Alexander Cruz Martinez

My name is Alexander Cruz Martinez and I am a Sophomore at Senior High. I interviewed George Clow, who works in the EMS section of the Red Lodge Fire Rescue organization.
*Alexander also attends the Billings Career Center. Him and his fellow students raised $250 for the Center!

For George Clow, the biggest challenge of working in the rural community is that they are primarily a volunteer organization and it is hard to find skilled volunteers.


“One of the big challenges we have is making sure we have enough volunteers to cover 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 a year” says Clow. “One of the biggest challenges we have is being sure that we not only have enough people to staff those calls, but we count on our volunteers to have the skill sets to be able to deal with any type of medical emergency that they are going to find” said Clow. The tourists also can be challenging. More tourists can equal more accidents. “We have ski mountain, Beartooth Pass, and a number of things that draw tourists to visit and as a result we have a lot of ambulance calls, medical as well as trauma” says Clow.


They have about three full time paramedics to respond to the city of Red Lodge. Another challenge is the mountainous region. It is challenging to respond to people that are lost or injured in the woods or mountains.


Mr. Clow also said “I think what we all get out of it is really that sense of really helping people, you are doing something that nobody else can do,” says Clow, “People I work with I know we all are looking to help somebody.” They receive a lot of thank you cards and cookies and gifts from families and relatives. That’s one of the best parts of the job.


Congratulations, Alexander! And thank you Mr. Clow for all your hard work and dedication to the Red Lodge Fire Rescue Organization.






national rural health day

Want a chance to win money for your school AND for yourself?

Help Us Celebrate Rural Montana Healthcare Careers!

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural sets aside the third Thursday of every November – November 20 in 2014 – to celebrate National Rural Health Day. National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” by honoring the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit of that prevails in rural America. It also gives us a chance to bring to light the unique healthcare challenges that rural citizens face – and showcase the efforts of rural healthcare workers.
The Montana Office of Rural Health & Area Health Education Center wants to help raise money for your school, recognize healthcare workers in your community and give you a chance to explore healthcare careers!
Follow the directions below to win money for your school and recognize a healthcare professional in your community!


  1. Identity a local healthcare professional you want to recognize
  2. Snap a photo of them in their working environment
  3. Ask them the following questions:
    • what are the challenges of working in a rural community?
    • what are the benefits of working in a rural community?
  4. Record their answers
  5. Submit your photo and answers via email
    • Make sure to include the healthcare professional’s name and organization they work for
    • Include your name, school, and grade level
    • And don’t forget to tell us what career path you are most interested in!
Examples of professional healthcare workers include (but are not limited to): nurses, certified nursing assistants, resident assistants, dentists, social workers, counselors, doctors, dentists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, chiropractors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, optometrists, dietitians, radiology technicians, emergency medical technicians, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, dental hygienists, and so much more!


A submission will earn your school $25!
Additionally, each submission will be placed into our final drawing, where one lucky contestant will win a $25 Amazon gift card of their own!
*We encourage all students to participate, however each school can only earn $25 overall

How to Enter

Any Montana high school student may participate in this event. Please email completed submissions to
If you would not like us to post your submission on our website, please indicate that in the email.


Although National Rural Health Day in November 20th, our office will continue to celebrate all month long!
Our deadline for this contest is Friday, December 5th. Any submissions after December 5th will not receive funds or be placed into our drawing.

 We look forward to your submission!

Rural Health and Wellness Summer Photo Contest 2014!

The Mgardem

What is the Rural Health and Wellness Summer Photo Contest?

The MontanaRHI is holding its first Summer Photo Contest to give you, and your community, an opportunity to visually share how you are staying healthy this summer. Wellness is the key theme, which encompasses (but not limited to) components like nutrition and physical activity. So, make sure to snap a photo as you tend to your garden or while you are out enjoying our Montana summer!

Contest Details:

Our Summer Photo Contest has two categories: Individual and Community. Individuals are encouraged to submit photo’s that are specific to their personal healthy behaviors, and community members are asked to share with us what their community is doing that fosters local health and wellness. Please submit your Individual and Community photos with a title and paragraph explaining the details of your photo. Location of where the photo was taken must be included in the paragraph. Each photo will also be submitted for our annual Rural Health Photo Contest, which honors National Rural Health Day on November 21.

Contest Deadline and Eligibility:

For the months of June, July and August, we will pick both a Community and Individual winner. At the very end of the contest, a Community and Individual grand prize award will also be given. Submissions of photos for the monthly contest will be accepted until the last day of each summer month – Monday, June 30, Thursday, July 31 and Sunday, August 31. Throughout the three months, all submitted photos will be eligible for the grand prize award. Citizens within Montana are eligible to enter the contest.  Each photo is one submission; however, you may submit as many photos as you would like. Employees of the Area Health Education Center /Montana Office of Rural Health are not eligible participants for this contest.


For the months of June, July and August, one Individual and one Community winner will be awarded a $25 Amazon gift card. One Individual photo and one Community photo will additionally be chosen for a $100 Amazon gift card grand prize award. The winners will be announced the following week of each monthly deadline.


Please email your rural health photos and descriptions to the Montana Rural Health Initiative at Participants can also post their submissions on Montana’s Rural Health Initiative Facebook page at Please indicate if RHI has permission to share your story on our social media outlets.


A panel of judges from the Montana Office of Rural Health will critique the photos based on creativity and how well they encompass healthy living. Each submission will be posted on our Facebook page, and our Instagram account (Montana RHI), where followers will be encouraged to ‘like’ their favorite post. Based off the number of ‘likes’ each photo receives and the input from our judges, a winning photo will be selected. A winning photo will capture the meaning of rural Montana health and wellness in a totally unique way. Need some inspiration or ideas? Check out our photo submissions from last year’s National Rural Health Day Photo Contest here!

The Montana Arthritis Program Mini-Grant Opportunity


Arthritis consists of a collection of over 100 different diseases and is the leading cause of disability in the United States and one of the most common chronic diseases.  In 2009, 201,000 (28%) Montanans over the age of 18 reported ever being diagnosed with arthritis. Of those living with arthritis, 48% reported being limited in their usual activities because of joint symptoms. Help is here! The Montana Arthritis Program (MAP) is a new Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded program located at the State Health Department.  In order to reduce the burden of arthritis in Montana, the MAP, in collaboration with the Arthritis Foundation’s (AF) Montana office will work to recruit sites to implement and deliver two arthritis appropriate interventions. Over a 5 year period, the goal of the MAP is to increase outreach to 14,625 Montanans.  These two interventions are physical activity programs which have been proven to reduce pain, improve function, mood and quality of life for adults with arthritis.  These physical activity interventions include the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP) and the Walk with Ease Program (WWE).  The AFEP covers a variety of range-of-motion and endurance-building activities, relaxation techniques and health education topics.  The WWE has been shown to reduce pain, increase balance and strength and improve overall balance by motivating people to get into shape and feel as though they can walk safely and comfortably. There is more information about each program on the first page of the application.
There will be a mini-grant opportunity for sites that are interested in delivering these interventions.  Each site may receive up to $5,000 in the first year of implementation (ending June 30, 2015) to assist the site in getting up and running. If a site is chosen to receive funding there will be several deliverables they are responsible for completing such as: attending a training to become an instructor, completing teaching hours to become a certified instructor for the program they are implementing, data collection and reporting, participant recruitment and monthly calls.  The MAP will provide each site with all of the relevant materials, training and technical assistance to successfully implement their chosen program intervention. 
There will be an informative call about this mini-grant opportunity on Monday June 9, 2014 at , 10-11 a.m. and Thursday, June 12, 2014, 2-3 p.m.  If you are interested, please contact Kim Weisert at (406) 444-0959 or   Below are the links for the mini-grant application, and an example.

The 2014 Excellence in Worksite Health Award Cycle Opens January 13, 2014!

MWHPC logo jpeg

The Montana Worksite Health Promotion Coalition (MWHPC) has sponsored the Excellence in Worksite Health Awards since 2007. These awards recognize businesses, schools, and other organizations whose wellness programs meet a certain wellness criteria. The awards are broken down into levels, Bronze, Sliver and Gold. Award categories build on one another with the Bronze Award going to a more basic wellness program and the Gold Award going to more comprehensive wellness initiatives. To learn more about these awards, the application process, the criteria, or to view the 2012 winners please visit the MWHPC website. If your worksite has a great wellness program or you know of an organization with a strong wellness program, we encourage you to apply for this wonderful award!

The RHI is hosting 2 National Rural Health Day Contests this year!


RHI’s Rural Health Success Story Contest

What is the Rural Health Success Story Contest? The Montana RHI is holding a National Rural Health Day Success Story Contest to give you an opportunity to share a story about how rural health has successfully helped a community in Montana.

Contest Deadline and Eligibility: Submissions of stories will be accepted until 5:00 pm (MST) on Monday, November 18, 2013.  Citizens within Montana are eligible to enter the contest.  Each story is one submission; however, you may submit as many stories as you would like. Prizes: The top three success story winners will be awarded a $50 Amazon gift card.  The winners will be announced on National Rural Health Day: November 21, 2013. Judging: A panel of judges from the Montana Office of Rural Health will critique the stories based on creativity and how well they describe success in rural health.  A winning story will focus on a rural, particularly a frontier, location which has collaborated with community partners to help improve the health of those involved.  We would like to know the type of program, who the program impacts, and how health problems were identified and addressed.

RHI’s Rural Health Photo Contest

What is the Rural Health Photo Contest? The Montana RHI is holding its first National Rural Health Day Photo Contest to give you an opportunity to share, visually, what rural health means to you. Please submit your photo with a title and caption including the location of where the photo was taken. Contest Deadline and Eligibility: Submissions of photos will be accepted until 12:00 pm (MST) on Wednesday, November 20, 2013. Citizens within Montana are eligible to enter the contest. Each photo is one submission; however, you may submit as many photos as you would like. Prizes: The top three photo contest winners will be awarded a $25 Amazon gift card. The winners will be announced on National Rural Health Day: November 21, 2013. Judging: A panel of judges from the Montana Office of Rural Health will critique the photos based on creativity and how well they capture rural health in Montana. A winning photo will illuminate the meaning of rural health in Montana in a totally unique way. Need some inspiration or ideas? Check out the Centers for Rural Health National Rural Health Day Photo Contest submissions from 2011 here. Submission instructions for both contests: Please email your rural success stories or photos to the Montana Rural Health Initiative at  Please indicate if RHI has permission to share your story on our website (

Prevention Means Business Infographic from the Prevention Institute

phi-prevention-means-business (1)

Nominate someone for a Health Hero Award!

ERM logo

AFHK MontanaERM and AFHK would like to recognize individuals and/or public and private organizations that go above and beyond their job duties to promote health in Montana through nutrition and physical activity. If you know someone deserving such recognition, please submit a nomination describing how the nominee has made a noteworthy contribution to their organization, local community, or the state as a whole. Letters of nomination should include specific activities that warrant the award.

Please consider the following when making a nomination:

  • Worked on a policy, program, project, or promotion to encourage healthy nutrition and physical activity choices and behaviors including but not limited to:
    • Increasing access to healthy food choices or nutrition program participation
    • Alleviating or decreasing hunger in the community
    • Increasing access to physical activity for kids, families, or communities
    • Advocating for workplace changes to support healthy choices
  • Went beyond the normal requirements of the job
  • Employed a creative or innovative method to overcome a problem
  • Maximized limited resources

Deadline: Monday, July 10, 2013

ERM and AFHK will announce the awards in August and present the awards at Build a Stronger Montana: End Childhood Hunger Conference September 23-24 at Montana State University in Bozeman (

Thank you for taking the time to recognize those who work to improve health in our state. Please return the  ERM AFHK Award Nomination Form May 2013 via email, fax, or mail to the contact information below:

Julie Middleton, Awards Committee Chair

Fax: (406) 994-5653 l Phone: (406) 994-5310

PO Box 170520

Bozeman, MT 59717


    Build a Stronger Montana: End Childhood HungerMontana End Childhood Hunger logo

        September 23-24, 2013 at Montana State University, Bozeman

This Summit will:

  • Highlight the experiences hungry children deal with in the Montana
  • Showcase the Best Practices that are working to help hungry children
  • Demonstrate pathways to ending child hungry in the community
  • Promote community groups to identify their own needs, provide tools and help   them develop plans for implementation in their towns, cities and counties.
  • Enhance networking between participants across social, cultural and economic   borders
  • Show the connection between children’s health and their futures as well as the economic viability of the state and communities

Approximately 200-250 stakeholders from diverse public and private sectors will gather to learn about childhood hunger in Montana through pre-conference site visits, excellent presentations, networking, and round table discussions. An opening keynote will highlight the purpose of the Summit, provide background information about hunger in Montana and the United States, and motivate Summit participants to learn strategies to bring back to their own Montana communities.

Farm to Cafeteria Programs Across Montana


The Farm to Cafeteria Network, a project of NCAT, recently completed a survey of 35 institutions in Montana including healthcare facilities, correctional facilities, K-12 schools, and colleges. Check out the great map for information on where and how the institutions are utilizing local food systems.