College of
Human
Medicine

Wendling receives National Rural Health Association’s 2020 Outstanding Educator Award

July 1, 2020

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has named Andrea Wendling, MD, recipient of its 2020 Outstanding Educator Award. Wendling serves as director of rural medicine and professor of family medicine in the College of Human Medicine.

“This national award recognizes Dr. Wendling’s tremendous accomplishment of building the premier rural medicine program in the country,” said Aron Sousa, interim dean of the College of Human Medicine.

Since 2012, Wendling has headed the rural medicine program, recruiting students, teaching them, and encouraging them to practice in small towns and rural areas, among the most underserved parts of the country.

“I am honored to receive this award from the National Rural Health Association,” said Wendling. “This award recognizes exactly what I do and is on behalf of an organization that supports the same mission.”

One of her former students, Shelby Owens, MD, a 2020 graduate now starting a family medicine residency at Mayo Clinic, nominated Wendling for the award.

“Dr. Wendling is a rural health warrior,” she wrote. “She is a true inspiration for rural students, residents, educators, and researchers.”

In honoring her, the National Rural Health Association noted that, in addition to directing the college’s Leadership in Rural Medicine Program, Wendling developed a pipeline program for rural undergraduate students, grooming them for medical school.

In the eight years that Wendling has directed the program, 220 students have enrolled in the Leadership in Rural Medicine program.