The Board of Directors Welcomes Julie Arel as Executive Director
Julie Arel, a resident of Starksboro, VT, brings a uniquely "rural" approach to the task of moving the RoundTable forward. For the past three years she has served as Executive Director of the Open Door Clinic, a free clinic for the uninsured in Addison County, VT. Before that she was Executive Director of Parent to Parent of Vermont/Vermont Family Network, Williston, an organization that provides support and information for parents of children with special needs.
Commenting on the appointment, RoundTable President Nancy DuMont said, "Julie was the unanimous choice of the Executive Committee, at the conclusion of the final interviews held in November. She is skilled in each of the functional areas of this very demanding position, and her strengths in grant writing, board management and big picture thinking, in particular, will stand her in good stead as our new Executive Director. One of her references described her as 'a rarity in the non-profit world,' and another said 'she's a clear thinker, can prioritize, and is wicked smart'!"
Nancy concluded, "After spending a few hours with Julie, I would have to say these descriptions fit her to a T. I look forward to working with her as we jump feet first into the New Year!"
Here are some of Julie's thoughts on her new position: In her view, the challenges faced across the RoundTable's six-state area mirror those of Addison County, with its small, struggling rural hospital and difficulty in attracting primary care providers, including mental health providers and dentists. Although each rural community grapples with issues particular to its area, she points out that there is a commonality across the states; all are dealing with higher rates of uninsured, poverty and unemployment, and reduced access to primary care.
Based on her experience in her own community Julie is hopeful about the ability of rural people to work together and to find creative ways for small towns and rural areas to thrive. She says "it's that strong New England spirit I love."
Although Julie is excited to begin working with the RoundTable and to become more involved at the policy level, she acknowledges that it's hard to leave "direct care." In her clinic she could see immediately the impact of her efforts - helping people get health insurance, for instance. The "upside" for her, she said, will be the opportunity to make a difference on the macro level.
For a short time in her new position Julie will have transitional assistance from recently-retired Executive Director Marion Pawlek. She plans to travel to all six states over the next few months to meet the Directors of the State Offices of Rural Health and as many RoundTable members as possible, either in person or by phone. Vermont's Director John Olson has already set up a meeting for her.
Nowadays a committed Vermonter, Julie grew up in eastern Massachusetts and is a graduate of Smith College. She obtained dual master's degrees from Boston University in Public Health and Social Work. Early in her career, she worked with several organizations coordinating tobacco cessation programs.
Living in one of Vermont's most rural areas, Julie and her eight year old daughter Sophie enjoy skiing (both downhill and cross country), hiking, kayaking, and camping. Julie says she's eager to meet New Englanders in all the states and the islands.
You may contact Julie at this e-mail address: