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Robert Moser recognized nationally for lifetime contributions to rural health

The National Rural Health Association has recognized Moser, the former dean of KU School of Medicine-Salina, with its Louis Gorin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health.

Robert Moser stands talking to three students in a medical simulation room with a hospital bed and monitors on the walls
Former dean of KU School of Medicine-Salina and the founder of the Kansas Center for Rural Health. Moser has dedicated his entire professional life to improving the health of rural residents.

Robert Moser, M.D., the executive director of the Kansas Center for Rural Health, has devoted his entire professional life to helping rural residents. First, he was serving individual patients as a physician in rural Kansas, then he became an innovator and educator seeking creative solutions to the numerous health issues rural residents face.

“This man has lived the life of a rural individual, not just a doctor, a rural individual,” said Tyler Hughes, M.D., dean of KU School of Medicine-Salina. “He understands from the ground up the problems and disparities that occur in rural life.”

Next month, Moser will receive a national award that speaks to his accomplishments. The National Rural Health Association has chosen Moser for the Louis Gorin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health Care.

“Dr. Moser has made significant contributions to rural health care, rural access to care, and rural maternity care,” said Michael Kennedy, M.D., professor emeritus at KU School of Medicine. “He’s also led a revolution in rural medical education.”

From rural physician to rural advocate

A graduate of KU School of Medicine, Moser was a rural primary care physician in Tribune, Kansas, for 22 years. He was often the only provider in the county.

Portrait of Robert Moser, M.D.
Robert Moser, M.D.

“Moser worked to creatively solve the challenges of rural practice through medical association advocacy, rural grant projects and innovative recruitment practices,” said Jodi Schmidt, executive director of the Care Collaborative at The University of Kansas Health System. 

In 2010, Moser joined the Wichita campus of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, where he served as the rural outreach director. Moser was appointed by the governor of Kansas in 2011 to serve as the secretary and state health officer for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

Moser left KDHE in 2014 to join the faculty at KU School of Medicine on the Kansas City campus, where he also became the executive director of the Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative for The University of Kansas Health System. This project continues as the Care Collaborative today, involving more than 70 counties across the state. The Care Collaborative is a network of health care providers and care teams who use evidence-based treatment models to achieve the best outcomes to improve the health of people living in rural Kansas communities. Moser remains the medical director.

Educator and innovator

In 2019, Moser became dean of KU School of Medicine-Salina, where he served until January 2023. It was only fitting that he served as Salina dean at some point, Kennedy said, since Moser was an instrumental part of the creation of the campus years ago. With eight students admitted each year, the Salina campus of KU School of Medicine is the smallest four-year medical education site in the country.

“The University of Kansas School of Medicine campus in Salina was created to address the critical shortage of physicians in Kansas,” Kennedy said. “This innovative medical education program is aimed at students with a strong desire to practice in rural areas, and it’s been a huge success.”

In 2023, Moser became executive director of the Kansas Center for Rural Health. “Now Dr. Moser is making the vision of a Kansas Center for Rural Health a reality,” Schmidt said. “He’s digging in to do the work necessary to implement staffing plans, recruit volunteer leaders and engage rural primary care providers. He has achieved a goal many sought for decades — a true center dedicated to rural health care in Kansas.”

Moser will receive his award in May at the annual meeting of the National Rural Health Association.

“I’m grateful to my colleagues for that recognition and humbled when I think of all the other rural health stakeholders doing amazing work,” Moser said. “I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to serve rural Kansas; as I look back, I’m glad I took advantage of those and had the support of so many others to be successful.”

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