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The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) was formed in 1991 as a partnership between the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and The Pennsylvania State University. The office is one of 50 state offices of rural health in the nation funded through the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The State Offices of Rural Health are charged with being a source of coordination, technical assistance, and networking; partnership development; and assisting in the recruitment and retention of health care providers.

At Penn State, PORH is administratively located in the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the College of Health and Human Development and is located in the Penn State College of Nursing.

PORH provides expertise in the areas of rural health, agricultural health and safety, and community and economic development.


To be recognized as the premier rural leadership and information organization in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to be one of the most effective state offices of rural health in the nation.


To enhance the health status of rural Pennsylvanians through outreach, education, advocacy, applied research, and special projects focused on small rural health care organizations and the communities they serve.

Selected Services Provided

  • Over 400 technical assistance encounters each year to individuals, organizations, and communities on funding opportunities, program development, referrals, rural health information, and more
  • Conferences and workshops on issues relevant to rural health care providers
  • Rural health advocacy in the state and nationally
  • Administration of the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility program and other small rural hospital programs
  • Compliance assistance to agricultural producers on safe pesticide use
  • Pennsylvania Rural Health magazine and social media outreach

PORH collaborates with many public and private health agencies including the following: