University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Why focus on rural health?

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Because the rural health care infrastructure is critical – and fragile.

National health care policy tends to focus on what works in urban areas.  Well-intended policies can create big problems if they’re implemented in rural areas without data-driven analysis and customization to the realities of rural life and resources.

That’s where we come in.  We’ve been producing focused, top quality research for two decades now. Our Rural Health Research Center was first established with funding from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in 1992.

What do we do?

Our projects address key forces that are shaping quality of care and quality improvement in rural areas.  For example:

  • Employing quality measurement and public reporting as tools to upgrade quality of care
  • Using technology and health professional staffing in innovative ways to improve quality of care and patient safety
  • Devising financial incentives that can help improve care in rural hospitals and clinics

Where are we located?

We’re part of the University of Minnesota, and 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.  Nationally known rural health expert Ira Moscovice, Ph.D., leads both the Center and the Division.

How are we funded?

Our primary funding source is the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP).  Part of the Health Resources and Services Administration, ORHP coordinates activities related to rural health care within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

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

Our mission

The mission of the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center is to conduct high quality, empirically driven, policy-relevant research that can be disseminated in an effective and timely manner to help improve the quality and fiscal viability of rural healthcare.