Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

Impact of School Sealant Programs Report Released

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report, “Impact of School Sealant Programs on Oral Health Among Youth and Identification of Potential Barriers to Implementation.” This is the first study to examine children’s cavity risk and school dental sealant program impact in CDC-funded states. This study found that for every four sealants placed, one cavity is prevented. Increasing access to school sealant programs could reduce cavities, especially for children at higher risk for poor oral health.

Click here to learn more.

Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact: Your Input is Needed!

The National Center for Interstate Compacts within the Council of State Governments shared a resource on the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact, a project funded by the Department of Defense. The Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact is an interstate occupational licensure compact, which is a constitutionally authorized, legally binding, and legislatively enacted contract among states. The compact will enable licensed dental providers to practice in all states participating in the compact, rather then requiring providers to get individual licenses in each state. Interstate compacts already exist for emergency medical service officials, physical therapists, and other medical professionals.

Please review the draft interstate compact and submit comments via the survey. 

Click here for more information.
Click here to review the draft.
Click here to submit comments.

Funding Opportunity: Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan Mini-Grants

PCOH is requesting proposals for the 2022-2023 Oral Health Plan Mini-Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to facilitate the implementation of the goals and recommendations of the 2020-2030 Pennsylvania Oral Health Plan, as well as to advance the oral health of all Pennsylvanians. Requests may not exceed $4,000 with applications due by September 28 at 5:00 pm.

Click here to view the guidelines.
Click here to apply.

Funding for this project is through the Pennsylvania Department of Health through Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by CDC, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Reaching Rural Initiative: Applicants Being Accepted!

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the State Justice Institute; and the National Association of Counties, the Institute for Intergovernmental Research is excited to share a new initiative, Reaching Rural: Advancing Collaborative Solutions.

This new initiative is grounded in the value of “for rural, by rural.” The hallmark of the Reaching Rural initiative is learning from rural practitioners and facilitating engagement across rural communities.

What is the Reaching Rural initiative?

The Reaching Rural initiative is a one-year initiative. Over the course of the year, the selected individuals and teams will receive coaching and participate in skill-building workshops as well as virtual and in-person learning experiences.

Participation in the Reaching Rural initiative includes:

  • Travel and per diem costs to participate in an orientation, a field visit to observe the implementation of evidence-informed practices in a rural setting, and a closing session at the end of the 12 months. This is not a grant opportunity.
  • Monthly mentorship and guidance aimed toward your local needs.
  • Monthly assignments that help you apply core concepts to your local community or region.
  • Access to a diverse network of rural peers, innovative rural communities, and technical assistance providers.
  • Formal recognition for completing the planning initiative.

Is the Reaching Rural initiative for You?

We are seeking individual practitioners or cross-sector teams from the same community or region interested in adopting bold solutions and reimagining how diverse organizations and agencies with different missions can engage with one another to address the persistent challenge of substance use and misuse in rural communities.

The Reaching Rural initiative is designed for rural agency leaders or mid-level professionals working in counties, cities, or tribes as justice, public safety, public health, or behavioral health practitioners.

Applicants may apply to participate in the Reaching Rural initiative as an individual practitioner or as a member of a cross-sector team from the same community or region. Participation is limited to up to 20 individual practitioners and up to 10 cross-sector teams.

The deadline for applying is September 30, 2022, at 5:00 p.m., ET.

Curious to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about this initiative and application process, join us for an informational webinar on August 31, 2022, at 2:00 p.m., ET. Register at

Some Rural Hospitals Are in Such Bad Shape, Local Governments Are Practically Giving Them Away

ERIN, Tenn. — Kyle Kopec gets a kick out of leading tours through the run-down hospitals his boss is snapping up, pointing out what he calls relics of poor management left by a revolving door of operators. But there’s a point to exposing their state of disrepair — the company he works for, Braden Health, is buying buildings worth millions of dollars for next to nothing.

At a hospital in this rural community about a 90-minute drive northwest from Nashville, the X-ray machine is beyond repair.

“This system is so old, it’s been using a floppy disk,” said Kopec, 23, marveling at the bendy black square that hardly has enough memory to hold a single digital photo. “I’ve never actually seen a floppy disk in use. I’ve seen them in the Smithsonian.”

Not only is Kopec young, he had limited work experience in hospitals before helping lead a buying spree by Braden Health. His prior work experience includes a three-month stint as an intern in the Trump White House, on assignment through his volunteer position in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He worked his way through college at Braden Health’s clinic in Ave Maria, Florida, and became a protégé of Dr. Beau Braden, the company’s founder. Now Kopec’s official title is chief compliance officer, second in command to Braden.

The hospitals Braden Health is taking over sit in one of the worst spots in one of the worst states for rural hospital closures. Tennessee has experienced 16 closures since 2010 — second only to the far more populous state of Texas, which has had at least 21 closures.

Read more.

Transforming Rural Health Care in Pennsylvania through Innovation in Payment and Service

On August 17, 2022, the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association held a webinar on rural health care transformation in Pennsylvania through the PA Rural Health Model, as part of its Special Topics in Rural Health 2022 Webinar Series hosted by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-PA 65th District) and Sen. Michele Brooks (R-PA 50th District).  Gary Zegiestowsky, Chief Executive Officer and Janice Walters, Chief Operating Officer at the Pennsylvania Rural Health Redesign Center discussed how the PA Rural Health Model, through innovation in payment and service, had led to small rural hospital viability and increased community health.

See below for the links to the presentation and recording.

Presentation: Transforming Rural Health Care in Pennsylvania

Recording:  Transforming Rural Health Care in Pennsylvania

Community-based Care in Rural Pennsylvania: Solutions to Access

On July 27, 2022, the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association held a webinar on access to care solutions in rural Pennsylvania through high-quality, community-based support, as part of its Special Topics in Rural Health 2022 Webinar Series hosted by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-PA 65th District) and Sen. Michele Brooks (R-PA 50th District). Eric Kiehl, Director of Policy and Partnership at the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers; Laura Spadaro, Vice President of Primary Care and Public Health Policy at The Wright Center; and Sara Rupp, Marketing Director at Primary Health Network, gave an excellent presentation on person-centered care provided by Federally Qualified Health Centers in rural areas of the state.

See below for the links to the presentation and recording.

Presentation:  Community-Based Care in Rural Pennsylvania

Recording:  Community-based Care in Rural Pennsylvania

Oral Health In Rural Pennsylvania: Why Is It Such a Problem?

On August 3, the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association held a webinar on oral health in rural Pennsylvania as part of its Special Topics in Rural Health 2022 Webinar Series hosted by Rep. Kathy Rapp (R-PA 65th District) and Sen. Michele Brooks (R-PA 50th District).  Helen Hawkey, Executive Director of the PA Coalition for Oral Health, gave an in-depth overview of oral health access and workforce in rural Pennsylvania and provided compelling statistics and maps to illustrate the disparities in oral health in rural areas of the state.

See below for links to the presentation and the recording.

Presentation:  Oral Health in Rural Pennsylvania. 8.3.22

Recording:  Oral Health In Rural Pennsylvania

HRSA Releases Nearly $60 Million to Improve Access to Care in Rural Communities

On August 8, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy announced investments of nearly $60 million to grow the health workforce and increase access to quality health care in rural communities, including nearly $46 million in funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to improving health outcomes and promoting health equity in rural America. In 2021, thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the Department of Health and Human Services invested over $16 billion to strengthen rural health.

Nearly $46 million in American Rescue Plan funding will support 31 awardees to expand health care capacity in rural and tribal communities through health care job development, training, and placement. This funding includes support for critical health workforce needs in rural areas such as dental hygienists, medical or dental assistants, community-based doulas, and other frontline health care workers.

Nearly $10 million will support 13 organizations through the Rural Residency Planning and Development Program to establish new medical residency programs in rural communities to increase the number of physicians training in rural settings. In addition, nearly $4 million will support 18 awards to improve patient health outcomes and quality and delivery of care throughout rural counties and improve access to care for rural veterans.

“Among the most important steps we can take to improve access to health care in rural communities, including access to behavioral health care, is to invest in growing the rural health care workforce,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Today’s announcements are another important part of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s strategy to advance health equity for the nearly 65 million people who call rural areas home.”

Approximately one in five Americans lives in a rural area, and rural communities are becoming even more diverse. However, health disparities between rural and urban areas tripled between 1999 and 2019, with rural residents experiencing higher rates of heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, stroke, unintentional injury, and suicide; and higher risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. Access to quality health care is at the heart of these issues.

Today’s announcement reflects HRSA’s investments through the following programs:

  • The Rural Public Health Workforce Training Network Programis awarding nearly $46 million to 31 community-based organizations to expand public health clinical and operational capacity through workforce development. Additionally, a technical assistance provider was awarded $500,000 to strengthen the ability for these networks to develop formal training and certification programs.
  • The Rural Residency Planning and Development Programis awarding $9.7 million to 13 organizations to establish new rural residency programs in rural communities to train resident physicians in rural clinical settings.
  • The Small Health Care Provider Quality Improvement Programis awarding $2.9 million to 15 community-based organizations improve patient health outcomes and quality and delivery of care throughout rural counties.
  • The Rural Veterans Health Access Programis awarding nearly $1 million to 3 organizations to improve access to health care services for veterans living in rural areas. This program is a collaboration between FORHP and the Veterans Health Administration to strengthen partnerships between rural health providers and the VA system.

For a complete list of recipients, see