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VA Names 13 to Rural Health Advisory Committee

Peake: Group Includes 'Strong Advocates' for Vets in Rural Areas

WASHINGTON, June 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake has appointed 13 people to a new Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee, which will advise him on health care issues affecting veterans in rural areas.

"This distinguished panel includes strong advocates for the needs of VA patients in rural areas," Peake said. "This is an important step in expanding access to VA's world-class health care system for veterans."

The 13-member group will examine ways to enhance Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services for veterans in rural areas by evaluating current programs and identifying barriers to health care.

The committee, chaired by James F. Ahrens, former head of the Montana Hospital Association, includes affected veterans, rural health experts in academia, state and federal professionals who focus on rural health, state-level veterans affairs officials, and leaders of veterans service organizations.

A list of the members of VA's Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee is attached.


VA's Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee

-- James F. Ahrens of Cascade, Mont. Former member of Montana

governor's task force on health care.

-- Dr. Robert Moser of Tribune, Kan. Physician who practices in rural

Kansas and Colorado.

-- Cynthia Barrigan of Centreville, Va. Veteran, now acting executive

director of Virginia Telehealth Network.

-- Charles Abramson of Missoula, Mont. Air Force veteran who served on the

medical staff ethics committee of St. Patrick Hospital.

-- Maj. Gen. John W. Libby of Sidney, Maine. Adjutant general of the Maine

National Guard.

-- Hilda Heady of Morgantown, W.Va. Social worker and associate vice

president for West Virginia Rural Health Association.

-- Dr. Ronald Franks of Theodore, Ala. Psychiatrist and vice president of

the College of Medicine at the University of South Alabama.

-- Bruce Behringer of Johnson City, Tenn. Assistant vice president at East

Tennessee State University for Rural and Community Health.

-- Rachel Gonzales Hanson of Uvalde, Texas. Member of National Association

of Community Health Centers.

-- Tom Ricketts, Ph.D., of Chapel Hill, N.C. Director of North Carolina

Rural Health Research Program.

-- Michael Dobmeier of South Grand Forks, N.D. National Judge Advocate of

the Disabled American Veterans and president of the North Dakota

Veterans Home Foundation.

-- Terry Schow of Ogden, Utah. Veteran and executive director of the Utah

Division of Veterans Affairs.

-- James Floyd of Salt Lake City. Native American and director of the Salt

Lake City VA Medical Center.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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