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Health Topics - Rural Health

Rural Areas have unique populations, infrastructure and health systems

OVERVIEW

There are significant regional and demographic differences among rural communities in the United States. Although their locations may differ, many rural Americans share common beliefs and values, such as resilience, self-reliance, and pride in the communities where they live.1

These beliefs, coupled with the close social connections, can contribute to successful health interventions. However, some elements of rural communities can make population health interventions more challenging.1 This may mean developing and evaluating new interventions or adapting existing interventions to account for the specific demographic, economic, and health care needs of individual communities.

What Works for Rural Health

Overview

To address health disparities in rural areas, you may want to consider using policies that address population health. These policies can reach beyond health care and offer opportunities to make an impact where people live, learn, work, and play.

CDC rural health policy briefs provide examples of policy options to address public health issues. They include information on the background and significance of the issue, as well as case examples.

Providing Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support for Rural Americans

This policy brief presents a selection of potential policies and practices that may help rural residents access Diabetes Self-Management Education and Support.

Preventing and Treating Cancer in Rural America

This policy brief presents a selection of potential policies and practices that may help prevent and treat cancer in rural areas.

Access to Mental Health Services for Children in Rural Areas

This policy brief presents a selection of potential policies and practices that may help rural children with mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders access behavioral health services.

Protecting Rural Americans from Motor Vehicle Deaths

This policy brief presents potential policies that could increase seat belt use by rural Americans.

Preventing Opioid Overdoses in Rural America

This policy brief presents a selection of policy options and other strategies that may address factors affecting opioid overdoses in rural America.

Preventing Suicide in Rural America

This policy brief presents a selection of potential policies and practices that may address factors leading to suicide in rural areas.



Featured Resources

CDC Rural Health Research and Resources

CDC’s rural health website includes information and examples of successful public health interventions for rural communities. The website also hosts CDC’s MMWR series which provide data on health issues affecting rural Americans.


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CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) – Rural Health Series

CDC’s MMWR includes a rural health series providing data on health issues affecting rural Americans


Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)

FORHP advises the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services about health care issues affecting rural communities.


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Rural Health Information (RHI) Hub

The RHIhub is a clearinghouse of information on rural health issues. It also provides current resources on rural health care and population health including toolkits and models for programs that work in rural communities.


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Rural Health Research Gateway

The Rural Health Research Gateway provides access to research conducted by the Rural Health Research Centers, including rural health research products and journal articles.


  1. Crosby, R. A., Wendel, M. L., Vanderpool, R. C., & Casey, B. R. (2012). Rural Populations and Health: Determinants, Disparities, and Solutions. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
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