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Rita Plourde, CEO of Sawtooth Mountain Clinic to retire, Successor is being sought.

Feb 05, 2019 09:32AM ● By Editor

(GRAND MARAIS, MN – February 4, 2019)  Sawtooth Mountain Clinic announced today that its long time Chief Executive Officer Rita Plourde will be retiring and that the Executive Committee of its Board of Directors has begun recruitment of her successor.

Plourde will step down as Executive Director sometime in the summer of 2019 as she manages the transition to her replacement.  The retirement announcement was anticipated for some time and the Board of Directors has been working on plans for an orderly transfer of responsibilities to her successor. 

“We have all benefited from Rita’s many years of dedicated service and her commitment to quality healthcare in Cook County,” said Carol DeSain, President of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Board of Directors, “Under Rita’s leadership, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic has consistently maintained its status as a Federally Qualified Community Health Center  to meet the needs of Cook County and the Grand Portage Reservation.”

“I want to express my deep appreciation for the opportunity to work with and benefit from so many talented and dedicated colleagues,” said Ms. Plourde, “My job has allowed me to work with many professional health care givers and an incredible support staff. I will miss them and their incredible commitment and passion for keeping our community healthy. I leave confident they will carry on the tradition of excellence we have delivered for 40 years in Cook County.”

Plourde joined Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in 1981 and she was responsible for recruiting and retaining physicians and support staff to provide comprehensive primary care services, securing funding for health care operations and establishing and maintaining public health services.  She is currently Board Chairman of the Northern Minnesota Network and past Board President of the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers.  Prior to joining Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, she has also served as a consultant and held several positions with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  She holds Masters Degree from the University of Minnesota.

Over the years, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic has grown to include six full-time physicians and one nurse practitioner. Along with a highly professional staff of nurses, behavioral health practitioners, medical record and office personnel, and administrative staff, these seven providers care for patients with health care needs ranging from prenatal to palliative. Supplemented by a robust Outreach and Community Health Program, the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic also offers services such as blood pressure screenings, foot care and flu shot clinics, childbirth education, and the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program.

After 40 years of service to the people of Cook County, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic remains dedicated to the continuation of personal, compassionate, high-quality health care for all, regardless of their ability to pay.  Sawtooth Mountain Clinic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  The Clinic first opened its doors, as a federally qualified health clinic, in June 1979.


Contact:  Sue Nordman, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, 219-387-2330

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