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The Maryland Rural Health Association presented its 2012 rural health awards on Oct. 18 as part of the organization’s annual conference, “Maryland Rural Health Care: Casting a Wider Net in a Sea of Limited Resources,” at Hilton Garden Inn in the Solomons area. The conference brought together more than 80 rural health stakeholders for the two-day event.

The Maryland Rural Health Association is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate and advocate for the optimal health of rural communities and their residents and is made up of rural community members and organizations. Nominations for the rural health awards were solicited from across the rural regions of the state and selected by a diverse committee of rural health leaders.

Dr. Garner Morgan, a practicing dentist in Southern Maryland for more than 30 years, received the Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner Award.

Morgan was the project director of the first Southern Maryland Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic held at Chopticon High School in Morganza in June. The event generated 450 general volunteers, 80 dental volunteers, 60 dental hygienists volunteers and $65,000 in donated funds. More than 650 patients were treated during the two-day event and more than $900,000 worth of dental care was given.

Sen. Roy Dyson (D-St. Mary’s, Calvert, Charles) nominated Morgan for the award. “Through his quiet good works he shows a special concern for people and his community… Our state needs more dependable health care providers of his caliber to serve on the front lines of those in need,” Dyson said in his nomination.

More about MRHA, the rural health awards and the annual conference can be found at www.mdruralhealth.org.