Brownstown woman becomes officer on IRHA board


A Jackson County native recently was elected as the secretary of the board of the Indiana Rural Health Association.

As a managing advisor with Purdue Healthcare Advisors, Tara Hatfield of Brownstown works with Hoosier physicians and health care organizations to improve their quality of care delivery to patients, according to a news release from the association.

Although she works with clinicians all over the state, rural communities is where Hatfield, who grew up in Seymour, said her passion lies.

This passion for rural health is what led her to become a member of the association five years ago, and as her career has evolved, so has her role, Hatfield said.

She is now part of a 20-person board that helps guide the leadership of the association.

Don Kelso, the association’s executive director, said board members are accomplished professionals in their own career paths who give freely of their experience and time to provide a strong resource for the association and its membership.

The association with more than 3,000 members and 16 full-time staffers is the largest and most active among the 44 state rural health associations in the country, Kelso said.

The association works to improve the health and well-being of all rural Hoosiers by educating, collaborating and sharing best practices with all aspects of rural Hoosier life, he said.

This can mean working with health care providers, economic development organizations, faith-based institutions, civic and political leaders and schools along with broadband/internet providers.

Hatfield said the mission and people of IRHA are what make it such an invaluable resource to rural Indiana clinicians and hospitals.

“Education, advocacy and support are vital to everyone working in smaller communities, and that’s what IRHA strives to provide,” she said.

Rural communities in Indiana have experienced a steady decline in population. Quite often, the local health care provider, whether in the form of a hospital, rural health clinic, community health center or a physician’s office, remains a significant employer and resource for these rural communities.

For information about the association and its work, visit

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