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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Rural Health

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National Rural Health Policy and Community Development Cooperative Agreement

Program Overview

The purpose of the Rural Health Best Practices and Community Development Program is to develop and maintain projects that will help support rural communities through a broad range of activities which are to:

  1. identify and promote national policy issues and promising practices for rural health care providers focused on: quality of care; economic viability; access; workforce (recruitment and retention); and the changing health care environment as it relates to insurance coverage expansion;
  2. promote available resources to communities for help in shaping their local health care systems to best meet community need;
  3. promote promising practices to help rural communities with quality initiatives;
  4. identify and translate the key points from emerging policy issues to rural health care providers, researchers and policymakers;
  5. work with state-based entities such as State Offices of Rural Health (SORHs) and State Rural Health Associations (SRHAs) in identifying key rural health challenges, programs and resources that will assist rural communities in addressing these challenges and that will inform the national policy discussions;
  6. provide technical assistance to small entities and rural communities for the purpose of improving access to quality rural health services while ensuring a rural perspective is included in national quality forums;
  7. provide a forum for rural medical educators and students to share lessons learned to address recruitment and retention challenges;
  8. convene policy discussions around emerging rural health access issues and rural leadership in hospitals, clinics and communities vital to the survival of the rural health delivery system;
  9. foster the development of rural health systems through the support of rural health networks;
  10. expand public awareness of the importance of the economic impact of the health care sector and to stress health care’s critical role in rural development while also being able to quantify that impact;
  11. support and develop training opportunities and networks for community health workers and promatora models on the U.S./Mexico Border and rural communities;
  12. improve rural and underserved communities' access to quality health care through the development of national, state and community based linkages, in support of recruitment and retention efforts;
  13. provide support and assistance to grantees from Section 330(a) of the Public Health Service Act in a manner that meets their specific programmatic needs;
  14. improve access to care for rural veterans and provide support to veterans seeking careers in the health care sector; and
  15. provide support and resources for promoting agriculture health and safety.


Eligible applicants include public, private and nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and community-based organizations, state governments and their agencies such as universities, colleges, research institutions, hospitals, state and local governments or their bona fide agents along with federally recognized Indian Tribal governments, Indian Tribes, and Indian Tribal organizations.


National Rural Health Association, Washington, DC


Aaron Fischbach,, 301-443-5487