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Michelle Rathman is the founder of Impact! Communications based in Geneva, Illinois. She started her business in 1989 as a Chicago-area public relations, advertising, and marketing firm. The company represented clients from a variety of industries and provided high-level PR services. This included booking published authors on national television shows, like the Oprah Winfrey Show.
A stage 3 cancer diagnosis in 1996 and the ensuing successful battle with the disease, provided her first-hand experience with the healthcare system. This generated a desire to change the focus of her business on improving healthcare.
Since that time, Michelle has worked with medical organizations across the country, including Rural Health Clinics, State Offices of Rural Health, and Critical Access Hospitals (CAH). Her company has designed, structured, and facilitated hundreds of strategic partnerships and alliances between hospitals and their stakeholders.
Michelle’s work in rural healthcare led to an invitation to become the third host of the Rural Matters podcast. This podcast covers issues in rural health, education, and economic development, bringing in guests who are immersed in improving outcomes for rural communities.
In this episode of the Rural Business Show, Michelle Rathman talks about her journey and why she is so passionate about rural areas. She discusses how her battle with cancer led to deep soul searching and the life-changing decision to change direction. We talk about why some rural hospitals are doing well, while others are struggling or closing and how the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges to rural areas.
We discuss whether policymakers really understand the needs in rural communities and how she works to push policy decisions that close disparities.
Finally, Michelle shares advice on how to be successful in a rural business setting.