Hilda R. Heady, a widely-respected expert and advocate for rural health and the health of Veterans in rural America, leads rural health research and policy efforts for Atlas Research as Chair of the Rural Health Research and Policy Group. For Atlas she serves as a subject matter expert on rural health workforce policies and strategies, rural Veterans, rural health care policy, and rural health services research. She is or has served as Project Lead on Rural Women Veterans Qualitative Research; Homeless Women Veterans Success Stories with the Department of Labor Women's Bureau; Hospice and Palliative Care Project with the National Rural Health Resource Center and the Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN) 23; Rural Homeless and Prevention of Homelessness Services for VISN 5, and the DC VA Medical Center. Her work includes supervising case managers working with homeless Veterans; supporting the National Veterans Caregiver Training Program with VA; leading the VA Collaboration with Rural Community Health Centers project including assessment of Veterans' dual use of both systems of health care; and program evaluation of the HRSA-funded Health Workforce Development Network in western Maryland. She also holds adjunct professor appointments with Georgetown University and West Virginia University.
Ms. Heady has spent 38 years working in the field of health care policy and administration, women's health, workforce development and community-based health professions training, and working with Veterans. She formerly served as Associate Vice President for Rural Health at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV, Executive Director of the West Virginia Rural Health Education Partnerships, and Program Director of the West Virginia Area Health Education Center. She was CEO of a 58-bed rural hospital and director of a birth center and provided content leadership on patient-centered care and cultural competence in these roles. She is also a former President of the National Rural Health Association and served in many leadership positions.
Ms. Heady speaks nationally regarding cultural competence in health care and policy, rural values and culture, rural Veterans' and health workforce issues. She also gives guest lectures, and manages relationships with leaders and stakeholders across various practice areas and health services research projects. In 2010-11 she served as guest editor for the Rural Veterans special issue of the Journal for Rural Social Sciences. She focuses on the growing health problems of Veterans, particularly new Veterans returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her expertise on these issues has led to invitations to provide congressional testimony on numerous occasions. In 2008, she was appointed to the national Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee (VRHAC), advising the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Ms. Heady holds a Master's degree in Social Work, the Exemplar Award by the National Association of Social Workers in 1992; and the Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health in 1996. She received the HRSA Associate Administrator's award in 2005 for outstanding achievement in expanding community based health professions training and the 2006 Lifetime achievement award in Rural Health by the National Rural Health Association.