Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., is associate dean for rural health and director of the Center for Rural Health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks. In addition to engaging in rural health research and program development, Dr. Wakefield serves on a number of public and private health-related advisory bodies, including the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. Previously, she held administrative and legislative staff positions in the U.S. Senate. Dr. Wakefield has served as a member of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, chaired the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Health Care Quality for Rural America and the Catholic Health Initiatives Board of Trustees, served on the editorial board for the Journal of Rural Health, and was a subcommittee chair for President Clinton's Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. She has presented nationally and internationally on public policy and strategies to influence the policymaking and political process, and she has authored many articles and columns on rural health and health policy. She was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in 2004. Dr. Wakefield received her B.S. in nursing from the University of Mary, Bismarck, N.D., and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.