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New NRCHS director begins duties

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WORTHINGTON -- Just more than a week into his new job as director of Nobles-Rock Community Health Services, Brad Meyer is growing familiar with the services offered by the agency and getting to know the staff.

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Meyer, a native of Cherokee, Iowa, began his duties with NRCHS Dec. 4, filling a position that had been vacant for nearly two years. He will oversee nearly 30 employees who work between the Worthington and Luverne offices.

Prior to his move to Worthington in late November, Meyer worked as the primary care clinic director for Public Health Care Inc., of Des Moines. In that position, he oversaw staff that included pediatricians, general internists, family practice physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nursing staff and translators. The federally qualified community health center served patients who, for the most part, were either uninsured or underinsured.

Meyer said the position with NRCHS "seemed like a very good fit for me," adding that he was looking for a job that brought him closer to his northwest Iowa roots.

A graduate of Correctionville (Iowa) High School, Meyer joined the Army National Guard with plans to pursue a career in law enforcement -- following in the footsteps of several of his Iowa and Nebraska relatives. Those plans changed, however, while studying for his undergraduate degree in criminal justice at Bellevue University in Nebraska.

"I was working as a residential treatment counselor in the Boys and Girls Home in Sioux City," he said. "I knew that I wanted to be in a profession where I was helping people, but I didn't think law enforcement was it."

After earning his undergraduate degree, Meyer joined a volunteer fire department and eventually became an EMT. That experience grew into a job as the emergency services director in Hawarden, Iowa, where he was paid to complete paramedic schooling. Four years later and at a crossroads in his career, Meyer said he had to choose between earning his master's degree or going into nursing. He returned to Bellevue University for the master's degree, which he earned in health care administration.

"It was kind of a winding, twisting road that got me to where I am today," he said.

Meyer doesn't have any "big plans" for changes in the way NRCHS operates, although he said he will monitor how the agency can best serve its patients and the community. Already, he foresees work needed with how the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program is operated, such as finding more space and accommodating the growing needs of the program.

"Our WIC clinic continues to exceed the resources we have," he said. "We have a growing number of people signing up every month for WIC services."

Additionally, Meyer said he'd like to see more services provided in the maternal child health program as well as others administered by NRCHS.

"There are other opportunities down the road that I feel would be very beneficial for our communities, if we can get the funding for it," he added.

During the past two years, in the absence of an administrator, the agency went to a team leader approach, which Meyer said is effective and will remain in place.

"I used that (concept) in Des Moines, and it worked very well," he said. "It's impossible for me to know what everyone is doing and keep track of everyone. The team leaders will help me in that aspect."

As director of public health for two counties, Meyer said he plans to have dedicated time in Rock County, although a majority of his schedule will be out of the Worthington office.

"As soon as space is available for me, I will be spending Tuesdays in Rock County and an afternoon or a couple of half days over there as well," Meyer said. "My goal is to make sure they feel represented."

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Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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