At the Minnesota Rural Health Conference in Duluth last month, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and partners recognized dedicated health care professionals who have made significant contributions to the health and well-being of their rural communities. The Minnesota Rural Health Association and Duluth-based National Rural Health Resource Center joined MDH to present the 2019 Minnesota Rural Health Awards to the following honorees:

– The Ortonville Area Health Services Obstetrics, of Ortonville, received the Rural Health Team award.

– Robert S. Ross (“Doc Bob”), a family medicine practitioner with Ortonville Area Health Services and Big Stone Health Care Foundation, of Ortonville, received a Rural Health Lifetime Achievement award.

At a time when many small hospitals are no longer able to offer obstetric (OB) care, Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS) OB/ER has collaborated with local hospitals in Minnesota and South Dakota to provide high quality OB for their shared rural populations. OAHS, a Critical Access Hospital, is located on the border of Minnesota and South Dakota. Appointments are shared between facilities to fit the needs of pregnant women and telehealth allows for neonatal and obstetric care available at the push of a button. These partnerships allow for OB delivery of care that addresses the unique needs of women in their own rural settings.
Within 8 years of finishing his residency and returning to his hometown, Dr. Bob became the senior partner of the practice and has been there since, committed to providing quality health care to Ortonville and beyond. Dr. Bob is a parent, a foster parent, the local high school sports physician, the church nursery attendant, the Big Stone County Coroner, a mentor to University of Minnesota Medical School Rural Physician Associates Program and a Charter Board Member of the Big Stone Health Care Foundation which provides scholarships to students wanting to work in health care.

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