The Michigan Center for Rural Health (MCRH) has hosted the Michigan Rural Health Conference since 1997. The conference is of interest to a broad range of rural stakeholder and aims to provide engaging education on relevant topics for rural health providers. The conference is targeted towards those working in rural health, including rural health clinics and hospital settings. In addition, stakeholders from local public health, community mental health, substance use disorder treatment centers, and organizations working to positively impact social drivers of health are targeted.
Continuing education certificates are provided for social work, and community health workers.
The objectives of this conference include:
1. Provide an opportunity for rural health stakeholders to share and learn from each other.
2. Provide a networking and collaboration opportunity for rural health stakeholders.
3. Provide current and relevant information to rural health stakeholders
MCRH was honored to present the 2023 Rural Health Professional of the Year award to Mariah Hesse, CNO, of
The award has been presented since 1994 to individuals deserving of recognition for their efforts in carrying out exemplary work in promoting health in rural areas, showing excellent leadership in the improvement of healthcare services to the rural areas of Michigan, and making worthy contributions to the improvement of health for the people in
Congratulations, Mariah! Your passion and tireless dedication to improving rural health in Michigan are an inspiration!
Previous Award Winners:
2023 Mariah Hesse, CNO of Sparrow Clinton Hospital
2022 Emily Bergquist, MDHHS Bureau of EMS, Trauma and Preparedness & Sam Watson, Michigan Health & Hospital Association & Julie Novak, Michigan State Medical Society & Philip Bergquist, Michigan Primary Care Association & Keisha Sexton, Michigan Rural Health Clinic Network & Kris Nicholoff, Michigan Osteopathic Association & Norm Hess, Michigan Association of Local Public Health
2021- No Award
2020 Duke Anderson, President, CEO, Hillsdale Community Health Center
2019 Mark Hamed, MD, MBA, MPH, Medical Director of McKenzie Health System’s ED/Hospitalist program, Medical Director for Public Health in Sanilac, Tuscola, Huron and Lapeer counties
2018 Andrea Wendling, M.D., Director of Rural Community Health, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University
2017 John Barnas, Executive Director, Michigan Center for Rural Health
2016 Brian Brasser, President, Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospitals.
2015 Steve Barnett, President & CEO, McKenzie Health System
2014 Donna Kubic, Managing Director, Beaver Island Rural Health Clinic
2013 Colleen Johnson, Practice Administrator, Lakeshore Medical Centers