University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Why focus on rural health?

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We conduct policy-relevant research to improve the lives of rural residents and families, to advance health equity, and to enhance the vitality of rural communities. 



Our dedicated team of experts at the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center (RHRC) conducts research to advance equity and improve health and well-being among those who are frequently absent from policy discussions, but whose lives are deeply impacted by policy decisions. Our work is informed by the lived experiences of people, families, and communities that experience disproportionate vulnerability and exhibit disproportionate resilience.

We study access to and quality of health care and population health outcomes in order to build the evidence base for policymaking. Our work maintains a focus on eliminating inequities based on geography, race, gender, nationality, age, and ability. We are committed to the highest standards of excellence in research and to communicating results to academic and policy audiences as well as to the people and communities to which our research pertains. 

Core Principles

  1. We conduct research to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of health policy that impacts rural residents and communities. 
  2. We study the impacts of institutional and governmental policies that affect health care access and quality and population health outcomes across the lifespan, answering questions voiced by rural residents and communities.
  3. We focus on groups that experience disproportionate vulnerability and resilience, including communities of color, women and girls, elderly people, and low-income people in rural communities.
  4. We educate policymakers about the consequences of their decisions for the communities and population groups we study.


We are grateful for generous funding support from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). Part of the Health Resources and Services Administration, FORHP coordinates activities related to rural health care within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

For more information about all of the Rural Health Research Centers funded by FORHP, visit

To support our work:

University of Minnesota Environment

Our Center is located within the University of Minnesota, and we benefit from the breadth of expertise available among our colleagues at the University. Our Center’s home is the Division of Health Policy and Management in the School of Public Health.