University News

SUU’s Rita Osborn Named Utah Rural Health Community Star

Published: December 16, 2019 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Category: Academics

Rita OsbornAnnounced on National Rural Health Day, Southern Utah University’s Rita Osborn has been named as a National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health’s (NOSORH) Community Star for the state of Utah. Published each year, the collection of Community Star stories honors those working in rural health and making a difference in the communities they serve. 

“These stories illuminate the commitment, compassion, resourcefulness, innovation, and creative collaboration that is the real Power of Rural,” said Teryl Eisinger, NOSORH chief executive officer. “The Community Stars selected to feature this year are the faces beyond the data. They are a picture of the positive aspects of life in rural America.”

As the executive director of both the Utah Center for Rural Health at SUU and the Southern Utah Area Health Education Centers program, Osborn’s goal is to expand access to rural health through education and workforce development. During her time in the industry, she has secured more than $4.2 million in grants and contract funding to support her goals. 

“I’m humbled and honored to accept this award and share it with the many partners that we have developed in rural Utah to better the quality of health for those who live here,” said Osborn. “Increasing the opportunities for better healthcare, including expanding our health workforce has been my passion.”

Utilizing her years of experience in the industry, Osborn has brought together providers and stakeholders from near and far to make progress in fighting the opioid epidemic. Under the umbrella of the Utah Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium (UROHC), Osborn has created a collaborative environment for providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, public and behavioral health organizations and nonprofits to coordinate resources and expertise. 

In August 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded nearly $1 million to SUU’s Utah Center for Rural Health. Osborn was the principal investigator for the grant, with the goal to help battle the opioid epidemic impacting rural America. The grant will give the UROHC the funding to better equip rural healthcare organizations to help provide services equal to those that patients in urban areas would receive.  

Osborn feels a sense of duty to serve those community members who want to take ownership of their problems and solutions. She understands each of the 19 counties that fall under her leadership is different, and she works diligently to treat each one with attention to detail and an abundance of respect. 

National Rural Health Day (NRHD) was founded by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health as an opportunity to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” by honoring the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit that prevails in rural America. 


Tags: Staff Center for Rural Health

Contact Information:

David Bishop
435-586-5400
davidbishop@suu.edu