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Letter: USDA Rural Development: Supporting healthy people through healthy places

Erin Oban, North Dakota's state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Agency, writes, "By partnering alongside health systems, foundations, and local leaders and champions, USDA Rural Development is helping to finance the rural hospitals, clinics, dental, recovery, and care facilities upon which thousands of rural North Dakotans depend."

Erin Hill-Oban
Erin Oban is USDA's RD state director for North Dakota
Lea Black/Lea Black
We are part of The Trust Project.

Every third Thursday of November – this year, Nov. 17 – Americans recognize National Rural Health Day as an opportunity to celebrate the “power of rural.” The delivery of rural health care does far more than prevent us from getting sick and tend to us when we’re ill. Rural health care employs our neighbors. It influences whether new families move to our towns or if our aging populations can stay. A rural health care system strengthens the small businesses around it, donates to local organizations and supports kids’ school fundraisers, and keeps our communities thriving.

Here at USDA Rural Development, we believe that people who live, work, raise a family, and grow old in our rural towns and tribal communities deserve access to quality, patient-centered health care right in or as close to their hometowns as possible. The dedicated professionals who provide their care, who clean up, cook in, and care for these facilities also deserve to work in safe, modern sites with the space and equipment they need to provide this essential service. By partnering alongside health systems, foundations, and local leaders and champions, USDA Rural Development is helping to finance the rural hospitals, clinics, dental, recovery, and care facilities upon which thousands of rural North Dakotans depend.

During the 2022 fiscal year, Rural Development invested over $156 million in brand new facilities in Cando, Jamestown, Rugby, and the Turtle Mountains and to expand services and modernize equipment in Cooperstown, McVille, New Rockford, Rolette County, and Spirit Lake. By maintaining and expanding access to health care in rural communities, together, we eliminate barriers to care, secure good jobs, strengthen local economies, and improve and save the lives of the people you and I love.

When our government functions in the way it was intended, to work alongside the private sector and with local leadership to build out the infrastructure that builds up communities, we truly can achieve big things and live better lives. The historic, bipartisan investments by our federal government through USDA Rural Development’s mission further empower the “power of rural” across North Dakota, investing in our people and the places that most matter to us.

Erin Oban is North Dakota's state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Agency.

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This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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