BRTA 20th Anniversary & National Rural Health Day Celebration

On November 15, 2023, regional leaders of rural health services convened to commemorate the 20th anniversary of BRTA and to celebrate National Rural Health Day. This in-person event was filled with excitement, community, and appreciation for our rural health heroes for their dedication and hard work in improving healthcare in rural areas.

Elizabeth “Liz” Martin, MHA, President of VCU Tappahannock and BRTA Chair for the last 20 years was awarded the inaugural Rural Health Champion Award. Liz is appreciated for her vision, leadership, advocacy, stewardship and long-standing commitment which created and sustained BRTA over the last 20 years.
Donna Ditman Hale, MHA, CTC. Executive Director, Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) was also recognized. Under the leadership of Donna, BRTA has been awarded 16 grants and received over $15 million dollars in fundings. This funding has allowed for our partners to provide school-based treatment, opioid prevention
treatment and recovery services, behavioral health services, mobile integrated community paramedicine, remote patient monitoring, outreach, telehealth services, workforce initiatives, establish a new consortium of partners on the Eastern Shore, and many more impactful activities. Under Donna’s leadership BRTA was named by HRSA a national Rural Health Community Champion. Her leadership and guidance have been invaluable to us all. Donna will be retiring December 31, 2023.

Mary Ochsner, LPC, CRC, BC-TMH was recognized. She is currently the Network Director for the Eastern Shore Telehealth Consortium and will be the upcoming Executive Director for BRTA as of January 1, 2024. Ms. Ochsner is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certfied Rehabilitatve Counselor, and a Board Certified Telemental Health provider with 23 years of human services experience. Ms. Ochsner has been with BRTA since September of 2020, as the Network Director for the Eastern Shore Telehealth Consortium. BRTA is excited to have Ms. Ochsner carry on the wonderful work being done at BRTA.

Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) is a non-profit telehealth network based in Tappahannock, VA, serving rural Eastern Virginia communities including the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, and Eastern Shore. BRTA’s mission is to improve access to health services, engage patients as partners, reduce professional isolation among healthcare providers, and enhance the healthcare workforce through telehealth initiatives. Since 2012, BRTA has successfully expanded medical care access for rural populations using telehealth technologies, enabling remote consultations with urban-based specialists. If you are interested in learning more about BRTA please visit our website at

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