National Rural Health Day Logo

Each year the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health and its partners set aside the third Thursday of November to celebrate National Rural Health Day (NRHD). NRHD is an opportunity to “Celebrate the Power of Rural.”

Nearly 60 million people live and work in rural America. It is a great place to live and work, however, it produces unique health care challenges. NRHD helps educate about these challenges and highlights the innovation and collaboration used by health care providers to improve quality of care. Over the years, the fifty State Offices of Rural Health and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health have worked to improve health care in rural America. This year we hope to transform NRHD from a single day event into a sustainable movement. With your support, we can keep matters of rural health top of mind and in the hearts of those who can, and are, making a positive difference.

 Join the Montana Office of Rural Health in Celebrating the Power of Rural!!! 

 In honor of National Rural Health day, the Montana Office of Rural Health & Area Health Education Center is holding contests and awards to help raise awareness about the importance of rural health!


Congratulations to our Dr. Frank Newman Rural Health Award Winners!Frank Newman

Lifetime Achievement:  Dick Brown, past president and CEO of the Montana Hospital Association

Dick Brown has served at the Montana Hospital Association since 1990, as a Senior Vice President, and most recently as President/CEO.  Dick has served as a forceful advocate for Montana and for rural healthcare on a national and statewide level.  He also developed new association programs that have contributed to quality, safety, education and cost-savings for MT Hospitals.  Passion, commitment, dedication, tact, diplomacy, quiet persistence and optimism have characterized Dick’s tenure with MHA, earning him respect and friendship with healthcare professionals regionally and nationally.

Read full nomination letter here!

Rural Health Leadership:  Ned Vasquez, MD, Program Director, Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana

Dr. Ned Vasquez created the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana in 2009 with the specific mission to develop family physicians who are compassionate, clinically competent, and motivated to serve patients and communities in rural and underserved Montana.  Dr. Vasquez has worked to ensure a continuous supply of family medicine physicians who are motivated to serve rural Montana. 

Read full nomination letter here!

Rural Health Education:  Martin Teintze, PhD, Director, Montana WWAMI Medical Education Program at MSU

Dr. Teintze has served as Director of MT WWAMI since 2009.  He has helped MT become recognized regionally and nationally in efforts toward rural undergraduate medical education.  Dr. Teintze continues to teach Block 1: Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease courses.  Through the course of his teaching career at MSU, Dr. Teintze has had a role in training innumberable Montana WWAMI physicians.

Read full nomination letter here!

Rural Health Clinician:  Sarah Howe-Cobb, Public Health Nurse, Augusta, Montana

Ms. Howe-Cobb has served as the sole public health nurse in Augusta, MT for more than 30 years.  She offers services in school nursing, prenatal and infant care, wellness clinics, home visits, and outreach to nearby Hutterite colonies.  She is committed to improving the health of the Augusta community well into the future.

Read full nomination letter here!

We’re proud to recognize these award winners and, in the spirit of Frank Newman, their dedication to rural health. 


In honor of National Rural Health Day, the Montana Office of Rural Health/AHEC and Montana Rural Health Association are seeking nominations for the Dr. Frank Newman Rural Health Award.  Dr. Newman represented the spirit of Frank NewmanMontana in nearly 50 years of service to rural communities and healthcare in our state.  The nominees who most exemplify what Dr. Newman represented will be announced in late November to celebrate National Rural Health Day.

Dr. Newman was instrumental in founding the Montana WWAMI Medical School Program, the Montana Office of Rural Health, the Montana AHEC, the Montana Family Medicine Residency Program, and many other programs.  He served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was the founder of the Wind Drinkers running club. Dr. Newman counseled hundreds of young people interested in a career in medicine and other health professions.  He was actively teaching in the WWAMI Targeted Rural Underserved Track at Montana State University, and working at the Montana Office of Rural Health/AHEC until his death at age 80 on Veteran’s Day, 2011.

Nominations for the Award should reflect Dr. Newman’s commitment to rural health in Montana, his support for health professions, his belief in the young people of our state, and his optimistic view of the future.  Dr. Newman traveled to every corner of Montana, worked with rural hospitals and healthcare providers, and believed that communities had the capacity to support high quality healthcare.  He helped many people persevere in their goals and hopes, and inspired many young people to pursue their dreams.

Awards will be given in three categories:

  1. Frank Newman Rural Health Leadership Award
  2. Frank Newman Rural Clinician Leadership
  3. Frank Newman Future of Rural Health Award
    • This award recognizes an outstanding young leader (high school, college or early career) who is from a rural community, is pursuing a health science educational opportunity and/or who is working on rural health issues and has shown a commitment to improving the health of Montana.
Application deadline: November 5, 2018

If you have questions, please email Cindra Stahl at or call 406-994-6499.

The award recipients will be announced on the Montana Office of Rural Health/AHEC website on National Rural Health Day (November 15, 2018).  (

Submit application here!

The National Rural Health Day Photo Contest is an opportunity for you to be creative, and show us what rural means to you! You may choose to do this by snapping a photo highlighting your favorite Montana pastimes or showcasing the beauty of your rural community!

Citizens within Montana are eligible to enter the contest. Each photo/caption is one submission, you may submit up to 3 photos. All photos must have been taken in Montana and must be taken by you.Horseback riding

Submitting Photos or videos

To submit a photo, send as high resolution version of the photo in a .jpeg, .gif, or .tif file format to: Include a caption of the photo, where the photo was taken, your name, e-mail address, and phone number.

Submissions are due November 9th, 2018 - Winners will be announced on National Rural Health Day! (November 15, 2018)


Each person who submits a photo will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 Amazon gift card

1st Place - $50 Amazon gift card

2nd Place - $25 Amazon gift card

3rd Place - $25 Amazon gift card

Two award categories: Adult Division (18 & Over) & Youth Division (17 & Under)

If we are unable to reach the winner, the entry will be forfeited and the selection committee may choose a different winner. All photos will be posted on the RHI Facebook and Instagram page.

By submitting a photo you agree to RHI's

Terms of Use:

Images submitted must be royalty-free. By submitting a photo, you understand you give the rights and permission of the photo to be used by the RHI and AHEC offices. Photos not meeting this requirement will not be eligible for prizes and will be disqualified from the National Rural Health Day Photo Contest.

For questions or concerns, please contact

The Montana Office of Rural Health invites health organizations, schools and rural communities to sponsor National Rural Health Day Activities to celebrate the power of rural and help transform this day into a movement! 

Share photos and descriptions of the activities your organization sponsored for NRHD to be entered into a drawing for $100.

Submit activities to  by November 20th! The winning organization will be announced on November 27th! 

Ways to celebrate: 

  • Host a Walk with a Doc and register the activity with NOSORH. Learn more here! 
  • Invite everyone in your organization to Take the Pledge! The Pledge to Partner was designed to help NOSORH strategically align with people like you who want to achieve higher performance and visibility, optimize our collective contributions, and realize complementary objectives that advance the rural health mission. 
  • Display NRHD posters and spread the word on your organization's social media accounts! use #powerofrural on all of your posts! 
  • Host an employee appreciation luncheon
  • Have a community wide photo contest, health career interview contest or coloring contest! 

For more ideas of how to celebrate check out