National Rural Health Association

NRHA's 2017 Rural Health Policy Institute

Rural Health Congress

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The Rural Health Congress is the policy-making body of the National Rural Health Association. It is made up of elected representatives from each of the association's nine constituency groups, State Association Council, State Office Council, issue groups and officers. This gives the board grassroots representation that reflects the concerns of NRHA's membership. The Rural Health Congress determines the association's positions on public policy through a series of policy briefs and issue papers.

Please contact Erin Mahn in NRHA's Government Affairs office at 202-639-0550 with any questions.

 Rural Health Congress Roster


Rural Health Congress Chair:

Tim Putnam
Batesville, Ind.

Vice Chair:

Gail Nickerson
Roseville, Calif.


Dave Pearson
Austin, Texas


Pat Schou
Princeton, Ill.

Past President:

Jodi Schmidt
Mission, Kan.


Lisa Kilawee
Amherst, Wisc. 

President Elect:
Dave Schmitz
Boise, Idaho

Clinical Services CG Chair:                    

Roger D. Wells
Saint Paul, Neb.


Norma Bowyer
Morgantown, W.Va.

Public Health Status CG Chair:

Alana Knudson
Bethesda, Md.

Federally Qualified Health Centers CG Chair:

Tim Shryack
Ava, Mo.

Frontier CG Chair:

Patrick Joseph Branco
Rugby, N.D.

Hospital and Community Health Systems CG Chair:
Susan Starling
Irvine, Ky.


Pat Schou
Princeton, Ill. 

Allen Van Driel
Smith Center, Kan.

Lynn Barr
Nevada City, Calif.

Jeffrey Lingerfelt
Rugby, N.D.

Ralph Llewellyn
Fargo, N.D.

Jeremy Levin
Sauk City, Wisc.

Kiley Floyd
Osborne, Kan.

Martin E. Thornton
Aubrey, Texas

Steve Barnett
Sandusky, Mich.

Holly Wolff
Waterloo, Iowa 


Michael Nester
DeKalb, Miss.

Randy Anderson
Sioux Falls, S.D.

Robin Rose
Gibson City, Ill.

Jan Kemmerer
Beloit, Kan.

Roger Masse
Ellsworth, Kan.

Eric Shell
Portland, Maine.

Kathleen Spencer
Grand Forks, N.D.

Roger D. Wells
St. Paul, Neb.

Jim Peterson
Arroyo Seco,N.M.

Gail Finley
Greenwood Village, Colo.

Research and Education CG Chair:

John A. Gale
Portland, Maine. 


Kevin Bennett
Columbia, S.C.

David A. Gross
Morehead, Ky. 

Rural Health Clinics CG Chair:

Michelle Mills
Aurora, Colo.

Gail Nickerson
Roseville, Calif.

John Everett
Snyder, Texas 

Statewide Health Resources CG Chair:

Patricia A. Crawford
Lewisburg, W.Va.


Sally Buck
Duluth, Minn.

Kristine Sande
Grand Forks, N.D.

Sandra Y. Pope
Charleston, W.Va.

Brad Gibbens
Grand Forks, N.D. 

State Association Council Chair's Designee:

Beth O'Connor
Blacksburg, Va.


Don Kelso
Terre Haute, Ind.

State Office Council Chair:

John E. Barnas
East Lansing, Mich.

State Office Council Vice Chair:
Larry Baronner
University Park, Penn.

Past Presidents Council:

Lance Keilers
Lee's Summit, Mo.

Kris Sparks
Olympia, Wash.

Dennis Berens
Lincoln, Neb.

Sandi Durick
Pierre, S.D.

Multiracial & Multicultural Council Chair:

Eron Manusov
Edinburg, Texas

Craig Wesley
New York, N.Y. 

Student CG Chair:

Julie Middleton
Bozeman, Mt.


Brayden Healey
Meridian, Idaho

Policy development

The National Rural Health Association is a member-driven association, meaning our members set the policies and positions we advocate for at a national level. All members of the association are able to participate, and we offer this page to help our members get involved in the process. Below is a chart of policies under developement with opportunities to collaborate, add additional policies or edit as you see fit.

Each of these policies will eventually be reviewed by NRHA's Rural Health Congress at one of its three annual meetings. If the congress adopts a policy, it will be published on our Official Policy Positions page and become an official policy of NRHA. For more information about this process or to better understand how to develop a policy, download our guide to developing policy within NRHA.

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