While the majority of Americans reside in metropolitan areas, our nation's public health challenges and concerns are certainly not confined to large urban centers. Nearly 20% of the U.S. population resides in non-metropolitan areas where they experience many of the same health challenges as their urban counterparts. In fact, some of the distinctive cultural, social, economic and geographic characteristics which define rural America place rural populations at greater risk for a myriad of diseases and health disorders.

It is this recognition of the unique health challenges faced by rural America that serves as the impetus for the Rural Healthy People 2020 project. The primary goal of this research effort is to identify and address the priority health concerns of rural America.

For each rural health priority identified, a brief review of literature on this disease or condition in rural America is provided and illustrative solutions summarized. For each rural health priority, researchers contacted select rural communities across the nation to find innovative programs and practices which address these concerns. These Models for Practice illustrate promising approaches by rural communities to address their health priorities.

Rural Healthy People 2020: New Decade, Same Challenges