Vernon Memorial Healthcare (VMH) has announced that general practitioner Dr. Deborah Prior is the recipient of the 2022 Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) Rural Health Ambassador Award. The award was presented by RWHC Director of Contracting Michael Ballinger and VMH Director of Clinics Angie Dahl during a ceremony at VMH on Friday, May 13.
RWHC’s Ambassador Award recognizes employees at member hospitals who have promoted their respective organizations and made noticeable contributions to rural health care.
One of Dr. Prior’s nominations from her VMH co-workers included the following comment, “She is deeply committed to promoting health beyond the walls of the clinic. In her work as medical director for area schools and Medical Advisor to the Vernon County, she has provided a much-needed expert perspective on pressing health questions. In addition, her contributions to local newspapers have educated the public on everything from the benefits of breastfeeding to the latest updates in COVID vaccine guidelines.”
Another nomination stated, “Dr. Prior’s enthusiasm for working in our rural community is an inspiration to many. For decades, our community has benefited from her talents and leadership as a true ambassador of rural health.”
Carrie Blum, Vice President of Clinical Support shares, “Dr. Prior is an amazing doctor who goes above and beyond for both her patients and her team. She has an incredible work ethic, and she is willing to get involved and share her expertise and experience with her colleagues and team. I am in awe of her dedication to patient care. VMH is lucky to have her on the team!”
Dr. Prior attended medical school at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She completed an internship in rural Newfoundland and began practicing medicine in Nova Scotia. She wanted to continue to practice rural medicine and chose to relocate to the midwestern United States for the similarity in culture and seasons. She says, “I love my practice here. I see a wide variety of patients from birth all the way to geriatrics. I always pictured medicine to be more than 9-5 for me.”
One of the ways this is shown is in her dedication to obstetrics. To date, Dr. Prior has delivered over 1500 babies during her career at VMH.
“The fact that I was nominated by my peers for this award is truly what means the most. To hear them speak about my work over the years has made quite an impact on me. I am truly honored.”