Watson Named Executive Director Fellow for Rural Health Association of Arkansas

Camille Watson has been selected to serve as the Executive Director Fellow for the Rural Health Association of Arkansas for the 2022-23 academic year.

Watson, who recently completed her first year at the Clinton School of Public Service, will be responsible for executing and evaluating assigned grant programs, projects, and deliverables according to RHAA’s strategic plan and predetermined timelines and budgets. The fellowship will also serve as her Capstone, the third of the Clinton School’s three major field service projects.

“My driving force to pursue a master’s degree in public service is my passion for rural healthcare and rural healthcare policy, with the desire to obtain a career in the area,” Watson said. “This fellowship is geared towards health programs, but also it serves the community where I grew up, rural Arkansas.”

Watson will work with Frazier Edwards, RHAA President.

“We are excited to have Ms. Watson join alongside us in our organization aimed to help advance rural health in Arkansas,” said Edwards, who was a founding board member of the RHAA and previously served as its Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development.

“She brings energy, firsthand experience of collaborating in rural health initiatives in the Delta, and most importantly … a passion for accomplishing our respective mission,” Edwards said. “She will be a great asset, and I’m looking forward to seeing the great things that I know she’ll be able to accomplish.”

In addition to his work with RHAA, Edwards spent 14 years as the Executive Director of the Arkansas Osteopathic Medical Association and served as Chair for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute’s (WRI) Rural Health COMMITTee. He is a founding partner of the OneHealth Education Group, which is partnering with Lyon College to develop Arkansas’s first Colleges of Dental Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

“I come from a strong, multi-generational family that has dedicated their lives to public service, with significant contributions to the fields of healthcare and the judicial system in Arkansas, Louisiana and beyond,” Watson said. “From early childhood, I have been encouraged to find the intersection where interest, passion, and service meet. In middle school, I became interested in learning more about healthcare – specifically barriers to healthcare equality. This turned into the desire to pursue a career in healthcare policy, targeted towards the rural communities.”

A native of Lake Village, Ark., Watson’s experience with rural healthcare includes multiple years of work with the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership. Working with ARHP, Watson conducted research and collected data for multiple grants, assisted with the facilitation and organization of community health needs assessments, and co-directed the Health Resources and Services Administration Rural Health Opioid Program.

Watson’s experience with the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership taught her about the unique barriers that rural hospitals and health clinics face, she said, including smaller budgets, higher operating costs, challenges with recruitment and retention, serving populations that are more vulnerable to chronic conditions, disparities of health access to racial and ethnic minorities, and navigating continuous change within the healthcare system.

“For now, I am just excited to learn from the incredible team at RHAA while growing my knowledge on rural healthcare,” Watson said.

Watson’s first year at the Clinton School of Public Service included a team-based Practicum project with the Little Rock Congregations Study, an ongoing research project based at UA Little Rock focused on learning about the effects of faith-based engagement in communities.

Currently, Watson is completing her International Public Service Project with Syrian Emergency Task Force, a nonprofit with offices in Washington, D.C. and Little Rock that aims to end violence against Syrian civilians. Watson’s work includes developing a sustainable, long-term version of the organization’s Key Witness Fund, an initiative supporting key witnesses of war crimes in Syria.



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