University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

UND named one of seven national rural health research centers

The Center for Rural Health at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences has been designated as one of seven national rural health research centers by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy. UND was awarded a four-year, $2.64 million grant to operate the Rural Health Reform Policy Research Center (RHRPRC). The purpose of the research center is to conduct at least 16 policy relevant research studies and policy analyses that are relevant specifically to rural health, especially how health care reform as it currently is mandated or changes will influence rural health care access and delivery.

“The Center for Rural Health and the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences support a well-rounded, three-part mission,” said Gary Hart, Ph.D., director of the Center for Rural Health, who will be the principal investigator and director of the new RHRPRC. “First, the CRH provides service within North Dakota to help promote and facilitate the delivery of care to rural residents to improve their health. Second, the Center educates health care professionals and encourages North Dakota youth to train to be health care providers and practice in North Dakota. And third, CRH experts perform policy-relevant research and policy analyses that provide the needed information for federal policymakers to make informed decisions related to providing access to quality, efficient and cost-effective health care for rural communities. Disseminating accurate information about rural health care is a priority for the CRH.”

The new Center for Rural Health RHRPRC will work in close collaboration with the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, Bethesda, Md. Alana Knudson, Ph.D., of the Walsh Center will be the deputy director of the RHRPRC.

“The RHRPRC will serve to analyze the favorable as well as the unfavorable effects of federal policies on rural health care and provide that information to federal policymakers,” Hart said.

The federal Office of Rural Health Policy of the Health Resources and Services Administration promotes better health care service in rural America by coordinating activities related to rural health care within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal Office works with federal, state and local governments as well as with private-sector associations, foundations, health care providers and community leaders to seek solutions to rural health care problems.

-- Denis MacLeod, assistant director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 701. 777.2733, denis.macleod@med.und.edu