U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small today announced that Kellie Kubena has been designated to serve as USDA’s Rural Health Liaison, a position created by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill. The role is administered by the USDA Rural Development Innovation Center.
In her role, Kubena will work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve the health of rural communities by expanding access to health care and sharing data and information about relevant departmental programs with stakeholders, partners and customers. The role ensures that USDA is well positioned to address the growing health care needs in rural communities.
Kubena has served as the Acting Rural Health Liaison since 2021. She has also served as the Deputy Chief Innovation Officer for USDA Rural Development since 2019. Previously, she served as the Director of the Engineering and Environmental Staff for USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Programs in the Rural Utilities Service. During her tenure in the Rural Utilities Service, she also served as the Acting Assistant Administrator for Water and Environmental Programs in 2017 and the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Telecommunications Program in 2018. Prior to joining USDA, Kubena served in various positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 17 years, focusing on risk assessment, water quality regulations and sanitation infrastructure. Kubena holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries with a minor in oceanography from Texas A&M University. She also holds a master’s degree in fisheries from the University of Washington.
Kubena starts her role today. USDA encourages rural health stakeholders to reach out to Kubena in her new role to build upon existing partnerships and facilitate new ones.
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