ORH Staff

About ORH


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 Rural Health Coordinating Council, or rural health policy matters.

Administrative Staff

Administrative Manager

Laura Potter

Laura Potter joined the ORH after years of experience as an attorney and manager of a large nonprofit focused on cancer. Laura oversees the ORH Administrative Team. In addition, she supervises logistical support for the Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference and the Annual Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon, office HR and compliance issues. Contact Laura if you have questions regarding conference logistics and program administration.

Administrative Assistant

Kate Hubbard

Kate Hubbard joined ORH after serving in administrative and support capacities at OHSU for several years.  She provides support to the entire ORH team and AHEC leadership, keeping the behind-the-scenes machinery of our programs working smoothly.  Contact Kate if you need help finding your way to the right person at ORH or AHEC.

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, the Rural Practitioners Insurance Subsidy Program, 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 and the Rural Practitioners Insurance Subsidy Program.

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

Bill Pfunder

Bill Pfunder joined the ORH in 2016. Bill has over 10 years’ experience in emergency medical services, including rural Alaska. He also has experience with nonprofit social services agencies that assist families caring for children and young adults with special needs. Bill served as the Oregon/National POLST Coordinator and Office Manager at the OHSU Center for Ethics. Please contact Bill for questions on Oregon’s provider incentive programs, including the Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), Oregon Health Care Provider Loan Repayment, the Scholars for a Healthy Oregon Initiative (SHOI), and the Primary Care Loan Forgiveness Program (PCLF).

Program Manager — Recruitment and Retention

Stacee Reed

Based in Madras, OR, Stacee joined the ORH in 2016. Stacee has over 10 years of experience working in rural hospitals and clinics including Practice Operations Manager focusing on recruitment and retention of providers. Stacee brings a broad knowledge of hospital/clinic/patient/community cultures to her role overseeing the ORH Recruitment and Retention activities. Please contact Stacee if you have workforce needs including hiring and retention of providers.

Workforce Services Coordinator

Annalee Venneri

Annalee joined ORH in 2014 after working at OHSU Emergency Medicine and the Adult Epilepsy Center. Annalee provides support across all Workforce Team activities and coordinates reporting and monitoring for the Oregon Partnership State Loan Repayment Program (SLRP), the Scholars for a Healthy Oregon Initiative (SHOI), the Primary Health Care Loan Forgiveness Program (PCLF) as well as Oregon Health Care Provider Loan Repayment. 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 how ORH can provide support for rural health in your community.

Program Manager

Rebecca Dobert

Rebecca Dobert joined ORH in 2016. Rebecca is a former health policy legislative staffer, who also has experience working as a Certified Nursing Assistant and volunteering as an EMT in rural and frontier communities. Rebecca oversees the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) grant and ORH's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) assistance and support, including the HERO Rural Volunteer EMS Grant Program. Please contact Rebecca for assistance or questions on SHIP or EMS activities as well as technical assistance for Rural Health Clinics.

Program Manager

Rose Locklear

Rose Locklear joined ORH in 2017 after completing two internships at ORH as part of her Master's Degree in Public Health at Oregon State University. Rose oversees ORH's administration of grant programs and the Annual Forum on Aging as well as the Rural and Frontier Listening Tour. Please contact Rose about rural and frontier grant opportunities, applying for ORH grants, requesting ORH participation on your grant review committee as well as any questions on the Rural and Frontier Listening Tour, and the Annual Forum on Aging.

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 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.