National Rural Health Day!

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health sets aside the third Thursday of every November – November 15 of 2018 – 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. In honor of National Rural Health day, the Montana Office of Rural Health & Area Health Education Center is holding contests and awards to help raise awareness about the importance of rural health!


Dr. Frank Newman Rural Health Award Recipients

Dr. Newman represented the spirit of Montana in nearly 50 years of service to rural communities and healthcare in our state. In honor of National Rural Health Day, the following individuals are being recognized for their commitment to rural health:

Lifetime Achievement: Dick Brown, past president and CEO of the Montana Hospital Association
Dick Brown has served at the Montana Hospital Association since 1990, as a Senior Vice President, and most recently as President/CEO. Dick has served as a forceful advocate for Montana and for rural healthcare on a national and statewide level. He also developed new association programs that have contributed to quality, safety, education and cost-savings for MT Hospitals. Passion, commitment, dedication, tact, diplomacy, quiet persistence and optimism have characterized Dick’s tenure with MHA, earning him respect and friendship with healthcare professionals regionally and nationally.

Rural Health Leadership: Ned Vasquez, MD, Program Director, Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana
Dr. Ned Vasquez created the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana in 2009 with the specific mission to develop family physicians who are compassionate, clinically competent, and motivated to serve patients and communities in rural and underserved Montana. Dr. Vasquez has worked to ensure a continuous supply of family medicine physicians who are motivated to serve rural Montana.

Rural Health Education: Martin Teintze, PhD, Director, Montana WWAMI Medical Education Program at MSU
Dr. Teintze has served as Director of MT WWAMI since 2009. He has helped MT become recognized regionally and nationally in efforts toward rural undergraduate medical education. Dr. Teintze continues to teach Block 1: Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease courses. Through the course of his teaching career at MSU, Dr. Teintze has had a role in training innumberable Montana WWAMI physicians.

Rural Health Clinician: Sarah Howe-Cobb, Public Health Nurse, Augusta, Montana
Ms. Howe-Cobb has served as the sole public health nurse in Augusta, MT for more than 30 years. She offers services in school nursing, prenatal and infant care, wellness clinics, home visits, and outreach to nearby Hutterite colonies. She is committed to improving the health of the Augusta community well into the future.

We’re proud to recognize these award winners and, in the spirit of Frank Newman, their dedication to rural health.


National Rural Health Day Photo Contest Winners!

The National Rural Health Day Photo Contest is an opportunity for you to be creative, and show us what rural means to you! You may choose to do this by snapping a photo highlighting your favorite Montana pastimes or showcasing the beauty of your rural community!

Our winning photo, above, was taken by Jennifer Birkley near Circle, MT. Check out a video of all of our submissions here!

Letter of Support from Governor Steve Bullock

Thank you Governor Bullock for showing your support of Montanans and National Rural Health Day!

Host National Rural Health Day Activities for a Chance to Win $100!

The Montana Office of Rural Health invites health organizations, schools and rural communities to sponsor National Rural Health Day Activities to celebrate the power of rural and help transform this day into a movement!

Share photos and descriptions of the activities your organization sponsored for NRHD to be entered into a drawing for a $100.

Submit activities to  by November 20th! The winning organization will be announced on November 27th!

Ways to celebrate:

  • Host a Walk with a Doc and register the activity with NOSORH. Learn more here! 
  • Invite everyone in your organization to Take the Pledge! The Pledge to Partner was designed to help NOSORH strategically align with people like you who want to achieve higher performance and visibility, optimize our collective contributions, and realize complementary objectives that advance the rural health mission.
  • Display NRHD posters and spread the word on your organization’s social media accounts! use #powerofrural on all of your posts!
  • Host an employee appreciation luncheon
  • Have a community wide photo contest, health career interview contest or coloring contest!

For more ideas of how to celebrate check out

Update – National Rural Health Activity Winner: Richland County Communities in Action

The Montana Office of Rural Health invited health organizations, schools and rural communities to sponsor National Rural Health Day Activities to celebrate the power of rural and help transform this day into a movement! Participants were asked to share photos and descriptions of the activities their organization sponsored for NRHD to be entered into a drawing for $100.

Richland County Communities in Action has been in place for over a decade, working through Action Groups to address community needs and build a healthy community. This program and its Action Groups envision Richland County as being a healthy, clean and safe place for families and individuals to grow. 

Richland County Communities in Action’s description: “To celebrate National Rural Health Day this year Communities in Action decided to integrate an activity into the Richland County Strategic Planning Conference on November 13th. We wanted something that brought attention to rural health while also being interactive for the group. Our AmeriCorps members decided on a giant puzzle of Richland county, where each community member at the conference would get a piece, showing how we all make up our collective community. On the puzzle pieces we asked everyone to write or draw their answer to the question “What makes a healthy community?”. We purposefully left the instructions vague so that we would get a variety of responses. As the pieces were completed, we began hanging them up during the conference. In the end we got a beautiful mixture of what our community believes makes up our healthy rural community. We plan to get the poster laminated and hang it somewhere public for the community to see and cherish”.

Congratulations Richland County Communities in Action and thank you for your submission!!!

To learn more about Communities in Action, check out their website here!