Rural Health Networks

The National Rural Health Resouce Center (The Center) originated out of a rural health network in northeastern Minnesota, the upper peninsula of Michigan and northwestern Wisconsin. With its network roots, and through extensive experience working with rural health networks across the United States, The Center has acted as a knowledge resource since 1987. The Center has developed and collected many network-centric resources, located in the Resource Library.

Rural health networks, with their natural focus on collaboration and shared problem solving, are a long-term solution for rural communities to sustain their health care organizations and support the wellness of their communities. Rural health networks come in all shapes and sizes and are born out of the needs of their communities. However, one of the foundational tenets of rural health networks is that "we are better together."

Over the years, The Center has found that leadership is key to successful networks. Therefore, this group of individuals is the focus when developing resources, materials and services. One accomplishment The Center made in 2013 was to develop a rural health network sustainability framework, Aim for Impact and Sustainability, based on the Baldrige Performance Excellence concepts and structure. It was created through The Center’s technical assistance for the Rural Health Information Technology Network Development (RHITND) Program Grantees. Aim for Impact and Sustainability is a compilation of resources for network leaders to support their efforts toward sustaining their networks and meeting their missions.

The Center has developed consulting services and has partnered with Rural Health Innovations, LLC (RHI) to support rural health network leaders. Examples of services include training on change management, collaboration, strategic marketing development, business plan writing, decision-making models, network board development and communication plan development.

Some of The Center's projects include providing technical assistance (TA) to Rural Health Network Development grantees and Rural Allied Health Training Program grantees of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), providing TA to past cohorts of the Rural Health Information Technology Workforce Program and the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program, working with the 41 RHITND Grantees, hosting a Rural Health Network Summit in 2010, surveying rural health networks across the United States, collaborating with the National Cooperative of Rural Health Networks, establishing a Community Health Information Collaborative (CHIC) through a network development grant, providing Balanced Scorecard training to the Montana Rural Healthcare Performance Improvement Network (PIN) and providing technical assistance to networks through the Alpha Center, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant.


For more information, please contact Kap Wilkes at (218) 727-9390 ext. 226 or