A national rural health organization has announced its 2021 Community Stars – an impressive list of 50 individuals, coalitions and organizations that have shown resiliency and resolve during this past year. The one Community Star from Oregon is Lesley Ogden, MD, chief executive officer of Samaritan Health Services’ two coastal hospitals.
Each November, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health accepts nominations and selects top recipients for Community Star recognition on Rural Health Day. They also produce a book with these Community Stars’ stories to inspire others who are working to improve the lives of rural Americans.
Dr. Ogden was nominated for her exceptional leadership during wildfires that threatened one hospital and impacted services at the other hospital, and for her hands-on approach to handling the ongoing pandemic, including active participation in community vaccination efforts.
Said Teryl Eisinger, CEO of NOSORH: “These Community Stars teach us lessons and provide positive examples of what can be accomplished, even during a public health crisis. Their stories tell the tale of keeping resolve, maintaining and growing relationships, ensuring readiness in communities and never giving up on being resilient. These are extraordinary people making rural life better every single day.”
This year’s theme pays tribute to how rural, frontier and tribal communities are teaching the nation important lessons about resiliency, relationships, readiness and a steadfast resolve for health equity and all it entails. Each Community Star was interviewed to gain insight into their perspective on this theme and the resulting 350-word stories are available to view online in the official book of Community Stars. (Find Dr. Ogden’s story on page 44).
On National Rural Health Day, Nov. 18, Dr. Ogden and the other Community Stars were recognized and celebrated during a virtual gathering of people from every corner of the United States.