Weems’ CEO David Walker Named State Rural Health Leader

George E. Weems Memorial Hospital’s CEO David Walker has been named Florida’s Top 2020 Rural Health Leader from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH). According to the association, the 2020 Rural Health Community Star Recognition is a reflection on Walker’s and Weem’s commitment to providing quality healthcare in a rural setting – particularly during the nationwide COVID health crisis.

“You couldn’t have asked for better qualifications in a CEO during a pandemic.” said Bree Watzak, Director of Technical Assistance at the Center for Optimizing Rural Health. Watzak was one of two healthcare professionals that nominated Walker for the honor. Abbie Parmenter, with the Florida Department of Health, was the second professional to nominate Walker.

 In the nomination, Watzak noted that Walker has handled Franklin County’s local rural healthcare needs during the COVID crisis admirably by purchasing a one-hour COVID-19 testing machine for Franklin County’s hospital and stepped into high gear to communicate resources and plans to the community, make testing available for health and school district employees.  

Walker’s award announcement coincides with the 2020 National Rural Health Day (NRHD) – November 19, 2020 – an annual day of celebration that shines a light on those serving the vital health needs of an estimated 57 million people living in rural America.  On the third Thursday of November every year, the NOSORH leads National Rural Health Day.  Walker and Weems Memorial will appear in the 2020 edition of the book of Community Stars, published on the official NHRD website, powerofrural.org.

Reflecting on the honor, Walker said it’s all about listening and relationships. “You find the need through listening and you fill the need through cooperation. It’s all about building relationships, collaboration, partnerships and thinking out of the box,”  Walker said. “We are more diverse than most might think, but the power is in our unity.”

You can read Walker’s Community Star profile online at https://www.powerofrural.org/