2013 Oregon Rural Health Hero Award announced

10/23/13  Portland, Ore.

The Oregon Office of Rural Health at Oregon Health & Science University has awarded the 2013 Oregon Rural Health Hero Award to Verna Pettyjohn of Burns, Ore. The award honors an outstanding person, program or organization that has improved the quality and availability of health care in rural communities.

Since November 2005, Verna Pettyjohn has been a dedicated, committed Medicare counselor and advocate for Harney County. She averages 180 client contacts per year, assisting people with all manner of health care access and Medicare information needs.

Pettyjohn spends at least 20 hours a week counseling clients, developing and implementing program outreach, training other volunteer counselors, grant writing and coordinating the SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) program.

Without Verna’s total dedication to this program and to meeting her clients’ needs, many would go without lifesaving medications, unable to afford a doctor’s visit, and would end up paying for medical services that would have been covered by insurance if they only had access to the correct information.

Verna will receive her award at the 2013 Oregon Rural Health Conference on Thursday, Oct, 24, 2013, at the Double Tree by Hilton, Lloyd Center, Portland, Ore.

About OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only public academic health and research university. As one of Oregon's largest employers with more than 14,000 employees, OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support not found anywhere else in the state. OHSU serves patients from every corner of Oregon and is a conduit for learning for more than 4,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.