Oregon Rural Health Conference Honors Outstanding Health Care Workers

10/26/04    Portland, Ore.

The 21st Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference, "A Quarter-Century of Service: Celebrating Our Past ... Navigating our Future," recently honored the 25th anniversary of the Oregon Office of Rural Health and presented awards to community health care providers

Karen Whitaker, Oregon Health & Science University vice provost and director of the Oregon Office of Rural Health, and Paul McGinnis, director of field services for the Office of Rural Health, gave special recognition to Portland Mayor Vera Katz and OHSU President Peter Kohler, M.D., for their efforts to bring health care to Oregon rural communities.

The Rinehart Clinic, Wheeler, Ore., was honored with three awards: Outstanding Rural Health Practice; Outstanding Rural Health Program award for their Prescription Assistance Project; and Outstanding Contribution to Rural Health Programs award, received by staff member Loretta Woodward, manager of the Prescription Assistance Project.

Helen Bellanca, M.D., of La Clinica del Carino in Hood River, earned the Rural Health Practitioner of the Year award. Barbara Dougherty, prevention coordinator, Lincoln County Health and Human Services, received the Outstanding Achievement in Community Education award.

The Dutch Reinschmidt Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health Education was presented to John Saultz, M.D., for his continued dedication to mentoring and educating students, residents, faculty and community physicians in rural Oregon. Saultz is assistant dean and chairman of the Department of Family Medicine, OHSU School of Medicine; and director of the Oregon Area Health Education Centers Program.

This year's conference held in Portland, was sponsored by the Office of Rural Health, the OHSU Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network and the OHSU Area Health Education Centers. This collaboration drew some prestigious speakers, including Larry Green, Dr.P.H., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussing the role of participatory research in medical practice. Gilliam County judge Laura Pryor relayed the history of the formation of Oregon's new Office of Rural Policy. State Sen. Ted Ferrioli from John Day, concluded the conference with a talk on topics for the upcoming 2005 legislative session.

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