In my experience, rural Americans often don’t receive the same resources or opportunities as those in more urban areas. My family and I live in Beatrice, Nebraska, and as a physician, Doane University faculty member, and founder and executive director of the Institute for Human and Planetary Health at Doane, I’m working hard to change the fact that rural people have rarely been first on the list when it comes to resource distribution and opportunity while rural people and communities are critical to our society. They feed our cities, and as such, the Center's work makes rural life not only better, but possible, allowing for our society to continue to function.
I have lived in both an urban and a rural environment and much prefer rural life, and I want to preserve that life for my children. However, for me, the meaning of the Center's work goes much deeper than that. Humanity faces some existential threats that we can only survive over the long term if we have strong rural communities that are, to some degree, self-sufficient and sustainable. The work and volunteering I do is all focused on that.
Some very talented and thoughtful people serve the Center, and I’ve had the privilege to work with them since 2019 when I joined the Board. I hope more young people will develop an interest in the work and help the Center continue to grow, expanding its visibility and providing more opportunities to more people.
The anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” I believe in this wholeheartedly, and to me, this quote captures the essence of the Center completely.