North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education (NAPHE) has been an important part of the community since March 1997. Recently the NAPHE Board of Directors decided to make some changes that will realign the organization with their original mission. NAPHE is an original member of the Newton County Hometown Health coalition.

During the North Arkansas Regional Medical Center Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, June 23, Vince Leist, president/CEO, reported on the partnership with the college.

Leist said after the board meeting, “The college and the hospital are the main financial contributors to this organization and we felt like the mission was important enough to restructure and ‘push restart’ to keep the spirit of the organization intact.”

North Arkansas College president Randy Esters said, “We strongly believe in NAPHE’s mission and want to keep the organization viable. The direct financial support required from the college and hospital has gotten substantial over the past few years, and we have to consider the missions of our institutions — especially when our individual budgets get slashed the way they have this year. The changes NAPHE is making will preserve their mission and give the organization an opportunity to adapt to a rapidly changing community health landscape.”

Leist said at the meeting, “Last month I reported that we are working to restructure the partnership with North Arkansas College. We met with the board of NAPHE. We have determined to restructure the organization and to redistribute some of the responsibility of the organization to the college and hospital and to maintain its missions, values and service to the community. There will be a leadership restructuring within that organization and the NAPHE board will take some of that organization, perhaps even a management level for a short time so we can make sure we are serving the community. For the financials of that organization we are working very hard to make it a self-sustained organization so the college or the hospital does not have significant contributions. We believe this is fully obtainable. NAPHE remains intact and serves the community. Our partnership with the college is very strong.”

Leist reminded the board the NAPHE board is made up of equal members from the hospital, college and community.

“The NAPHE board of directors agreed it was important to be refocused on the original mission of the organization,” Leist said. “We plan to provide support with existing hospital and college staff members.”

Leist wanted to reassure the community, “There is nothing negative about this. We are renewing NAPHE to their original purpose.”

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