Tennessee hospital, CEO receive AHA's rural leadership award

Bolivar (Tenn.) General Hospital and its CEO Ruby Kirby have received the American Hospital Association's Rural Hospital Leadership Team Award. 

The award is given annually to small or rural hospital leaders who spearhead change and innovation within their hospitals and communities, according to a Feb. 1 news release shared with Becker's

Ms. Kirby — who is also the CEO of Camden (Tenn.) General Hospital and chair of the Hardeman County Health Council — led a community health needs assessment which found many residents at risk for chronic and acute health conditions, including congestive heart failure. With the help of community partners, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and a CDC grant, she developed a plan to increase access to healthy foods and exercise options. Implementation included a new playground, grocery store and food distribution site. 

Within two years of implementation, the county's obesity rate dropped from 40 percent to 35 percent and 46 percent to 44 percent among students. 

Ms. Kirby will receive the award at the AHA Rural Health Care Leadership Conference later this month. 

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