GAH Receives National Center for Rural Health Professions’ Rural Health Hero Award

December 6, 2016

Dr. Ben Brewer and Rob Schmitt, CEO of Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services are shown receiving the 2016 “Rural Health Hero” Award during National Rural Health Day ceremonies held at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford.  Also pictured are Dr. Darrin Ray, RMED graduate; Robin Rose, Chief Operating Officer; Dr. David Hagan, RMED mentor; and RPHARM graduate Kevin Askew, Pharm.D.

Ben Brewer, MD, and Rob Schmitt, CEO of Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services (GAHHS), accepted the National Center for Rural Health Professions’ “Rural Health Hero” award during ceremonies held at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Rockford.  RMED Director John Plescia, MD, discussed how great it was to finally meet Dr. Brewer and visit his office in Forrest, Illinois.  According to Dr. Plescia, “Dr. Brewer and his office are among the top requested locations by medical students and residents in the RMED program.” 

In addition, the RMED program also recognized David J. Hagan, MD, who was awarded the RMED “Distinguished Service” award for his many years of service as a mentor and preceptor for countless medical students.  Dr. Hagan graduated from the Rockford medicine program before the RMED program was officially established.  He continues to welcome students and residents to his office in Gibson City each year.

“We were honored to have received this recognition as it goes along with our vision of being The model of excellence for rural healthcare,” said Schmitt during the event held on National Rural Health Day. “We are very proud of Dr. Brewer and Dr. Hagan being recognized here today for their contributions to the RMED program.  We’re a longtime supporter of RMED and have hired several physician graduates from this very school. We also have a great relationship with the Illinois AHEC (Area Health Education Center) and have hired an RPHARM graduate (Kevin Askew).”

“The RNURSE project was just announced, and GAHHS will be happy to participate in that program as well,” he continued. “They (NCRHP) provide a wonderful service that has been of substantial benefit to our hospital. We greatly appreciate this honor.”

The purpose of the National Center for Rural Health Professions is to meet the healthcare needs of rural Illinois residents through collaborative projects involving multiple health professions while also emphasizing recruitment, retention, and healthcare delivery initiatives that will positively impact the health and well-being of both rural residents and their communities.

The RHP curriculum focuses on developing the inter-professional knowledge, skills, and attitudes required of rural health professionals. RMED students and rural pharmacy students attend RHP classes together. The Rural Pharmacy Education Program (RPHARM) seeks to prepare pharmacy students from the state of Illinois who will, after graduation, locate and practice in a rural community.

Speakers included UICOM-R Regional Dean Alex Stagnaro, MD; NCRHP Associate Dean Michael Glasser, PhD; Tiana McCall, Constituent Advocate for Congresswoman Cheri Bustos; and NCRHP Assistant Director of Recruiting Mark Meurer.


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