Rural Health Initiative

Rural health initiative

Rural health matters. Almost a quarter of the U.S. population lives in a rural area. And disparities between health outcomes and rural residents continue to increase. About 17 percent of AAFP members live and work every day in rural America and deeply understand the realities rural communities face in order to remain prosperous and vibrant. The AAFP understands that rural communities' needs are unique, oftentimes differing greatly from the realities of their urban counterparts.


Share your rural health care stories, connect with others, and continue the conversation on social media using the hashtag #RuralHealthMatters.

The AAFP is committed to helping improve rural health care across our country. And in summer 2019, the AAFP launched a plan to improve rural health. The AAFP #RuralHealthMatters initiative will:

  1. Develop and implement an integrated AAFP Rural Strategy.
  2. Establish the AAFP as a leader for rural health and rural physicians.
  3. Influence policy and payment issues related to rural health.
  4. Address educational needs and resources for family physicians currently practicing in rural areas.
  5. Support recruitment of family physicians to rural areas including student choice, increase in residency positions, and support of residency programs.
  6. Create policy, collaboration, and resources for family physicians to improve rural health disparities.

Recent News and Blogs from AAFP News

Rural America is suffering from a health care crisis, a product of inadequate funding, economic downturn and lack of an appropriate health care workforce. In response, the AAFP is launching an Academy-wide effort to improve health care in rural communities. In this Leader Voices Blog post, AAFP President John Cullen, M.D., gives more details about the initiative.

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Family physician Drew Miller, M.D., is one of seven FPs providing high-quality, full-scope health care -- including delivering babies -- in the small town of Lakin, Kan., home to some 2,200 souls.

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Rural Health Education

Rural Health Virtual CME Course
Spring 2020
Take a deep-dive into rural health education from the comfort of your home or practice! Ask faculty questions in real time just as if you were in the same room, "chat" with other online attendees, and earn CME credit! Stay tuned for more information. 


Promoting Telehealth in Rural America(3 page PDF)
Telehealth has the potential to increase access to care, facilitate care coordination and ensure that patients receive timely care in areas where health facilities are limited.

Partner Spotlight

In conjunction with the launch of #RuralHealthMatters, the AAFP joined with more than 250 organizations across the country to become a working partner in the Rebuild Rural Infrastructure Coalition( A major focus of #RuralHealthMatters will be partnering with organizations that are focused on rural initiatives, allowing the AAFP to share best practices and resources, helping family physicians not only support but elevate health for everyone in their communities.

Upcoming Events

Rural Health Meet & Greet
National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students
Fri, July 26, 2019 | 4 - 5 p.m.
Meet practicing rural docs from the Rural Health MIG for light refreshments as you learn what rural medicine has to offer.

Rural Health MIG Chat & Chew
Family Medicine Experience
Weds, Sept 25, 2019
Discuss rural health topics with your peers during this engaging, facilitated opportunity.

Rural Health Resources Booth
Family Medicine Experience
Sept 24 - 28, 2019
Whether you’re currently practicing in a rural area, interested in practicing in a rural area, or want to learn more about the AAFP's Rural Health Matters initiative, stop by AAFP Central and tap into valuable resources, enter to win prizes, and more.

Rural Health Member Interest Group

Grow connections among AAFP members with a distinct interest in rural health when you join the Rural Health MIG. Learn More

Join the Rural Health MIG Online Community

Visit the Rural Health online community to connect with other AAFP members who share your professional interests.
Join Today

AAFP Partners