Why focus on rural health?


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 rural people, families, and communities that experience disproportionate health risks 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 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 health risks because of structural inequities, including communities of color, Indigenous people, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities; women and girls, older adults, and people with limited incomes 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 http://www.ruralhealthresearch.org/

To support our work: https://give.umn.edu/giveto/ruralhealth

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.

Acknowledgment of Native Lands

The University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center acknowledges the Dakota people, who are the First People of Mni Sota Makoce. The Dakota people have an ancient historical and spiritual connection to the land that the University of Minnesota Twin Cities was built and remains on. We commit ourselves to actions and practices that address the injustices from which our school benefits.

Today, the state of Minnesota is home to twelve federally and non-federally recognized indigenous nations, including five Dakota Nations and seven Ojibwe Nations. Those nations include the Prairie Island Indian Community, Shakopee Mdewakanton Indian Community, Lower Sioux Indian Community, Upper Sioux Community, Mendota Mdewakanton Tribal Community, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Red Lake Nation, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, White Earth Nation, Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, and Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.



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