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Rita Osborn - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Rita Osborn Rita Osborn

Executive Director of Utah Center for Rural Health | Southern Utah University

Cedar City, UT, UNITED STATES

Specializing in rural Utah healthcare, community building, and project management.

Biography

Rita Osborn is the executive director of the Utah Center for Rural Health. Osborn founded the highly successful Rural Health Scholars program at Southern Utah University, significantly broadening learning opportunities for undergraduate students and raising acceptance rates to graduate health professional programs. The program has since expanded to Dixie State University and Snow College.

She has written and overseen successful grants and contracts to support many programs, including two recent $1 million federal grants to address the opioid crisis in several rural counties in Utah. Osborn founded the Free Clinic that operated in Cedar City until 2013 when it became a Federally Qualified Health Center. She continued to chair or serve on the board for the Family Health Center that operates five clinics in the region.

Osborn is most passionate about assisting and advising students who aspire for health career careers, particularly for first-generation students who hail from rural or disadvantaged backgrounds. She is always enthused when such students matriculate to graduate programs, believing that we are helping to change our health care system in some small way. She also serves on statewide entities that include the Workforce Task Force with the Utah Hospital Association, the Utah Telemedicine Advisory Council, the Rural Health Association of Utah, along with others.

Osborn’s thesis addressed health care shortages and challenges in southern Utah. She volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and works with foster children, leading to recent recognition as Iron County's CASA Advocate of the Year. In partnership with a local faith-based organization and drawing upon USDA federal grants, Osborn created and oversees summer lunch and after-school food programs in Iron County that for over a decade have fed hundreds of children daily.

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Industry Expertise (1)

Health Care - Providers

Areas of Expertise (7)

Community Health Programs

Rural Health Care Access & Delivery

Property Management

Healthcare

Grants

Community Building

Utah's Opioid Crisis

Education (2)

Southern Utah University: M.A., Business Administration

California State University at San Bernardino: B.A., Public Administration

Accomplishments (5)

Achievement in Experiential Learning Award

Southern Utah university, 2014

Utah Campus Compact Engaged Scholar

Southern Utah University, 2007

Thunderbird Advisor of the Year

Southern Utah University, 2007, 2009, 2012

CASA Advocate of the Year

Iron County

Hero in Healthcare Award

Family Healthcare, 2018

Affiliations (8)

  • Primary Care Statutory Committee
  • Utah TeleHealth Network Committee
  • Solid Rock, International, Governing Board
  • With Love, From Strangers, Governing Board
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Volunteer
  • Family Healthcare – Community Health Centers – Board Chair
  • Southwest Utah CHC – Board of Directors, Finance Committee, Public Relations Committee
  • Rocky Vista College of Osteopathic Medicine Start up Task Force and Admissions Selection Committee

Media Appearances (3)

Southern Utah University awarded grant to help rural Southern Utahns with opioid addiction

Cedar City News  online

2020-09-04

Southern Utah University has been awarded a $1 million HRSA federal grant to help in the effort to battle opioid addiction in rural Southern Utah. “In our rural communities, we know that stigma, the need to stay employed and raising your family keeps many people from seeking recovery services,” Rita Osborn, executive director of SUU’s Utah Center for Rural Health, said in a news release.

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SUU Receives $1 Million Grant from HHS to Combat the Opioid Crisis

SUU News  online

2019-08-20

“The grant will give the Consortium the necessary funding over the next three years to better equip rural healthcare providers and organizations to help provide services equal to what patients may find in urban areas,” states Rita Osborn, executive director of the Center for Rural Health and principal investigator for the grant.

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SUU Opioid Response Planning Grant

Utah Department of Health  online

2018-11-06

The Utah Center for Rural Health (UCRH) at Southern Utah University has received a planning grant of $200,000 for combating the opioid use disorder. The grant was awarded in September as part of series of grants from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) aimed at combating the opioid crisis.

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Research Grants (2)

HRSA Rural Network Planning Grant

Health Resources and Services Administration $1M

Southern Utah University has been awarded a federal grant to help battle the Opioid epidemic impacting rural America. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded nearly $1 million to SUU’s Utah Center for Rural Health. This investment will enable the HRSA-funded rural organizations to establish and expand access to integrated substance use disorder and mental health services.

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Opioid Response Program-Planning Grant

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at the Health Resources and Services Administration $200,000

The Utah Center for Rural Health (UCRH) at Southern Utah University has received a planning grant of $200,000 for combating the opioid use disorder. The grant was awarded in September as part of series of grants from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) aimed at combating the opioid crisis.

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