HONESDALE (Nov. 16, 2023) --Wayne Tomorrow! and the Wayne County Commissioners first celebrated National Rural Health Day in November 2020. The community was only a few months out of lock down from the COVID-19 Pandemic and people were keen to recognize the hard work and sacrifice of the health-care community.
“National Rural Health Day seemed like the perfect way to draw attention not only to how much we value our local health-care providers but the unique opportunities rural communities can offer to health care professionals,” said Mikki Uzupes, Community Network Specialist for Wayne Tomorrow! who helped plan that first recognition by inviting officials from Wayne Memorial Hospital and Health System as well as The Wright Center for Community Health.
The next year, Wayne Tomorrow! and the Commissioners expanded the list to include the Himalayan Institute, an international non-profit based in Bethany that promotes yoga and holistic health. That was also the year that Wayne Tomorrow! successfully nominated Wayne Memorial Hospital’s then-CEO David Hoff as 2021 Community Rural Health Leader of the Year.
Lisa Davis, executive director of the PA Office of Rural Health at Penn State University, joined the Commissioners for the proclamation before bestowing the award later that day at Wayne Memorial Hospital. She returned for the 2022 Proclamation, when she bestowed the same award on Norma Nocilla of the Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers.
Director Davis returned to Wayne County for National Rural Health Day in 2023, and this time she recognized the Wayne County Commissioners with the 2023 National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health Collaborative Award, for their efforts to bring the health care community together each year to demonstrate “The Power of Rural.”
Wayne County remains the only Pennsylvania county to proclaim National Rural Health Day on the third Thursday of November and celebrate a robust and responsive health care system and the shared efforts to improve the health and vitality of all its citizens.
In the photo are, from left: seated --Dr. Linda Thomas-Humak, The Wright Center; Lisa Davis, Director, PA State Office of Rural Health; Terri Lacey, CEO, Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers; Dr. Carrie Demers, Himalayan Instititute; James Pettinato, CEO, Wayne Memorial Hospital. Standing -- Mikki Uzupes, Wayne Tomorrow! Community Network Specialist; Commissioners Brian Smith with the award; Hope Wormuth, Board Member, PA Rural Health Association; Lisa Champeau, Carol Kneier and Chandra Roberts of Wayne Memorial Hospital; Greg Capitolo, President, Himalayan Institute; Tim Huber and Commissioners Jocelyn Cramer and James Shook.