For Your Health
For Your Health

News from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Center for Rural Health announces Rural and Public Health Awards, Dakota Conference 2024

The 39th annual Dakota Conference on Rural and Public Health, will be held June 4-6 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. Registration is now open. The conference includes four keynote addresses, 20 group sessions, four intensive sessions, and health policy and workforce panels. Continuing education credits will be available.

The Dakota Conference provides an opportunity for hundreds of healthcare professionals, educators, and students to share strategies for building and sustaining healthy communities in North Dakota. It includes two and one half days of pre- and post-conference meetings, keynote speakers, poster presentations, and an awards banquet.

Keynote presentations include:

  • Legacy Leadership, presented by Renee Wall Rongen: speaker, author, entrepreneur, Renee Rongen & Associates, LLC, Fertile, Minn.
  • North Dakota Public Health Vision, presented by Nizar Wehbi, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.: State Health Officer, North Dakota Health & Human Services, Bismarck, N.D.
  • Finding Your Beat, the Rhythm of Life, presented by Tim Eggebraaten: retired chief of police, off duty chief, Detroit Lakes, Minn.
  • Resiliency, presented by Amit Sood, M.D., M.S., FACP, CEO: Global Center for Resiliency and Wellbeing, Rochester, Minn.

As part of Dakota Conference, the Rural and Public Health Awards Banquet will be held on June 5 at 11:50 a.m. in the Alerus Center. The awards are given by two organizations: the North Dakota Rural Health Association and the North Dakota Public Health Association. The 2024 Rural and Public Health Awards recipients include:

  • Outstanding Rural Health Career – Brad Gibbens, Acting Director and Assistant Professor, Center for Rural Health, Grand Forks
  • Outstanding Rural Health Provider – Steven Barlow, F.N.P., Dakota Regional Medical Center, Cooperstown
  • Outstanding Rural Health Volunteer – Jean Limvere, Hospice of the Red River Valley, Fargo
  • Outstanding Rural Health Program – Rough Rider High Value Network
  • Emerging Rural Leader – Alyson Kornele, CEO, West River Health Services, Hettinger
  • Legislator of the Year – Gretchen Dobervich, State Representative, Fargo
  • Public Health Worker of the Year – Susan Kahler, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator, Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, Bismarck
  • Public Health Team of the Year – Blue Zones Project, Grand Forks
  • Public Health Outstanding Service Award – Stephen McDonough, M.D., Pediatrician, McKenzie Health, Watford City
  • R-COOL-Health Scrubs Camp of the Year – First Care Health Center, Park River
  • Flex Quality Reporting Award – Sanford Hillsboro Medical Center, Hillsboro

Tickets for the awards banquet are free for conference participants and $30 for those not registered for the conference. Registration is mandatory for those who wish to attend. For information on getting tickets, visit