Rural communities are unique, and failure to address the particular strengths they possess and the challenges they face can result in poor health outcomes in our rural areas. Because of these distinctions, it is important to consider and prioritize the rural perspective when addressing health disparities.
Development of NCRHLA
In the 1990s, leaders of several North Carolina rural health organizations began meeting to discuss and address rural health issues in order to improve health in North Carolina’s rural communities. For more than 20 years, the group of leaders continued to meet and pool their organizational knowledge and resources to represent the rural perspective in our state.
In 2014, the group formalized itself as the NC Rural Health Leadership Alliance (NCRHLA) within the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation through funding from the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. NCRHLA is currently recognized by the NRHA as North Carolina’s state rural health association.
The NCRHLA is a coordinated network of administrative leaders and experienced practitioners representing rural health organizations and individuals. NCRHLA improves the health of rural North Carolinians through education and strategic partnerships.
Though still in development, NCRHLA aims to increase awareness of rural health issues by hosting workshops, distributing fact sheets, and maintaining a webpage with rural health resources. NCRHLA promotes collaboration among health agencies, health practitioners, and rural residents by connecting and convening health interests and coordinating forums and work groups to discuss and foster implementation of rural health solutions.
The current work groups of the NCRHLA have formed around the priority areas detailed in the Rural Health Action Plan developed by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Rural Health Task Force in 2014. These work groups are:
- Small Business and Rural Economics
- Childcare and Early Education
- Health Eating and Active Living
- Integration of Primary and Behavioral Health Care
- Health Insurance and Safety Net Resources
- Workforce Recruitment and Retention
The core source of membership to the NCRHLA comes from nonprofit and government organizations involved in addressing rural health issues in the state of North Carolina. To learn more about membership, please click here.