Pennsylvania Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. Receives Rural Health Legislator of the Year Award

Pennsylvania Senator Elder Vogel, Jr. received the Rural Health Legislator of the Year Award, presented by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH). The award was presented by Lisa Davis, director of PORH and outreach associate professor of health policy and administration at Penn State, during a ceremony on Nov. 15, 2022, at the Main Capitol Building in Harrisburg, PA.

The Rural Health Legislator of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding legislator from Pennsylvania for their work and support of rural health initiatives that address an identified need in their district or across the state.

The award was presented during 2022 Rural Health Week in Pennsylvania, Nov. 14-18. The week encompasses Nov. 17, which is National Rural Health Day, established in 2011 by the National Organization of the State Offices of Rural Health. Both events celebrate “The Power of Rural” by honoring rural American residents, health care providers, and communities.

The nomination, submitted by Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, recognized Vogel for recognizing and addressing the mental health needs of the agricultural community and bringing statewide and community attention to this important issue. As a fourth-generation farmer, Vogel is abundantly aware of the significance of this issue and the missed cries for help. He continues to discuss, share helpful resources, and advocate for the farming community. Vogel also is a compelling advocate of telemedicine for agricultural and rural communities. He sponsored legislation that has defined telemedicine and provided opportunities for rural areas to receive specialized care, including mental health services, without traveling outside the community.

PORH was formed in 1991 as a joint partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Penn State. The office is one of 50 state offices of rural health in the nation and is charged with being a source of coordination, technical assistance, networking, and partnership development.

PORH provides expertise in the areas of rural health, population health, quality improvement, oral health, and agricultural health and safety. PORH is administratively located in the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State University Park.

Each year, PORH presents awards to recognize rural health programs and individuals who have made substantial contributions to rural health in Pennsylvania. To learn more about the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, visit