Arne Vainio, MD
Family Physician, Min No Aya Win Human Services Center
Dr. Vainio was born in Chisholm and is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. He entered the University of Minnesota Medical School – Duluth and graduated in 1994. Dr. Vainio completed his Family Practice Residency Program in Seattle, Washington and has been employed as a Family Practice Physician at the Min No Aya Win Human Services Center on the Fond du Lac Ojibwe Reservation in Cloquet, Minnesota since September of 1997. He is a member of the Association of American Family Physicians and the Association of American Indian Physicians. Dr. Vainio is the recipient of the following awards: National Indian Health Service Director’s Award, National Diabetes Physician’s Recognition Award, the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s Early Distinguished Career Award, and the 2016 Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award. He is featured in the 2009 Emmy nominated American Indian health documentary film, “Walking Into The Unknown”. He is also a columnist for the national News From Indian Country and Indianz.com newspapers, and is featured in WDSE’s Native Report’s “Health Matters” segment.
Edward Ehlinger, MD, MSPH
Minnesota Commissioner of Health
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton appointed Edward Ehlinger, MD, MSPH, to serve as Minnesota Commissioner of Health in January, 2011. Dr. Ehlinger directs the work of the Minnesota Department of Health, the state’s lead public health agency, which is responsible for protecting, maintaining and improving the health of all Minnesotans. Commissioner Ehlinger was director and chief health officer for Boynton Health Service at the University of Minnesota (1995-2011). He has also served as an adjunct professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and director of Personal Health Services for the Minneapolis Health Department.
Alana D. Knudson, PhD, EdM
Program Area Director and Co-Director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis
Alana D. Knudson serves as a Program Area Director and is the Co-Director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. Knudson’s expertise includes 20 years of experience in rural health research, public health systems research, health services research and evaluation projects. She has conducted numerous health services and health policy studies and public health projects funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her project findings have informed state, tribal, and federal health policy. Prior to joining NORC, Knudson was the associate director for Research at the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Knudson also served as the senior director for Public Health Information and Infrastructure Policy at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.