Rural Health leaders honored at annual conference


Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHA) celebrated National Rural Health Day in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, November 18th, 2021 to honor those who work every day to help keep Tennessee healthy. This year's conference was dedicated to local and state health department officials, providers, and advocates who have served on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Missed the event? Copies of presentations are in our Rural Resource Center (login required).

The celebration was part of a three-day event bringing rural health providers, school health, and others together to deepen understanding of rural health issues and celebrate rural leaders leading the way for a healthy tomorrow throughout rural Tennessee. The below individuals were recognized for their outstanding service to rural health. 


Rural Health Professional of the Year - Dr. Rick Wallace, Associate Director of the Quillen College of Medicine Library at East Tennessee State University

Rural Practitioner of the Year - Dr. Dee Blakney, Whiteville Family Medical Clinic

Eloise Q Hatmaker Award - Ms. Ruby Kirby, CEO Bolivar General Hospital

Bill Moats Award - Dr. Angie Dotson, Hometown Health Clinic

Collaboration Award - Dr. Claude Pirtle, West Tennessee Healthcare (presented by Sarah Rhoads, UTHSC)

Collaboration Award – Trousdale County Health Council

Exemplary Project - Buffalo Valley and the McNabb Center

Exemplary Project - Tennessee Health Care Campaign

Award of Merit - The Office of Health Disparities Elimination

Read more about each awardee.

Other awardees included:

Bill Jolley - 2020 President's Award

Emily Jackson - 2020 President's Award

Elaine Jackson - 2021 President's Award

2020 Presidential Service Award - Elaine Jackson, RHA President

2021 Presidential Service Award - Dana Cobb, RHA President

2020 and 2021 Award of Appreciation - Jacy Warrell, RHA Executive Director

Other event photos

Brock Slabach, National Rural Health Association

Dana Cobb, RHA of TN President welcoming audience.

Jacy Warrell, RHA of TN and Erica Johnson-Lockett, Bolivar General Hospital

Ms. Sabrina Blue, Helping Hands of Tennessee and Dr. Casandra Christiansen, UTHSC; Presentation on oral health sponsored by CareQuest.

Ms. Tina Pilgreen, State Office of Rural Health

Dr. Monty Burks, TN Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

2020 RHA of TN Leadership Academy Panel (left to right: Dr. Bill Auxier, Ms. Erica Johnson-Lockett, Ms. Lisa Beasley, Ms. Sabrina Blue, Dr. Tyler Melton, Dr. Christie Manasco)

Dr. Bill Auxier, Dynamic Leadership Academy

Ms. Dorshonda Evans, RHA of TN and Ms. Ashley King, UTHSC-GME

Ms. Dorshonda Evans, RHA of TN

Poster Judges (left to right: Ms. Dana Cobb, Dr. Tom Kincer, Dr. Linda Burks, Dr. Tyler Melton, Dr. Rick Wallace)

ETSU Students, Sponsored by Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development.

Tennessee Charitable Care Network Members

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