WASHINGTON, D.C.- President Barack Obama has appointed Dr. Mary Wakefield, one of the nation’s top rural healthcare professionals, as administrator of the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. The agency serves to deliver services to those who are uninsured or underinsured by the current healthcare system.
“Under her leadership, we will be able to expand and improve the care provided at community health centers which serve millions of uninsured Americans and address severe provider shortages across the country,” said President Obama, in a statement.
In addition to the community health centers, the agency oversees many programs that the federal government runs to bring healthcare providers to the underserved throughout the nation. These programs include:
- Primary Care for Underserved People
- Child Health Services
- Newborn Screening
- Rural Health
- Veteran Services
- Mental Health
- Smoking Cessation
Included in the new initiatives will be the allocation of $2.5 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to invest in healthcare infrastructure and train healthcare professionals, which includes grants for programs in various areas of the healthcare industry. Further detailed information about the grants and other programs can be found on the agency’s website.
In her new role as administrator, Dr. Wakefield will oversee the agency’s entire operations. To the position, she will bring experience from her current role as director of the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota.
Dr. Wakefield’s expertise include: rural healthcare, quality and patient safety, Medicare payment policy, workforce issues, and public policy. Currently, she also serves as chair of both the Institute of Medicine Committee on Health Care Quality for Rural America, and the Catholic Health Institute Board of Trustees.