Health in rural communities is the result of a complex interaction of policy, behavior, education, economics, and social factors. Those living in rural areas often lack access to important resources like nearby hospitals and doctors, even though many illnesses are common in these areas. To improve health in these areas, health systems and policy makers need: ​(1) High-quality and interdisciplinary evidence of the mechanisms of such disparities; (2) Development and testing of effective interventions; and (3) Translation of evidence to practice and policy.

Working Group Goals

The primary goal of the Rural Health and Policy Research Working Group is to build capacity at Penn to provide multidisciplinary and evidence-based research to improve the health of rural communities world-wide. A multidisciplinary team of topical and methodological experts at Penn works to:

  1. Augment support for Penn investigators’ existing research efforts in rural health and policy;
  2. Promote high-quality research inclusive of rural communities;
  3. Form collaborations with external partners and stakeholders to design innovative studies and inform evidence-based policy.

Ways We Can Support You

  • Funding Opportunities: Join our email list to receive a compilation of funding opportunities that focus on or include rural communities as target populations. Sign up via this form.
  • Advise on Rural-Responsive Proposal and Manuscript Development: Every other month, we hold work-in-progress meetings to review ongoing projects or new proposals. These are open to all in the Penn community. We can also provide individualized conceptual, grant review, and study design support upon request. To receive updates on the next meeting, please email Joanna Hart.
  • Connect You with Rural Stakeholders or Expert Investigators: We can provide individualized support to your proposals, such as identifying stakeholder advisors for your project or helping you form collaborations with health systems that serve rural communities. To learn more, please complete this form.

Get Involved

Working group membership is open to LDI Fellows, and others by invitation. Sign up here.

Initiative Lead

Joanna Hart

Joanna Hart, MD, MSHP

Assistant Professor, Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine