ORH Staff


Scott Ekblad

Scott Ekblad began at the Oregon Office of Rural Health in 1992, serving in different positions within the office before becoming Director in 2005.  Scott provides oversight for all ORH operations including direct supervision of managerial staff.  He ensures fulfillment of the statutory and grant-funded responsibilities of the office, including advocacy for rural health with state and federal policy makers.  Scott facilitates collaborative partnerships with organizations around the state to bring resources to rural Oregon and help fulfill OHSU’s statewide outreach mission.  Contact Scott regarding the ORH Blueprint for Rural Health in Oregon, ORH’s Apple A Day Rural Volunteer EMS Grant Program, the Rural Health Coordinating Council, or rural health policy matters.

Administrative Staff

Department Administrator

Linda Peppler

Linda Peppler has been employed at OHSU since 1977 and transferred from a position as residency coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine to join ORH in August 1989. At ORH, Linda oversees operations including human resources, payroll, budget and the administrative support team. Contact Linda for questions about the Rural Practitioners Insurance Subsidy Program, the annual Oregon Rural Health Conference and the Apple A Day Campaign Fundraiser.

Office Specialist

Lindsay Flick

Lindsay Flick joined the ORH team in 2014 after working in the Protocol and Events team at OHSU and getting her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She supports all ORH team members by scheduling meetings and travel, processing all travel reimbursements and procurement cards, and compiling data for special projects. Lindsay assists the director of ORH in coordinating the Apple A Day Individual and Agency Grant Program. If you would like to schedule a meeting with an ORH staff member or if you have questions about the Apple A Day Program, please contact Lindsay.

Administrative Coordinator

Eric Jordan

Eric Jordan provides IT and communications support for the office, including website design and strategy and mailing list administration.  He also determines eligibility for the Oregon Rural Practitioner and Oregon Rural Volunteer EMS Provider tax credit programs, and provides administrative support to the Rural Health Coordinating Council.  Contact Eric for information about the Oregon Rural Practitioner and Oregon Rural Volunteer EMS Provider tax credit programs.

Workforce Staff

Deputy Director

Robert Duehmig

Robert Duehmig has nearly 20 years of experience working in education and health policy at the state and national level.  As Deputy Director, he is responsible for overall office communication and the Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference.  In addition, he oversees the State Office of Rural Health Grant and the ORH Workforce Team, including provider incentives and recruitment and retention services.  Contact Robert if you have questions regarding the Oregon Rural Health Conference, state or federal policy relating to workforce and rural health or communication.

Program Manager — Incentive Programs

Hilary Henderson, MPA

Hilary Henderson joined ORH in 2013. Prior to this Hilary worked at the Oregon Primary Care Office as a Workforce Retention Specialist leading a grant focusing on the retention of National Health Service Corps providers in Oregon. At ORH, she manages five federal & state funded programs to provide loan repayment and loan forgiveness to qualifying health care providers and health care students.  She also coordinates the loan forgiveness and repayment programs to help match health care practitioner candidates with practice opportunities in rural and urban underserved communities. Please contact Hilary for information on these programs, eligibility criteria and how to utilize them.

Workforce Services Specialist

Julie Hoffer, MAT

Julie Hoffer joined ORH in 2012, with fourteen years of non-profit experience in community programs, communications and education. As ORH’s Workforce Specialist, Julie manages provider recruitment and retention services, connecting providers with employment opportunities. Clinics and hospitals can contact Julie for help posting and promoting jobs, accessing candidates and developing best practices for recruitment and retention. Providers can contact Julie to learn more about options for working with rural and underserved communities in Oregon.

Workforce Services Coordinator

Annalee Venneri

Annalee joined ORH in 2014 after working at OHSU Emergency Medicine and the Adult Epilepsy Center. Annalee coordinates and provides support, reporting and monitoring for the Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), the Primary Health Care Loan Forgiveness Program as well as the Medicaid Primary Care Loan Repayment Program (MPCLRP). Please contact Annalee with any questions you have on these programs.

Field Services Staff

Director of Field Services

Meredith Guardino

Meredith Guardino joined ORH in 2013. Prior to joining ORH, Meredith worked in international health system development including directing the Clinton Health Access Initiative’s health system work in Liberia. At ORH, Meredith oversees the grant programs and the technical assistance provided by the Field Services team. Please contact Meredith with any questions you have on the Annual Rural Listening Tour or on how ORH can provide support for rural health in your community.

Data/GIS Analyst

Emerson Ong

Emerson Ong joined ORH in 2000, after learning about Access databases and survey tools at the Department of Nursing Administration at Johns Hopkins Hospital. At ORH, he has expanded and consolidated demographic, health status, and health utilization data and established ORH as a statewide resource for rural Oregon ZIP code level health data. Emerson utilizes GIS to present this data in graphical maps of the state. Data reports (e.g., demographic and health community profiles) and maps (e.g., the number and location of Psychiatrists across the state) are available on our website. For customized data or maps to inform facility operations or community health improvement planning, please contact Emerson.

Program Manager

Stacie Rothwell

Based in Burns, Stacie Rothwell joined ORH in 2015.  Stacie has over 16 years of healthcare administration experience, which includes both private and hospital owned clinic administration as well as being a member of a Critical Access Hospital administrative team. Stacie oversees the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program (SHIP) and is ORH’s subject matter expert on rural clinic and hospital quality improvement. Please contact Stacie for technical assistance with quality improvement reporting or projects, becoming a Rural Health Clinic or Patient Centered Primary Care Home, meeting facility regulatory requirements and improving facility operations.