Rural Health Matters

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

AAFP Scores Win on Payment to Support Rural Residencies

CMS Rule Enacts Long-sought Change to Medicare GME Payment

As of Oct. 1, Medicare will start picking up the tab for residents' training time at critical-access hospitals, a move that helps the AAFP's Rural Health Matters initiative.

Post a Comment

Results of a small pilot study suggest that family physicians who practice in rural areas have significantly lower burnout rates than their nonrural peers.

Post a Comment

Rural Health Education

Rural Health Livestream CME Course
May 14 - 16, 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! 


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.

Rural Health Clinic Modernization Act of 2019

Rural health clinics are the lifeline for millions of Americans. Family physicians who practice in these settings face challenges unique to their location, outdated regulations and low payments. In identical letters to the U.S. Senate(1 page PDF) and House of Representatives(1 page PDF), the AAFP advocates for passage of the Rural Health Clinic Modernization Act of 2019, which would improve rural patients’ access to care by improving payment and allowing greater flexibility for rural clinics.  

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 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