Rural Health

Rural Health refers to the interdisciplinary study of health and healthcare delivery in areas with sparse geographic distribution of individuals. Research supports that the needs of individuals living in rural areas are different from those living in urban areas. Access to health services in rural areas tends to be limited, due to a low number of providers and travel distance barriers.

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Authors: Nancy Baum | Jaque King

Topics: Behavioral Health, Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Rural Health, Staffing

March 10, 2020
This report describes state incentives for behavioral health provider recruitment, particularly in rural areas.
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Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center logo

Authors: Malaika Schwartz | Davis Patterson | Rachelle McCarty

Topics: Allied Health, Rural Health, Staffing

December 17, 2019
This report describes allied health incentive programs at the state level as described during 30 semi-structured phone interviews with key informants from 27 states and information found online.
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University of Washington Center for Health Workforce Studies logo

Authors: Xinxin Han | Leighton Ku

Topics: Behavioral Health, Community Health Centers, Rural Health

December 2, 2019
This article compares behavioral health care staffing and services in rural and urban community health centers.
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GW Health Workforce Research Center logo

Authors: Xinxin Han | Patricia Pittman | Clese Erikson | Fitzhugh Mullan | Leighton Ku

Topics: Health Information Technology, Rural Health

October 28, 2019
This article helps validate the effectiveness of the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment and scholarship incentives as a recruitment strategy and to inform policies on the impact of NHSC on community health centers' patient care capacity.
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GW Health Workforce Research Center logo

Authors: Angela Beck | Cory Page | Jessica Buche | Danielle Rittman | Maria Gaiser

Topics: Behavioral Health, Rural Health

December 1, 2018
This report maps the precise amount of psychiatrists, child and adolescent psychiatrists (CAPs), geriatric psychiatrists (GPs), and addiction psychiatrists (APs) per county, and tests whether the proportion of these providers varieds significantly between urban and rural areas.
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Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center logo

Authors: Angela Beck | Cory Page | Jessica Buche

Topics: Behavioral Health, Medicaid, Rural Health

October 1, 2018
This report helps to understand the characteristics of the behavioral health workforce in rural areas, the services offered by rural provider organizations, and the barriers these organizations face to providing services.
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Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center logo

Authors: Donald Pathman | Samuel Berchuck | James Terry

Topics: Rural Health, Workforce Demand

April 1, 2015
This report uses Medicare data to assess changes in the number of outpatient visits made to various specialty groups for atrial fibrillation and for esophageal, gastric, and duodenal disorders in rural areas that vary in their local availability of cardiologists and gastroenterologists, respectively.
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Carolina Health Workforce Research Center logo

Q: What are the best rural definitions to use for health workforce analysis? Where can I find them?

Topics: Data Analysis, Rural Health

A: Multiple rural definitions can be used in health workforce analysis. The study’s purpose, unit of analysis, and funder should drive which rural definition is used.

The WWAMI Rural Health Research Center at the University of Washington is a leading resource on analyzing the rural health workforce. See Chapter 3 in their 2003 report, State of the Health Workforce in Rural America: Profiles and Comparisons for guidance on strengths and weaknesses of common rural definitions.

The Rural Health Information Hub, or RHIhub, is another important resource on rural definitions. The RHIhub developed an “Am I Rural?” tool that helps determine if a specific location is considered rural, including definitions used in federal program eligibility criteria. Additionally, states may have their own definitions of rural.

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