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National Rural Health Day: “Power of Rural”


Dr Ayala Community Star Award[1]On November 19, Adventist Health in the Central Valley will observe National Rural Health Day to recognize the providers and employees who keep our communities healthy. Adventist Health’s network of rural health clinics is the largest in California and one of the largest in the nation.

National Rural Health Day was founded by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) to showcase rural America and increase awareness of rural health-related challenges, such as access to care, an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions and larger percentages of uninsured and underinsured citizens.

Every year during National Rural Health Day, NOSORH presents Community Star awards to individuals serving rural communities who support rural health collaboration, communication, education, or innovation. This year, the award was bestowed upon Raul Ayala, MD, MHCM, ambulatory medical director for Adventist Health in the Central Valley. Ayala, who leads the clinical integration for over 50 rural health clinics in the Central Valley, is the sole recipient of the Community Star award in California.

“Dr. Ayala has spent the last seven years caring for rural patients in the Central Valley and collaborating with community partners to tackle health disparities,” says Andrew Jahn, Care Division president for Adventist Health, a nonprofit faith-based health system that serves more than 80 communities in California, Oregon and Hawaii. “He is transforming care by implementing screening into every clinic visit including screenings for food insecurity, home insecurity, depression, diabetes, asthma, mental health and heart disease. He’s definitely a star in our eyes.”

One innovation project Ayala is currently overseeing is the creation of virtual care for the homeless. During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual visits were expanded across Adventist Health medical offices. As a result, Ayala and his team collaborated with a local non-profit organization to provide virtual visits for homeless camps in Selma and Sanger. Patients may visit Ayala at Complex Care clinics in Hanford and Selma.

Commemorative Letter from Gov. Gavin Newsom

Thank You video from Attorney General Xavier Becerra:

To learn more about rural health clinics throughout Adventist Health in the Central Valley, visit

Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found at

To learn more about NOSORH, visit