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Pictured are Network Partners at the C4-Rural inaugural meeting held at the Arukah Institute in Princeton. L-to-R: Dr. Sarah B Scruggs (Project Director of C4-Rural), Stephanie Gustafson (Project Manager), Diana Rawlings, MPH (Project Coordinator), Linda Burt, MSN (St. Margaret's Health), Sara N Scruggs, LCSW (Clinical Coordinator), Ashley Holcman, LCPS (Gateway Services), Dawn Conerton (Northcentral Behavioral Health Systems), Michael Miroux, LPC (Gateway Services), Kerri Donahue, RN (St. Margaret's Health), and Angella Hughes, LCPC (Perry Memorial Hospital).

PRINCETON — Arukah Institute of Healing Inc. recently was chosen as one of 25 rural healthcare organizations across the nation, and the only organization in the State of Illinois, to receive a Rural Health Network Development Planning grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The purpose of the grant is to promote the planning and development of integrated healthcare networks; to expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of essential health care services; and to strengthen the rural health care system as a whole.

Joining Arukah in this effort, named C-4 Rural, (Collaborative Complementary and Conventional Care for Rural Populations) are Perry Memorial Hospital, St. Margaret’s Health, North Central Behavioral Health System and Open Doors Counseling/Gateway Services. An advisory Committee consisting of Dr. Helen Lavretsky and Dr. Peipei Ping both from UCLA School of Medicine, and Patricia Schou from Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network will aid in the strategic process.

Together partners will be working on strategies to increase access to mental health services by integrating evidence-based complementary healthcare services, in an effort to expand treatment options, improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and buy-in, and reduce costs.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for innovating behavioral healthcare in our area,” said Dr. Sarah B. Scruggs, Executive Director of Arukah and Project Director for C4-Rural. “The purpose of this effort is to bring all providers to the same table to discuss how we can integrate our services, develop patient-centered care plans, and best see patients all the way through to wellness.”

Scruggs continued: “Accessing mental health services in rural areas such as ours is often difficult. We want to streamline the process of getting help for patients; they should be able to receive services when they need them, without glaring barriers standing in their way. I am incredibly grateful for our Network Partners — current and future — who bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table; I look forward to breaking new ground with them over the next 12 months and beyond.”

The Arukah Institute of Healing Inc., is located in Princeton and serves the Bureau, Putnam and Marshall County areas. Learn more about C4-Rural at https://arukahinstitute.org/c4-rural

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