Minnesota Rural Health Awards
Rural Health Awards are given annually to individuals and groups who have made a significant contribution to improving rural health in Minnesota.
Nominees may have contributed to rural health in any capacity - in a volunteer or paid position, as a health care provider or not, and/or through policy or practice.
2023 Rural Health Awards
Nominate someone for the 2023 Minnesota Rural Health Awards (PDF)!
Applications are due Friday, October 13.
Please email your completed 2023 Minnesota Rural Health Award nomination form (PDF) to:email@example.com. Feel free to include up to two additional 8 ½ x 11 pages (such as letters of support and/or news articles).
All awards will be announced on National Rural Health Day, November 16, 2023.
2022 Rural Health Awards
View the MDH Press Release
The awards were announced on National Rural Health Day, November 17, 2022.
This year’s awards went to the following honorees:
- Dr. Rozalina McCoy, Medical Director, Community Paramedic Program, Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service, Rochester, was the recipient of the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Hero Award.
- Wilderness Health, Two Harbors, was the recipient of the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Team Award.
- Wesley Ofstedal, MD, Medical Director of Living Center, Essentia Health-Fosston, was the recipient of the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award.
Rural Health Hero Award
Dr. Rozalina McCoy, Medical Director, Community Paramedic Program, Mayo Clinic Ambulance Service, Rochester, was the recipient of the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Hero Award.
Dr. McCoy is a trained endocrinologist and primary care physician who delivers comprehensive, person-centered primary and diabetes care to communities in Southeast Minnesota. Recognizing the number of underserved patients living with unmet health needs across the region, she established a robust Community Paramedicine (CP) program with Mayo Clinic Ambulance and expanded the CP scope of service to bring health care to individuals in non-traditional settings. As COVID-19 hit, care included a Mobile COVID-19 Unit serving people experiencing homelessness quarantined in county-provided shelters. Today the Mayo Clinic Ambulance Community Paramedic Service brings care to residents in their homes, hotels, congregate living facilities, and homeless shelters – anywhere there is a safe, private setting convenient for the patient. This innovative model brings medical care out to the community, helps improve chronic disease management and reduces emergency department visits and hospitalizations. It has been a successful means of providing health equity to local residents not able to access mainstream healthcare.
Rural Health Team Award
Wilderness Health, Two Harbors, was the recipient of the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Team Award.
Wilderness Health is a nonprofit collaborative of nine local, independent health care providers in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. Many of these facilities are located in some of the region’s most remote areas and cover large geographical areas. Wilderness Health brings their members together to share best practices and innovative solutions; virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic allowed members to address immediate patient needs, learn from each other, and respond to the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic. By working together, the collaborative is improving the patient experience, advancing patient and community health outcomes, lowering costs and enhancing the care team experience.
Rural Health Life Achievement Awards
Wesley Ofstedal, MD, Medical Director of Living Center, Essentia Health-Fosston, was the 2022 Minnesota Rural Health Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
Dr. Ofstedal graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1978 and specializes in Family Medicine which he chose because of its never-ending variety. While caring for patients of all ages throughout his career, Dr. Ofstedal has maintained a particular focus on geriatric care and preventive medicine as “probably the most important thing we can for people.” He has been dedicated to maintaining continuous quality improvement within end-of-life care and creating a health care environment that allows patients to die with dignity. As a rural physician, Dr. Ofstedal has impacted his entire community as a mentor, as a compassionate doctor to multiple generations of local families, and in his commitment to excellence in patient care.
Our 2022 MN Rural Health Award recipients were honored at the 2023 Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth, June 12-13, 2023.