Past Awards Recipients


Outstanding Rural Health Provider

This award is presented to a healthcare provider (e.g., physician, nurse, dentist, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, dietician, etc.), who practice in rural North Dakota, and is unselfishly committed to improving the health of their community and service area.


  • 2017 – Mark Longmuir, MD, Mountrail County Medical Center, Stanley
  • 2016 – Condetta Ness, Northwood Deaconess Health Center, Northwood
  • 2015 – Aaron Garman, MD, Coal Country Community Health Center, Beulah
  • 2014 – Dr. Hubert Seiler, MD, Heart of America Medical Center, Rugby
  • 2013 – Jacquelyn M. Lindsey, RN, FNP-C, St. Luke’s Hospital and Crosby Clinic, Crosby
  • 2012 – Alan R. Lindemann, MD, Harvey Clinic, Harvey
  • 2011 – Gerald D. Larson, DDS, Park River Dental Office, Park River
  • 2010 – Linda Seim, RN, Director of Nurses, First Care Health Center, Park River
  • 2009 – Gwen Witzel, FNP-C, Cavalier County Memorial Hospital, Langdon
  • 2008 – Eric “Jack” Larson, MD, Altru Clinic Cavalier, Cavalier
  • 2007 – Dr. Robert Grossman, West River Health Services, Hettinger
  • 2006 – Dr. K.W. Kihle, St. Andrew’s Health Center, Bottineau
  • 2005 – Donald J. Kosiak, MD, Wishek Community Hospital and Clinics, Wishek
  • 2004 – Anthony Rayer, MD, Altru Clinic-Lake Region, Devils Lake
  • 2003 – Michelle Hardy, FNP, Beach Medical Clinic, Beach
  • 2002 – Jonathan H. Berg, M.D., Altru Clinic, Northwood and Larimore; and
    Marguerite M. Huber, RNC, MA, West River Health Services, Hettinger
  • 2001 – Michelle Hardy, FNP, Beach Medical Center, Beach
  • 2000 – Charles Nyhus, MD
  • 1999 – Delbert Hlavinka, MD
  • 1998 – Mark Bogert, RPT
  • 1997 – Glenn Wiltse, MD
  • 1996 – Jean M. Nygaard, FNP, PA-C
  • 1995 – Herbert J. Wilson, MD
  • 1994 – Lyle G. Best, MD
  • 1993 – Rup K. Nagala, MD

Outstanding Rural Health Professional

This award is presented to a professional (e.g., manager, administrator, director, legislator, etc.) located in rural North Dakota, who has demonstrated leadership in the delivery of rural health services, and is unselfishly committed to making a significant and sustained impact on the health of their community and service area.


  • 2017 – Roger Baier, Senior Director, Sanford Mayville Medical Center, Mayville
  • 2016 – Randall Pederson, CEO of Tioga Medical Center, Tioga
  • 2015 – Jeff Lingerfelt, MBA, Heart of America Medical Center, Rugby
  • 2014 – Trisha Jungels, BSA-RN, VP of Nursing Services/CNO, Jamestown Regional Medical Center, Jamestown
  • 2013 – Jo Vilhauer, Wishek Hospital Clinic Association, Wishek
  • 2012 – Darrold Bertsch, CEO, Sakakawea Medical Center, Hazen
  • 2011 – Robin Iszler, BSN, RN, Central Valley Health District, Jamestown
  • 2010 – Mariann K. Doeling, BSN, RN, Administrator, Carrington Health Center, Carrington
  • 2009 – Sharon Ericson, MA, CEO, Valley Community Health Center, Larimore, Northwood, and Grand Forks
  • 2008 – Darrold Bertsch, Administrator/CEO, Southwest Healthcare Services, Bowman
  • 2007 – Kimber L. Wraalstad, Presentation Medical Center, Rolla
  • 2006 – Susan Hallen, RPH, West River Health Services, Hettinger
  • 2005 – James Opdahl, Administrator, Nelson County Health System, McVille
  • 2004 – Kathleen Hoeft, administrator, Ashley Medical Center, Ashley
  • 2003 – Liz Bustad, Upper Missouri District Health Unit
  • 2002 – Kaye McIntyre, RNC, West River Health Services, Hettinger
  • 2001 – Liz Bustad
  • 2000 – Jim Long, CEO, West River Health Services, Hettinger
  • 1999 – Sharon Unruh
  • 1998 – Tammy Schank, RN
  • 1997 – Timothy J. Tracy
  • 1996 – Patrick J. Rafferty, LNHA
  • 1995 – Leo Geiger
  • 1994 – Carla Anderson
  • 1993 – James O. Pernau, MHA

Outstanding Rural Health Volunteer

This award is presented to a community member who has unselfishly committed their energy, time and skills to improve the health of their rural North Dakota community. Nominees must be volunteers; however if a nominee receives a small stipend or reimbursement for supplies, travel, etc. they are still eligible for this award.


  • 2017 – Patsy Levang, McKenzie County Healthcare Systems, Inc., Watford City
  • 2016 – Judy Twete, Nelson County Health System, McVille
  • 2015 – Marlys Hlavinka, Sanford Mayville Caring Club, Mayville
  • 2014 – Caleb Behm, Emergency Medical Technician, Larimore Ambulance and Rescue, Larimore
  • 2013 – Gilman Beck, Altru Hospice, Hospice of the Red River Valley, the Critical Incidents Stress Management Team, and the Northwood Ambulance Squad, Northwood
  • 2012 – Gayle Schneibel, Volunteer, Heart of America Medical Center Auxiliary, Rugby; Shirley Flieth, Front Desk Volunteer, Auxiliary Member, Jamestown Regional Medical Center
  • 2011 – Wayne Evans, Mountrail County Medical Center, Mountrail Bethel Home, Stanley
  • 2010 – Larry Houser, First Care Health Center, Park River
  • 2009 – Sarah Heitkamp, Petersburg
  • 2008 – Wayne Koltes, West River Ambulance, Hettinger
  • 2007 – Gordon and Norma Askew, Cavalier
  • 2006 – Kent Brackel, West River Health Services, Hettinger
  • 2005 – Board of Directors, Faith in Action Health Coalition, Cavalier
  • 2004 – Gary Allen, Towner County Ambulance Service, Cando
  • 2003 – Larry Kuk, Towner Fire and Ambulance & Rescue, Towner
  • 2002 – Helen Berg
  • 2001 – Wing Rural Ambulance, Wing
  • 1999 – Ivadelle Klein
  • 1998 – James Engelhart
  • 1997 – Eva Knutson

Outstanding Rural Educator/Mentor

This award is presented to a professional who has made outstanding contributions to the education, development and placement of new healthcare professionals in rural North Dakota communities. Academic educators, community-based instructors and preceptors are eligible for this award.


  • 2017 – Annie Gerhardt, DNP, Family Nurse Practitioner at Altru Clinic Lake Region, Devils Lake
  • 2016 – Julie Traynor, Dakota Nursing Program at Bismarck State College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Lake Region State College, and Williston State College
  • 2015 – Vonnie Johnson, FNP-BC, ANOVA Family Health Center, Watford City, North Dakota
  • 2014 – Dr. Mark Strand, PhD, Associate Professor, North Dakota State University, Fargo
  • 2013 – Sheila Trontvet, NP, Grafton Family Clinic, Grafton

Emerging Rural Leader

This award is presented to a new professional who has demonstrated tremendous promise for and commitment to improving the health of rural North Dakota residents. Nominees must have five years or less experience serving in a rural community.


  • 2017 – Ben Bucher, FNP-BC, MBA, CEO, Towner County Medical Center, Cando
  • 2016 – Nikki Johnson, Cooperstown Medical Center and Griggs County Care Center, Cooperstown
  • 2015 – Tina Schwartz, BSBA, Northwood Deaconess Health Center, Northwood
  • 2014 – Ivan Mitchell, MPA, MHA, Chief Executive Officer, Towner County Medical Center, Cando
  • 2013 – Mandy Rath, FNP, Kidder County Community Health Center, Steele

Rural Health Legislator of the Year

This award recognizes an outstanding North Dakota legislator, congressional representative, or legislative aid for his/her work and support of rural and public health initiatives that address an identified need in his/her district. Criteria used to select this award recipient includes: introduces or supports an existing piece of legislation that addresses an identified rural or public health need or issue; demonstrates leadership in the community; and incorporates community input into the planning process.


  • 2017 – Bill Devlin, Representative, North Dakota House of Representatives, Finley

Outstanding Rural Health Program

This award is presented to a program that delivers services in innovative ways through collaborative partnerships to improve the access and quality of care to rural North Dakota residents. Individual programs and/or overall organizations/facilities are eligible for the award.


  • There were no nominees for 2017.
  • 2016 – Building Healthy Families, Mercy Medical Center, Williston
  • There were no nominees for 2014 or 2015.
  • 2013 – Coal Country Community Health Centers, Hazen
  • 2012 – Alzheimer’s Association of MN/ND, Bismarck
  • 2010 – Pride Manchester House, Bismarck
  • 2009 – Altru’s Hospice in Partnership with Faith in Action, Cavalier
  • 2008 – Valley Community Health Centers, Larimore and Northwood
  • 2007 – Baby and I Program, Mercy Hospital, Devils Lake
  • 2006 – North Dakota Telepharmacy Project, NDSU College of Pharmacy, Fargo
  • 2005 – Good Neighbor Project, West River Health Services, Hettinger
  • 2004 – Western Sunrise, Inc., Williston
  • 2003 – Women’s Health Program, Northwood Deaconess Health Center, Northwood
  • 2002 – Maddock/Rolette Telepharmacy Program, Maddock/Rolette Drug & Gift, Maddock and Rolette
  • 2001 – Women’s Health Program, Northwood Deaconess Health Center, Northwood
  • 2000 – Golden Heart Paramedic Program
  • 1999 – Young People’s Healthy Heart Program, Mercy Hospital
  • 1998 – Prairieland Home Care
  • 1997 – Dakota Telemedicine System
  • 1996 – Valley Rural Health Cooperative
  • 1995 – Rural Mental Health Consortium of North Dakota, Minot
  • 1994 – Custer District Health Unit, Mandan
  • 1993 – West River Regional Medical Center, Hettinger

R-COOL-Health Scrubs Camp of the Year

This award is presented to the grantee that hosted the Scrubs Camp deemed as the top camp of the year based on the overall combination of a number of factors including professions students are exposed to, innovative and interactive activities, collaboration of community partners and local healthcare professionals, and organization of the camp and grant process.


  • 2017 – Great Northwest Education Cooperative, Williston
  • 2016 – CHI Carrington Health, Carrington
  • 2015 – Coal Country Community Health Centers, Hazen
  • 2014 – Heart of America Medical Center, Rugby
  • 2013 – Northeast Education Services Cooperative, Devils Lake
  • 2012 – Ransom County Public Health, Lisbon

North Dakota Public Health Association Public Health Worker of the Year

This award recognizes a member who has made a significant contribution in the field of public health in the past year.


  • 2017 – Allen Anderson, RD, LRD, Grand Forks Public Health Department, Grand Forks
  • 2016 – Renae Henderson, Rollette County Public Health District in Rolla
  • 2015 – Liz Bonney, Lake Region Health District, Devils Lake
  • 2014 – Penny Hamilton, Director of Nursing, First District Health Unit
  • 2013 – Chelsey Matter, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota, Fargo
  • 2012 – Haley Thorson, BSN, RN, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, Grand Forks Public Health; Lisa Clute, Executive Officer, First District Health Unit, Minot
  • 2011 – Wanda Agnew, PhD, RD, LD, Director, Nutrition Services, Bismarck Burleigh Public Health, Bismarck
  • 2010 – Terri Keehr, Grand Forks Public Health Department, Grand Forks
  • 2009 – Debbie Swanson, Grand Forks Public Health Department, Grand Forks
  • 2008 – Theresa Knox, Grand Forks Public Health Department, Grand Forks
  • 2007 – Carrie Kaltenberg, Grand Forks Public Health Department, Grand Forks
  • 2006 – Barbara Frydenlund, Rolette Co. Public Health District, Rolette
  • 2005 – Jodie Fetch, Custer District Health, Mandan
  • 2004 – Jim Hausauer, Fargo-Cass Public Health, Fargo
  • 2003 – Linda Scott, 1st District Health Unit, Minot

North Dakota Public Health Association Outstanding Service Award


  • 2017 – Lori Brierley, First District Health Unit, Minot
  • 2016 – Holly Scott, Fargo Cass Public Health
  • 2015 – Joyce Sayler, North Dakota Department of Health, Division of Cancer Prevention & Control, Bismarck, ND
  • 2014 – Theresa Will, RN, BSN, Executive Director, City-County Health District, Valley City
  • 2013 – Bev Voller, Emmons County Public Health, Linton
  • 2012 – Connie Griffin, BSN, RN, Home Health & Health Tracks Supervisor, Bismarck Burleigh Public Health; Jim Heckman, RS, Director of Environmental Health, First District Health Unit, Minot
  • 2011 – Joce Koch, RN, Director of Nurses, Custer Health, Mandan
  • 2010 – Pat McGeary, RN, BSN, CTTS, Coordinator, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, Bismarck Burleigh Public Health; and Vicki Voldol Rosenau, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator, City-County Health District, Valley City
  • 2009 – Heidi Heitkamp, Consultant and Lawyer, Mandan
  • 2008 – Senator Judy Lee, ND State Legislature, Fargo; and Representative Clara Sue Price, ND State Legislature, Minot
  • 2007 – Kathleen Mangskau, KM Consulting, Bismarck
  • 2006 – Dede Meidinger, Fargo Cass Public Health, Fargo; and Jill Leppert, North Dakota Department of Health, Bismarck
  • 2005 – Carlotta Ehlis, Southwest District Health Unit, Dickinson
  • 2004 – Ruth Bachmeier, Fargo-Cass Public Health, Fargo
  • 2003 – Vonnie Ereth, Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, Bismarck

Public Health Team of the Year Award


  • 2017 – American Indian Public Health Resource Center (AIPHRC), North Dakota State University
  • 2016 – Walsh County Health District, Grafton, North Dakota
  • 2015 – Alliance for Healthcare Access
  • 2014 – United Tribes Technical College Wellness Circle

North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program Making a Difference Award

  • This award was discontinued.
  • 2012 – First Care Health Center, Park River (Northeast Hospital Network)
  • 2011 – Sanford Mayville in Mayville
  • 2010 – Mountrail County Medical Center, Stanley
  • 2009 – MeritCare CAH Network
  • 2008 – Presentation Medical Center, Rolla; and St. Andrew’s Health Center, Bottineau
  • 2007 – Ashley Medical Center, Ashley
  • 2006 – Southwest Healthcare, Bowman
  • 2005 – St. Aloisius Medical, Harvey