Back Row [L to R] Rita Plourde, Jetty St John, Bill Heitzman, Karl Hansen, Dr. Alyssa Hedstrom and John Bottger. Front Row [L to R] Joni Kristenson, Teresa Borak, Paul Nelson, Georgene Daubanton and Bonnie Dalin. | SUBMITTED
At the Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth, some of Minnesota’s most talented public health workers received well-deserved recognition for their service to the state’s rural communities and residents.
The Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Rural Health Association and Duluth-based National Rural Health Resource Center presented the 2017 Minnesota Rural Health Awards, honoring outstanding service to rural Minnesota communities. The North Shore Health Care Foundation’s Oral Health Task Force received the Rural Health Team award.
The Oral Health Task Force works to bring critical, preventive and restorative dental care to all infants, children and young adults in Cook County and the Grand Portage Reservation, regardless of their caregivers’ ability to pay. They have shown tremendous leadership in overcoming significant barriers to oral health care, such as poverty, maltreatment, transportation and misconceptions about what comprises good oral health. To achieve sustainability, the task force has begun integrating preventive oral health into the work of other medical and social service providers in the county.
It takes local innovation to create sustainable solutions, and today’s health care workforce is creating visionary collaborations for the future.
“The honorees embody the spirit of service and innovation that helped Minnesota build a robust, nationally respected rural health system,” said Minnesota health commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “They exemplify the many ways people work to promote health and strengthen rural communities.”
The Minnesota Rural Health Conference presents these awards each year. The Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, the Minnesota Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Resource Center host the conference. This year’s conference focused on “Shaping Sustainable Solutions.” More information is available online at Minnesota Rural Health Conference.