EDA coordinator appointed to rural health board

By Per Peterson

Jeff Carpenter

Tracy EDA Coordinator Jeff Carpenter will soon be a voice for southwest Minnesota — and in particular, Tracy — on a state health board.

Carpenter has been appointed to Gov. Tim Walz’s Rural Health Advisory Committee, a statewide forum that deals with rural health issues.

Carpenter sees the move as an opportunity to get Tracy on the map.

“For me, I want people to know where Tracy is at,” he said. “I believe that southwest Minnesota — and many places outside the metro — get forgotten.”

The committee, which serves under the umbrella of the Minnesota Department of Health, is made up of 15 members who represent licensed health care and higher education professionals, legislative officials and consumers. Carpenter is one of three consumers — the only such representative from this corner of the state. Southwest Minnesota is also represented on the board by District 22A Rep. Joe Schomacker of Luverne.

The board also includes representatives from the cities of Duluth (higher education), Rochester (consumer), Wabasha (hospitals), Albany (physician), Olivia (mid-level practitioner), Alexandria (registered nurse), Brainerd (licensed healthcare professional) and Bemidji (EMS).

Members of the committee serve four-year terms.

Carpenter said he is looking forward to being a voice of this area, and said Sanford Tracy representatives share that sentiment.

“They called and said they heard there were a couple things going on in Tracy and asked if we would be interested,” Carpenter said. “I sent a note out to a couple people at Sanford (Tracy), asking if this is something you’d like someone from Tracy to do and everybody came back, saying, ‘Yes, absolutely.’”

The RHAC was formed in 1992 and serves as a forum for health concerns with goals of advising the commissioner of health and other state agencies on rural health issues; providing a systematic and cohesive approach toward rural health issues and planning; and encouraging cooperation among rural communities and among providers.