NRHA Rural Health Students Group
NRHA's Student Constituency Group is comprised of student members, who are the future workforce and leaders in rural America.
As members, students can come together with their peers, educators, administrators, health professionals and other stakeholders to create a dialogue about rural health and related issues, such as workforce and policy.
NRHA’s Student Constituency Group is overseen by a board of students who are elected each year. The board assists in recruitment, plans NRHA’s Annual Rural Health Conference student track and promotes rural health issues.
Want to get involved?
Email NRHA’s student outreach coordinators. We're eager to get students and schools involved and provide updates on future NRHA leadership opportunities, including student board elections.
NRHA student board members
NRHA’s student board members are passionate about rural health and education and would love to hear from you. Below are bios about each of our current board members with contact information.
2023 NRHA Student CG Board
Student Constituency Group Chair
Eneka is currently a medical student in the Leadership in Rural Medicine Program at Michigan State College of Human Medicine (MSUCHM). Born and raised in Hong Kong, she earned a BS at Duke University in a major she designed: Global Perspectives of Maternal and Child Health. At Duke, she was a member and captain of the varsity Swimming & Diving Team. After her undergraduate studies, Eneka served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Guyana for 3.5 years, then earned a master's degree in physiology from Georgetown University. At MSUCHM, Eneka is pursuing research interests related to vulnerable populations, obstetrics and gynecology, medical genetics and fetal neurodevelopment. Through the past decade, Eneka has paved a path towards a career in medicine as a primary care physician committed to serving marginalized and vulnerable communities. For rejuvenation, Eneka enjoys trail running, hiking, biking, swimming and generally exploring. She also loves traveling, spending time with friends and family members, March Madness and documentaries.
Becki Ernst is returning to the NRHA student board this year as the Vice Chair. She is a third-year medical student at the University of Missouri and is an active member of their Rural Track program. She grew up in rural Northwest Missouri and is passionate about access to maternity care in rural areas.
Kathryn Williams is a Master of Social Work student at West Virginia University. She is a lifelong Kentucky resident who is passionate about behavioral health in rural Appalachia. Kathryn graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2020 with degrees in Arabic Language and Philosophy. Kathryn's research focuses on the implementation of universal mental health interventions in rural schools. Kathryn's work experience includes leading community coalitions focused on the intersection of public health and food security and writing community health improvement plans for rural communities. Kathryn is part of the Rural Integrated Behavioral Health Training program at WVU and will graduate with her MSW in 2024. Outside of her studies, Kathryn enjoys working on her family’s cattle farm, practicing her Arabic, and spending time with her 4 cats.
Rural Medical Education Liaison
Sarah Scott is currently a second year medical student at Boonshoft School of Medicine where she is part of the rural tract. She considers herself a non-traditional medical student, as she spent a significant period of time teaching high school then working as a cytology tech aide and later a pathology assistant while working on her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience which she completed in 2021 from Wright State University. Sarah is an NHSC scholar who plans to spend her future career serving rural and underserved areas under the umbrella of family medicine, but also providing emergency and OB care to her patients. Outside of medicine, her passion is travel, having currently visited thirteen different countries around the world and thirty-nine of the US states. She also enjoys anything which allows her to enjoy the outdoors, including hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, or just enjoying a bonfire with a group of friends.
Bradley is currently a third-year medical student in the Rural Physician Leadership Program at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He grew up in the small town of Russellville, Ky., and received a Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology with a concentration in Public Health from Oglethorpe University. Bradley is a graduate assistant for the Journal of Appalachian Health, and he is a current research fellow in the UK Department of Family and Community Medicine where he is investigating aggregated community health needs assessments in Kentucky. He is a prior health communications specialist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 Response where he led inter-agency rural health communications initiatives, as well as outreach to the State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Work Group. Bradley is a National Health Service Corps Scholar and will be pursuing a career in rural primary care, with hopes of practicing in Central Appalachia.
Katie is currently a third-year medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School, having completed her first two years on the Duluth campus. Katie is proud to be from the Iron Range in rural northeastern Minnesota. Her home community inspires her advocacy for healthcare and human services systems improvement that promotes the health of all who call the rural U.S. “home.” Katie earned a BA in Biological Sciences, Legal Studies, and Psychology at Northwestern University and a JD with certificates in Child and Family Law, Health Law, and Public Interest Law at Loyola University Chicago. She has over a decade of professional, community leadership, and volunteer experience in law, healthcare including mental healthcare, human services, child advocacy, and non-profit leadership across rural, urban, and suburban settings. Katie hopes to help lead community-driven change that promotes rural health; to empower the next generation of rural health professionals; and to help unite communities across the rural and urban U.S. When she’s not talking about rural health, Katie is a huge college sports fan, loves spending time at the lake, and curates exceptional Spotify playlists.
Region 1 Coordinator
My Name is Catalina Yepez and I am currently a third year student in the WSU Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical sciences program. I am also in the Rural Health Initiative which is where I want to focus my career in. I currently live in a small rural town called Prosser and commute daily to school about fifty minutes. My goals this year are to learn as much as I can about the significance of Rural Health and how I can contribute to rural health and rural communities near my hometown. I want to gain experience in working with rural communities so that I can get to know more about the barriers that they face and how the experience from my rural hometown can contribute to serving other communities. By being a part of the National Rural Health Association, I will learn more about the meaning of rural health and of ways that I can contribute to fill in the health disparity gaps. I also want to connect with other students and learn from them and their experiences.
Region 2 Coordinator
Garrett is currently a second-year MD/MPH student in the Rural Primary Care Track Program at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee Knoxville where he majored in Nutrition with a minor in both Biology and Political Science. Before matriculating into Medical School, Garrett taught Biology at a rural high school, worked as a nutritional health educator, and worked with Remote Area Medical (RAM) to bring a free clinic to his hometown in East Tennessee. In his free time, Garrett enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, running, and trying new local restaurants and coffee spots. Garrett is currently pursuing a career in Family Medicine and is passionate about serving the underserved and rural communities he grew up in.
Region 3 Coordinator
Jess is currently a 3rd-year medical student at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. She is in the Frontier and Rural Medicine program where she is doing her 3rd year in a town of 3,600 people. Growing up in a town of 189 people and being exposed to the scarcity of care associated with that has inspired Jess to practice full-scope Family Medicine with Obstetrics. Jess will be working in Huron, SD after residency. She hopes to build the rural health education available to medical students in this area. She is also passionate about bringing others into healthcare and is currently working on Standing Rock Reservation to recruit EMS providers to the ambulance services there. She is also researching the impact that medical education in high school has on the pursuit of a career in healthcare. Jess is a 1st Lieutenant in the South Dakota Army National Guard and will continue to serve her state and country throughout medical school and residency, with plans to deploy for medical missions after. Outside of medicine, Jess enjoys lifting, hunting and fishing, spending time on the farm, and playing her guitar.
Region 4 Coordinator
Andrew Nerland is currently a third-year medical student at University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine and serves as the Region 6 coordinator. He is participating in the Frontier and Rural Medicine Program at the Sanford School of Medicine, a rural medical education track which allows students at the Sanford School of Medicine to participate in their clinical rotations through full scope rural medicine. He attended the University of South Dakota for his undergraduate degree where he majored in Medical Biology and Psychology and minored in History. He is interested in pursuing Family Medicine and Psychiatry, and he has a strong interest in rural medicine. He aims to provide high-quality care to traditionally underserved patient populations. Through his position at the NRHA, Andrew’s goal is to connect with other medical students in the region who hope to make a positive contribution to the future of rural medicine.
Region 5 Coordinator
Sierra is a third-year medical student at Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic medicine at Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Religious Studies in 2021. Sierra has a passion for serving underserved communities and has been a part of global medicine trips and treating patients from various backgrounds. As a member of the Creek Nation, she also has a passion for tribal communities and providing better health care options. Outside of school Sierra enjoys reading and playing with her two golden retrievers Arthur and Phoebe.
Region 6 Coordinator
Brenden is currently a third-year medical student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson and is a part of the rural health, commitment to underserved populations, and research distinction tracts. As an Arizona native, he received his undergraduate degree in physiology from the University of Arizona. Brenden hopes to practice within primary care, aiming to further specialize to better serve and address the disparities that exist for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In his free time, Brenden enjoys boxing and giving campus tours, sharing the origin story of "Bear Down."
Region 7 Coordinator
Michael T. Sauseda is a dedicated and accomplished professional with a diverse background and a strong commitment to patient care and advancing rural healthcare practices. Hailing from Washington State University's College of Pharmacy in Spokane, Washington, he has forged a unique path in the healthcare field. Michael's educational journey includes a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from the University of West Virginia, Charleston, showcasing his unwavering dedication to personal growth and lifelong learning. Beyond his professional pursuits, Michael is deeply engaged in various professional organizations, where he has assumed leadership roles and become a driving force for change. His passion is particularly evident in his commitment to philanthropy and recruitment, as he strives to bring a rural healthcare perspective to the forefront of these organizations. In summary, Michael T. Sauseda is an individual dedicated to rural healthcare, leveraging his diverse background to contribute significantly to the field of pharmacy. His unwavering commitment to patient care, education, and philanthropy makes him an invaluable asset in improving healthcare access and outcomes in rural communities.
Ashli Chew is currently a second-year medical student at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine and serves as NRHA’s Communication Coordinator. Growing up in a small Middle Tennessee town, Ashli’s passion for rural healthcare and other medically underserved communities was conceptualized at a young age and fervently continues today. She participates in the Rural Primary Care Track (RPCT) program at Quillen, which allows her to experience the state of medical care in surrounding rural communities and to build upon the knowledge and skills necessary to enact durable improvements. She attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry, served on the executive council of the UTC Pre-medical Society, and remained active in her search for solutions to rural healthcare access. Before beginning medical school, she obtained her master’s degree in pharmacology from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Ashli’s current research interests include expanding incentivization for attracting physicians and other healthcare professionals to rural communities and improving ambulance response rates in less developed areas. With her role as a medical student and eventually as a physician, she plans to contribute to the development of new policies benefitting rural communities. Ashli enjoys travelling, working out at CrossFit, and spending time with her friends and family. She hopes to one day build her own home and animal farm with her fiancé, somewhere in Tennessee.