Associate Elected President of Rural Advocacy Organization

July 18, 2014

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital associate Lori Werrell, director of Health Connections, was recently elected president of the Maryland Rural Health Association (MRHA), a nonprofit organization that advocates for quality rural health care in Maryland.

Werrell, who became involved with the group in 2011 as a representative for Southern Maryland, stepped into her role as president for Fiscal Year 2015 on July 1.

“As vice president last year, it was a pleasure working with such a well-functioning organization,” Werrell said. “The dedication of the board is a testament to the importance of ensuring rural communities have access to the health care they need.”

Werrell notes that one of the group’s goals this year is to increase its membership, which consists of health departments, hospitals, community health centers, health professionals, and community members that focus on public health in rural Maryland. The group also aims to communicate their members’ views to the public.

“I want to continue to be a voice for the rural regions of the state in the healthcare conversations that are happening on a local, state and national level,” Werrell said.

A committee of rural health representatives interested in fostering rural health activities joined attendees of Maryland’s first annual Rural Health Conference to form the MHRA in January 1995. Since then, the association has continued to meet and develop goals to improve health care and reduce costs.

“During times of decreased funding and higher expectations of improving community health, MRHA is vital to rural health organizations like MedStar St. Mary’s because we advocate for increased priority funding for rural areas and solutions to healthcare workforce shortages,” said Michelle Clark, executive director of MRHA. “We are truly excited for Lori’s new leadership role — she has become a state leader in addressing the improvement of rural health in Maryland.”

About MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital

MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is a full-service community hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient and outpatient care in Leonardtown, Md. Nestled in a waterside community, MedStar St. Mary's provides advanced technology with a dedication to excellence in all services provided. The not-for-profit hospital has been named among the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals™ and is a eight time recipient of the prestigious Delmarva Medicare Excellence Award. Our staff is committed to providing quality and compassionate medical care for all patients by coupling innovation with our outstanding team of Medical Staff members, associates and volunteers. Visit to learn more.


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