|Senior Federal health administrators visit UND|
Dr. Elizabeth Duke, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C., visited the UND Center for Rural Health Dec. 10-11.
Duke directs a $7 billion agency, one of the largest in the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Over the past five years, HRSA has competitively awarded more than $15 million to the Center for Rural Health to support a range of projects reaching over 170 rural North Dakota communities as well as communities across the nation.
Accompanying Duke were three senior officials from HHS: Marcia Brand, associate administrator, Office of Rural Health Policy and Bureau of Health Professions, Tom Morris, deputy associate administrator, Office of Rural Health Policy, and Steven Smith, senior advisor to the HRSA administrator.
The federal officials were visiting Grand Forks to recognize the success and fifth-year anniversary of one of the HRSA-funded projects at the Center for Rural Health, the Rural Assistance Center, which has brought more than $4.4 million to UND and employs nine people. Also attending was Alan Morgan, chief executive officer of the National Rural Health Association, Washington, D.C.
The Rural Assistance Center (RAC) is a national resource designed to meet the substantial rural health and human services information needs of rural communities. RAC provides rural communities with access to a full range of available programs, funding and research that can enable them to provide quality health and human services.
In December 2002, RAC launched its Web site and took its first information request by telephone.
“In five short years, the Rural Assistance Center has built a national reputation as a premier source of timely, high-quality information on rural health and human services,” said Kristine Sande, RAC project director.
Sande noted that last month, the RAC Web site (http://www.raconline.org) passed the 1.5 million mark in visits, with over a half-million coming in the last year. In addition, RAC has responded to more than 5,000 specific information requests from people in all 50 states and over 20 foreign countries.
“The Health Resources and Services Administration is delighted to be celebrating a five-year partnership with the Rural Assistance Center, which provides a one-stop location for people seeking information about health and human services in rural America,” said Duke. “The RAC is a key part of HRSA’s efforts to improve the delivery of health and social services in rural areas.” “We have a winning combination of highly committed University of North Dakota rural health experts and state-of-the-art technical resources,” said Mary Wakefield, director of the Center for Rural Health. “As a result, North Dakota is the national ‘go to’ place for help in areas we know best, rural health and human services.
“The value of this resource to the nation is evident when four federal agency heads and the CEO of the leading national rural health association come to North Dakota to celebrate and recognize the importance of this activity to rural America.”
RAC coordinates and streamlines information and makes it available through the use of a comprehensive Web site, www.raconline.org, including an online clearinghouse of news, documents, maps and success stories; a calendar of events; a directory of rural contacts and organizations; state resource pages, and a searchable database of funding opportunities.
Also available on the Web site are information guides, which provide in-depth information focusing on rural aspects of an issue or topic. RAC’s electronic updates on rural health and human services keep more than 5,000 subscribers abreast of new information and resources. RAC also provides free customized assistance on topics related to rural health or human services.
Contact RAC at 1-800-270-1898 or email@example.com to request customized assistance from RAC's information specialists.
-- Shelley Pohlman, Asst. to the Director, Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 701-777-4305