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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Nurse to oversee U.S. clinics

February 21, 2009|Times Wire Reports

President Obama named a North Dakota nurse and expert on rural health to run the government's community clinics program.

Mary Wakefield, 54, will lead the Health Resources and Services Administration, which oversees some 7,000 community clinics that serve low-income and uninsured people. It also runs the government's Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, providing medical care and medications for 530,000 low-income patients.

Wakefield most recently directed the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota. She said in an interview that her first priority will be to allocate the $2.5 billion the agency received in economic stimulus funds to refurbish health centers and hire doctors and nurses.

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