Dr. Sitorius to advise chancellor on rural health

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | September 05, 2019

Image with caption: Michael Sitorius, M.D.

Michael Sitorius, M.D.

Michael Sitorius, M.D., has been named senior adviser to the chancellor on rural health.

The chair of the UNMC Department of Family Medicine for the past 30 years, Dr. Sitorius has been interested in rural medicine since growing up as the son of a rural general practitioner in Cozad, Neb. Although he's never practiced in a rural area himself, he has been involved in rural health initiatives throughout his UNMC career, most recently taking part in the Nebraska Health Area Education Centers (AHEC), which work to recruit and train health care professionals to serve in rural areas.

"One of the things I see as my role, as we roll out the Rural Health Initiative 2030, is to interact with our rural communities, the leaders in rural areas, the critical access hospitals, the community health centers, and the other access points to health care," Dr. Sitorius said. "We want to be on target to try and meet their needs and to partner with them to educate the future health care professionals -- for all of Nebraska."

Dr. Sitorius pointed to strong existing partnerships between UNMC and rural communities in dealing with rural health manpower, access to care, and innovations that will impact rural health care, such as telehealth. He noted that rural health efforts were underway in colleges across the university, and he said he looked forward to collaborating in these efforts.

Vice Chancellor for External Relations Bob Bartee applauded Dr. Sitorius' appointment.

"Mike has been at the forefront of almost all the UNMC rural health initiatives that have been put in place over the last 30 years," Bartee said. "His willingness to continue to share his wisdom and advice on this critical issue with the chancellor and the UNMC leadership team is simply priceless."

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., called Dr. Sitorius the obvious choice for the position.

"Mike's passion for rural health care issues is well-known, and during his long career at UNMC he has a proven track record of working with rural Nebraska providers and communities to address workforce issues and explore how the med center can better meet the needs of rural Nebraska. I expect great things from him in this new role."

Dr. Sitorius also is excited about the opportunities ahead.

"I'm going to be spending a bit more time traveling through Nebraska and interacting with the communities, and that's exciting to me," he said. "Being present in the communities is critically important and something that we've always believed as we develop rural programs -- you have to be out there to understand what people are asking for, what they're looking for, and how you might be able to help meet their needs.

"I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity and appreciate the chancellor's confidence in me. I'm excited about this opportunity to help move rural health forward and to continue to serve the people of the entire state."

"For many decades, Dr. Sitorius has been a trusted and recognized leader on rural health issues impacting Nebraskans," said Dele Davies, M.D., senior vice chancellor for academic affairs. "Many of the programs that have been developed under his leadership in collaboration with rural communities across Nebraska have led to national recognition for UNMC and have been of mutual benefit to the communities. We are delighted that we will continue to get the benefit of his wisdom as he advises the chancellor on these and other health-related issues to ensure UNMC continues to be at the forefront of responsiveness to the needs of rural Nebraskans as we are for the rest of the state."

Read more about Dr. Sitorius' career.

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Christine Higgins
September 06, 2019 at 9:38 AM

Todd and I are proud of you, Si, for the talent you bring to rural Nebraska (from whence you came).

Tom O'Connor
September 05, 2019 at 2:06 PM

A perfect appointment for one of UNMC's best. Congrats, Mike!

Julie Sommer
September 05, 2019 at 12:12 PM

Dr. Sitorius is such a caring and patient provider. He is very well suited for this role. Congrats!

Sandy Goetzinger-Comer
September 05, 2019 at 11:31 AM

I'm excited for Dr. Sitorius and for UNMC. I know he will take these relationships to a new level. Congratulations!!