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Kailyn Mock

Director of Montana Area Health Education Center and Office of Rural Health
(406) 994-7709
Room 306 Culbertson Hall

Kailyn is a Montana State University alumna, earning both a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Performance and a Master of Health Administration. Kailyn serves on Montana’s statewide Nursing Action Coalition, is the Immediate Past President of the Montana American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Chapter, and is a National Rural Health Association Rural Health Fellow.  In her free time, Kailyn enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and golden retriever, traveling our beautiful state, and watching college football!

Natalie Claiborne

Natalie Claiborne

Assistant Director of the Montana Office of Rural Health
(406) 994-6001
Room 302 Culbertson Hall

Natalie, as the Assistant Director of the Montana Office of Rural Health, brings nearly 15 years’ experience and working knowledge of rural health issues and has worked closely with rural communities and facilities to make a positive impact on rural health delivery. She provides overall grant management for the Montana Office of Rural Health and oversees implementation of hospital and clinic-based technical assistance programs and population health efforts. Natalie currently serves as President-Elect for the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH), was a National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Rural Health Fellow, and received the NOSORH Emerging Leader Award in 2011. Natalie earned her Bachelors of Science in Community Health Education from Montana State University and her Masters of Public Health from Oregon State University.

Cindra Stahl

Cindra Stahl

Assistant Director of Montana Area Health Education Center & Workforce
(406) 994-6499
Room 304 Culbertson Hall

Cindra works extensively on Healthcare Workforce issues, serving as facilitator for the Montana Healthcare Workforce Advisory Committee. She is also focused on educating, recruiting and retaining the HIT workforce in Montana, assisting rural and frontier facilities to meet meaningful use requirements. Previously, Cindra was Hospital Services Manager and Data Analyst at New Mexico Donor Services, the organ procurement organization for the state. She has also worked in health policy at the New Mexico Health Policy Commission, and as a legislative analyst for the New Mexico Senate. Cindra has an MBA and MS in Audiology from the University of New Mexico. She enjoys travelling the state of Montana with her husband. They intend to visit every microbrewery at least once; then start all over again.

Rachel Pearson

Rachel Norris

Assisant Director/Grants Administrator
Room 308 Culbertson Hall

Rachel grew up in a rural community in Washington State. She moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State University. In May of 2013, she received a Bachelor of Science in Business, Accounting. Her main interest is in governmental and non-profit accounting.  At AHEC and ORH, Rachel’s role is to manage the numerous grants and contracts that flow through the office. Rachel loves living in Bozeman with her husband and 2 dogs, and spends as much time as she can in the outdoors. Some of her favorite activities include backpacking, mountain biking, and hunting.

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Beth Ann Carter

Assistant Director/Behavioral Health Workforce
(406) 925-1261


Beth Ann is the Assistant Director for the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant. She previously was the Project Coordinator for the Montana Rural Allied Health Professions Training Program, which focused on the training and then the recruitment and retention of a quality allied health workforce within the state.  She also worked as the Allied Health and Dental Recruitment Coordinator for the South Central Montana AHEC for four years prior to that. As a rural Montana native, she understands the struggles that many small communities face with access to quality healthcare. Beth Ann holds a BA from California State University, Sacramento in Education with a minor in Human Development. She enjoys fishing, hiking and traveling with her family.


Michal Gilpin

Michal Gilpin has been with MT AHEC/ORH since July 2011. She has a long history with MSU starting in 1991 in the accounting office of the MSU Bookstore. Retirement from the Bookstore in 2006 opened the door to working with a grant funded program called Nutrition And Physical Activity Program. Taking care of the financial activity of the NAPA grant, which morphed into the MT AHEC/ORH department, made for a smooth transition for her to help with the accounting demands of MT AHEC/ORH. Working part time with this wonderful group affords Michal time to pursue outside interests which include both winter and summer outdoor activities. 
Cheryl McNicholas

Cheryl McNicholas

Cheryl joined the staff of MT AHEC/Office of Rural Health as an Accounting Analyst in April 2015. She received her B.S. in Education from the University of Nebraska in 1993. Cheryl has many years’ experience in bookkeeping, and originally started working on campus in 2006.  Her responsibilities include reconciling multiple accounts and performing various administrative duties. A native of rural Nebraska; her hobbies include skiing, hiking, biking, golf and music.

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Mandy Hedstrom

Statewide Program Manager - AHEC Scholars
(406) 994-7510
Room 303 Culbertson Hall

Mandy originally hails from Havre, MT. She graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelors of Science in Cell Biology & Neuroscience and shortly after earned a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from Creighton University. Mandy oversees the statewide AHEC Scholars program. She is also the lead on the office's outreach and communication efforts and assists with the Nursing initiatives.  In her free time, you can find her enjoying Montana's outdoors, running half marathons, or traveling to new places.
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Kayla Sanders

Project Coordinator
(406) 859-5022

Kayla is an alumna of Carroll College in Helena, earning her Bachelor’s in Communications and Public Relations with a minor in English Writing in 2006. She has a multi-sector background, working in higher education development and for both federal and state governments before entering the field of rural health. In 2018, Kayla was hired by Granite County Medical Center in Philipsburg to be the Project Director for a HRSA Network Planning Grant. She has been instrumental in creating the network, soliciting local input to ascertain the health disparities of Granite County, and creating a realistic plan of action to bridge these rural healthcare gaps. Through this process, the Healthy Granite County Network was created of which Kayla remains the volunteer Network Director. Currently, Kayla works for the Montana AHEC and Office of Rural Health assisting with their behavioral health initiatives. Kayla lives and works on a ranch with her husband and two small children outside of Philipsburg, MT. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and photography.

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Jake Kaminetzky

Research/Data Analyst
(406) 994-4403
Room 309 Culbertson Hall

Jake Kaminetzky grew up in Shoreline, WA and attended Montana State University, graduating with Full Honors in Political Science, Economics, and Liberal Studies with Minors in Mathematics and Statistics. He currently works as a data analyst and researcher for the office and enjoys hiking, reading, and making music.

Casey Ballard

Casey Ballard

Project Coordinator/Behavioral Health Workforce & Curriculum
Room 307 Culbertson Hall

Casey is originally from just outside Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated with her Bachelors in Exercise Science from the University of Tampa. Shortly after graduating, Casey found herself living in Denali, Alaska before making her way to Bozeman, MT. She gained experience supporting youth and families impacted with Cancer and later worked as a case manager helping families navigate mental health services. She later received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Denver. Her focus in graduate school was in health and wellness with an interest and passion for underserved communities impacted by the opioid crisis and the increased need for integrated behavioral health care . Casey now works as a project coordinator for behavioral health related grants. In her free time, you can find Casey on outdoor adventures with her husband and dog or inside baking.

Sara Jestrab

Project Coordinator/Hospital & Community Outreach
Room 301 Culbertson Hall

Sara grew up in rural Montana and graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences in 2012. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, she took a brief hiatus from school and worked for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. It was here that she was immersed and fell in love with public health practice. In 2020, Sara completed her Master of Public Health (MPH) at the University of Montana. Sara assists with the Office of Rural Health’s Community Health Service Development, which compliments her passion for improving access to quality health care in rural and frontier populations. Sara enjoys running, skiing, hiking, reading, and cooking with her family.


Grace Behrens

Project Coordinator
Room 305 Culbertson Hall

Grace grew up in Utah and graduated from Carroll College with a Bachelor’s in Public Health and Sociology. After graduating, Grace worked in disability advocacy throughout Southwestern Montana and grant evaluation in Colorado. She received a Master of Public Health – Health Systems, Management, and Policy from the Colorado School of Public Health with a focus on rural health and health equity. In her free time, you can find her hiking, fly fishing, or listening to a podcast.