President Barack Obama named Mary Wakefield administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration in February 2009. At HRSA, which has a budget of $8.4 billion for 2013, Wakefield leads efforts to work with providers and community programs to improve access to healthcare services for the needy, uninsured and isolated. That includes training programs for healthcare professionals serving in rural communities. Wakefield, who began her career as a nurse, served as chief of staff to two North Dakota senators and as director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University. She also was on the faculty of the University of North Dakota as associate dean for rural health in its School of Medicine & Health Sciences.