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SMOC's Erbes receives Rural Health Hero Award

Donna Erbes, health services director at the Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council Family Planning Program in Worthington, is shown with her Rural Health Hero Award. (Special to The Globe)

DULUTH — Donna Erbes, health services director at the Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council Family Planning Program in Worthington, received the Rural Health Hero Award during the recent 2018 Minnesota Rural Health Awards event.

The Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Rural Health Association and Duluth-based National Rural Health Resource Center presented the awards, which are given each year at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference. The Minnesota Department of Health's Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, the Minnesota Rural Health Association and the National Rural Health Resource Center host the conference; this year’s focus was “Communities: The Heart of Health.”

Erbes is a leader in the field of reproductive health care in Minnesota. Recognizing that access to health care is a health disparities issue, Erbes expanded SMOC’s service area from eight to 15 counties during her tenure. Knowing that rural areas must actively work to recruit and maintain their health care workforce, Erbes volunteers as a preceptor for aspiring registered nursing students and has served on advisory boards for various Minnesota colleges and universities.

More information about award winners is available online at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/orhpc/conf/index.html.