test, and read the result yourself without the need to send a sample to a laboratory. 

    Learn more

  • Fri, September 01, 2023 8:41 AM | Anonymous

    Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs signed a proclamation dedicating the month of September as Suicide Prevention Month.  The Arizona Rural Health Association joins fellow associations in thanking the Governor for the recognition of suicide prevention.

    Click here to view the proclamation

  • Thu, June 22, 2023 11:35 AM | Anonymous

    When Holly Figueroa accepted the role of president of the Arizona Rural Health Association board of directors in July 2022, she knew the term was only a year, but hoped she could dig deep to make changes that would help the organization’s role in rural health advocacy grow in meaning and in action.

    “There was a time of transition, and I didn’t always feel that I'd have the opportunity to really dig deep into what AzRHA would like to accomplish,” Figueroa said.

    Read more »

  • Thu, May 04, 2023 8:40 AM | Anonymous

    Provided by Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva | Arizona District 7

    Have you heard about upcoming changes to Medicaid or the “Medicaid Unwinding” and wonder how this impacts you? Use the guidance below to learn more about the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) Medicaid unwinding plan. 

    At the start of the pandemic, Congress enacted a law which required Medicaid and KidsCare programs to keep people continuously enrolled through the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE).  Congress has now ended this requirement, meaning states can disenroll individuals that no longer meet Medicaid eligibility requirements. Arizona has begun this “unwinding” process of determining who is still eligible for Medicaid and KidsCare.

    What’s Happening Now?
    Starting April 1, 2023, AHCCCS will begin disenrolling members who no longer meet Medicaid or KidsCare eligibility requirements. This process will take 12 months. Here’s what will happen:

    • During renewal, AHCCCS will attempt to determine eligibility automatically. They believe approximately 75% of eligibility determinations can be completed automatically and members will not need to take any action.
      • If their eligibility is continued, they will receive a summary letter that says, “If the information on the summary is correct, you do not need to do anything. You do not need to call or contact AHCCCS.”
      • If eligibility cannot be automatically continued, they will receive a written request from AHCCCS for more information. They must respond within 30 days.
    • AHCCCS cannot disenroll a member whose mail is returned undeliverable until making other good-faith attempts to contact the member.

    Immigrants who are “qualified non-citizens” are generally eligible for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), if they meet their state’s income and residency rules. Applying for or receiving Medicaid or CHIP benefits, doesn't make someone a "public charge". This means it won’t affect their chances of becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. citizen. Find more information here

    Members who are no longer eligible for Medicaid will be referred to the Healthcare Marketplace and other sources for coverage options (see

    What Can Members Do to Prepare?

    1. Make sure your mailing address, phone number, and email address is correct. Login to, or call Health-e-Arizona Plus at 1-855-HEA-PLUS (1-855-432-7587), Monday through Friday 7:00 am - 6:00 pm.
    2. Check your mailbox for a letter from AHCCCS about renewal of coverage. The envelope will look like this:
    3. Respond to any requests from AHCCCS for more information so the agency can accurately determine your eligibility.
    4. Sign up for texts or emails from AHCCCS about your renewal. Login to (or create) your Health-e-Arizona Plus account.
    5. Watch Out for Fraud! AHCCCS will never ask you to pay money to renew your AHCCCS or KidsCare coverage.

    Where Can I Go for More Information? 
    More information on AHCCCS’s Medicaid unwinding plan, along with frequently asked questions can be found at HERE.   

    General Medicaid Eligibility Information can be found HERE.

  • Tue, March 07, 2023 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Senator Kelly’s office invites Arizonans and organizations based in Arizona to submit requests for policies or funding to be included in the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills, including both programmatic requests and requests for Congressionally Directed Spending.  As a reminder, programmatic requests can include requests to increase or decrease federal funding for federal agencies or programs, or requests that the government funding bills, or their adjoining committee reports, include language to direct federal agencies or programs to take certain actions.  Congressionally Directed Spending requests are requests for funding for specific projects or programs within the state or Arizona.   

    To find Senator Kelly’s forms to submit programmatic and Congressionally Directed Spending requests, 
    click here.  The deadline all appropriations requests is 11:59pm MST on Wednesday, March 15th.

  • Thu, January 26, 2023 10:47 AM | Anonymous

    A happy new year to you all! I hope you celebrated the start of 2023 safely and in good spirits with family and friends.

    2022 was a transformative year for the Arizona Rural Health Association. It was a year in which we strengthened the association further, growing by welcoming new members and strategizing on important initiatives that will help us to be a leader in partnerships, education and policy for improving the health status of rural communities in Arizona.

    Working together we made good progress toward our strategic goals despite challenges – not the least of which were ongoing disruptions from the pandemic that continues to have an impact on our own work and home lives, as well as on the lives of our communities.

    I was proud to see how quickly we were able to pivot with each new challenge and how the association came together to make the most of the opportunity. A great example of this includes the successful rebranding of the Arizona Rural Health Association’s logo.

    The work we are doing is more relevant than ever today.  Our communities and partners rely on us to keep them connected and informed. 

    2023 is set to be an exciting year for us. We can look forward to working further on the many initiatives to continue to be a leader in partnerships, education and policy for improving the health status of rural communities in Arizona.

    I want to thank you for your continued commitment and effort. Every one of us has an important role in the work ahead and I’m confident that we are stronger together and we will achieve great things.

    I wish you and your loved ones a happy and successful 2023!


    Holly Figueroa,
    Arizona Rural Health Association

  • Fri, December 09, 2022 5:13 PM | Anonymous

    December 4, 2022


    Governors & Executive Branch Agency Culture

    The Governor is just one person. There are 32,000 people working in various capacities in state government. So how is it that just one person, the governor, can impact the work culture and morale of 32,000 employees? It’s all about leverage.

    The governor is the most powerful person in the state. She or he has enormous statutory authority and can hire or fire just about any state employee (virtually all state employees are ‘at will’ these days - meaning they can be fired for no reason at all).

    Governors seldom reach deep down into agencies and fire and replace people…  but it's common for governors to replace agency heads, deputies, legislative affiars people and communication directors (especially at the beginning of an administration). It’s also customary for the governor to make wholesale changes in governors office personnel.

    So how does all that statutory authority including the authority to change agency directors and their deputies change the work culture of state government?

    Perhaps the biggest thing is that agency directors set the tone for workplace behavior, agency priorities, flexible work schedules, whether to allow programs to hire folks, selects the deputy and assistant directors to carry out her or his wishes, gives the programs green, yellow, or red lights to apply for grants, and makes decisions about administrative rulemakings.

    The decisions that the directors and her or his assistants make have a profound impact on workplace culture and morale. Add to that the kinds of executive orders the governor gives, like capping agencies at a certain FTE level or freezing changes to administrative code and you can start to see how a single person can have such a profound impact on work culture.

    Agency director management style can influence culture in more subtle & insidious ways. For example, appointed directors can stifle innovation and harm morale by instructing staff to clear all decisions with them before proceeding. Even worse, appointees may tell staff to halt action until he or she "hears back from the governor's office"...  resulting in long delays or even a complete lack of progress.

    When there’s a change in the governor, as there will be in about 30 days, it’s a real opportunity for cultural change.

    Many persons that work in various sectors of public health in private, nonprofit, or among other levels of government will be looking forward to potential changes in the coming work environment and may be attracted to serve in the new administration if they believe the incoming governor better appreciates the importance of evidence-based public health practice and improves morale by creating a healthier agency culture.

    Many people are likely looking forward to a cultural renaissance in Arizona state agencies and will be looking forward to working with the new administration.

    Some folks who might not have considered working for the ADHS over the last few years might be willing to give the agency a 2nd look in the coming months. I expect interest in (and competition for) positions at ADHS to pick up once the governor is sworn in and new leadership is selected. Why not get in on the ground floor?

    On one hand, it’s a shame that there are nearly 100 open positions at ADHS these days, but on the other hand – those vacant positions represent opportunities for folks to join the new team early in the administration.

    A quick review of open positions on the AZ State Jobs website reveals openings for epidemiologists, emergency medical servicers staff, newborn screening positions, maternal health (PRAMS) jobs, laboratory and behavioral health tech’s, a tribal liaison, several positions in licensing and compliance, vaccine coordinators, opioid prevention, biomedical research, even the agency director.

    You get the idea…  there are many open positions that many of you may be interested in exploring in anticipation of the cultural changes that’ll be coming to state government in the coming months. Now is a good tome to explore the possibilities.

    You can start your search at this link – the AZ State Jobs Website.

    Submit Your Resume to the Hobbs Administration Resume Bank to be Considered for a Leadership Post in the Administration


    Arizona Child Fatality Review Program: 29th Annual Report 

    Back in the mid 1990’s the AZ State Legislature established the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program to evaluate every child death and provide evidence-based policy recommendations to prevent child deaths.

    Over the years many policy and operational interventions came out of these reports, from safe sleep to new seat belt laws for kids. The goal of each year’s report by conducting a comprehensive review of all child deaths and make policy recommendations to prevent as many as possible.

    Last year's report found that firearm deaths increased 41% over the previous year, while child death rates were 250% higher than the national average (likely due to the lack of mitigation measures implemented by soon to be former governor Ducey and former director Christ. 

    View the the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program 29th Annual Report

    The Arizona Child Fatality Review Program’s goal is to reduce child deaths in Arizona by conducting a comprehensive review of all child deaths to determine what steps could have been taken, if any, to prevent each child’s death.

    In 2021, 863 children died in Arizona, an increase from 838 deaths in 2020. Fourth-eight percent (48%) of the 863 deaths were preventable. The three most common causes of preventable death were motor vehicle crashes, firearm injuries, and suffocation. Fifty-six (56) children died from a firearm injury (100% of these deaths were determined to be preventable).

    In 43% of the preventable deaths, substance use was a contributing factor, and in 33% of these deaths, poverty was a risk factor. There were 44 suicide deaths in 2021. In 68% of these deaths, recent warning signs for suicide were the most common risk factor, and 17 suicide deaths were due to firearm injury. 

    Prematurity was the most common cause of death for neonates (infants less than 28 days old) while suffocation was the common cause of death among infants 28 days to less than 1 year of age. Drowning was the most common cause of death in children 1-4 years of age as 68% of the 44 drowning deaths occurred in this age group.

    There were 65 SUIDs in 2021. An unsafe sleep environment was a factor in 95% of these deaths and bedsharing in 58% of the deaths.

    Arizona’s abuse/neglect mortality rate increased 36% from 5.8 in 2020 to 7.9 in 2021. Of the 128 children who died in 2021 from abuse/neglect, substance use was a contributing factor in 59% of the deaths, and the child’s families had prior involvement with a CPS agency in 46% of the deaths.

    Importantly, the report proposes several evidence-based interventions that should be implemented that would reduce preventable childhood deaths. Those recommendations are laid out on pages 90-99 of the Arizona Child Fatality Review Program | Twenty-Ninth Annual Report.

    Intervention recommendations are proposed for preventing abuse & neglect, COVID-19, drowning, firearm injuries, car crashes, prematurity, substance use, SIDS, and suicide.

    We expect this year's Child Fatality Review Program report to be more infuential in informing public policy as the incoming governor is more receptive to prioritizing evidence-based public health policy & practice than the outgoing administration.


    AzPHA Firearm Injust & Death Surveillance Report Coming in January

    Report to Include a Policy Intervention Evidence Review

    The AZPHA Board of Directors met in early 2022 for a strategic planning session. One of the outcomes from the session was to set longer term public health policy priorities for AZPHA to work on. 

    Among those priorities was a focus on prevention of deaths from firearm injuries and deaths. Our workplan for that priority started with pulling together a public health surveillance report of firearm injuries and deaths in Arizona and a literature review of evidence-based interventions (no such surveillance report has been produced by ADHS during the Ducey administration - leaving an 8-year gap in surveillance evidence).

    We expect our report to be published in mid-January. In the mean-time we will be presenting snippets from the report in these weekly policy updates.

    A huge shout out to our authors for the report, Julia Jackman &  Allan Williams, who have put in countless hours preparing our report!

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About the Association

Established in 1994, the Arizona Rural Health Association, Inc. (AzRHA) serves as an independent organization after serving as the Advisory Committee of the Arizona Center for Rural Health for many years. 

Learn more about the association here

Contact Us

Arizona Rural Health Association
55 Lake Havasu City South, Ste. F271
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403

Phone: (928) 222-2289

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