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Rural Health ‘Hero of the Year’ announced

Pat Neal of Depoe Bay, Ore., has been awarded the 2011 Hero of the Year Award by the Oregon Office of Rural Health at Oregon Health & Science University. The award is given annually to an individual who has had a major impact on rural health in Oregon.

“Pat Neal is a wonderful hero,” says Scott Ekblad, director of the Oregon Office of Rural Health at OHSU. “She is currently involved in 10 different health care committees in her community. She is working as hard today as she did before she retired.”

In addition to her committee work, Pat, 80, also volunteers as an instructor for the AARP Driver Safety program for seniors, as a class leader for the local Living Well with Chronic Conditions program, and as a member of the Community Emergency Response Team. She has been a leader in the Community Health Improvement Program (CHIP), a strong advocate for expanded School Based Health Centers around reproductive health, as well as a planner for the Let’s Go Lincoln County, a summertime campaign to encourage physical activity and good nutrition.

“Because of Pat’s involvement in community health over the years, lives have improved in Lincoln County,” says Julia Young-Lorion, Lincoln County CHIP coordinator. “Her public service and dedication to her community has continued strong for over 20 years and there is no indication that she intends to stop. She is compassionate, dedicated, professional and a motivating person to be around. She is truly a Rural Health Hero.”

Pat will receive the 2011 Hero Award at the 27th Annual Rural Health Conference Sept. 21 – 23, 2011, at the Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend, Ore.

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