To accommodate our diverse membership, NRHA asks its members to affiliate with its constituency groups. NRHA's broad membership represents people from a variety of professions and interests, including doctors, nurses, administrators, clinicians, non-physician providers, academicians, researchers, mental health care providers, hospitals, students and many other subgroups. All of these individuals and organizations bring their own interests and agendas to our common goal of ensuring affordable and accessible quality health care for rural populations. Learn more in this Q&A from one of NRHA’s constituency group chairs.
Through its constituency groups, NRHA is structured to represent these individual concerns as well as the more encompassing interests of the entire membership. Each group elects a chair to serve on NRHA's Board of Trustees and Rural Health Policy Board. In addition, constituency groups are allowed one representative on the Rural Health Policy Board for each 50 affiliated votes, with the chair representing the first 100 votes.
Individual members of NRHA have one vote, while organizational and supporting members have two, which can be split between more than one constituency group. Individuals can affiliate with more than one constituency group but can vote in only one. The individual interests and agendas are then given a voice in the leadership of NRHA, helping to determine its policies and direction.
There are currently ten recognized constituency groups within NRHA, and several more are in formation. Click on any of the constituency groups listed below to find out more. To join a constituency group, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to enter your preferred CG directly into your profile.
- Clinical Services
- Diverse Underserved Populations
- Federally Qualified Health Centers
- Hospitals and Community Health Systems
- Public Health
- Research and Education
- Rural Health Clinics
- Statewide Health Resources
Clinical Services CG
Chair: David Schmitz
Family Medicine Residency of Idaho
Diverse Underserved Populations CG
Federally Qualified Health Centers CG
Chair: Scot Graff
2120 S 1st Ave
NRHA members working or interested in rural federally qualified health centers (FQHC) are served by this group. Members in this CG focus on interests and issues regarding policy, regulation and collaboration with other health care organizations of concern to FQHCs.
Chair: Susan Wilger
National Center for Frontier Communities
The health care interests and issues of NRHA members working or living in sparsely-populated areas are served by this group. Members come from all areas-hospitals, medical practices, public health nurses, emergency medical technicians, state health organizations, research and more.
Hospitals and Community Health Systems CG
Chair: Jodi Schmidt
This group is NRHA's largest, representing anyone affiliated with rural hospitals or hospitals with significant interest in rural areas.
Public Health CG
Chair: Michael Meit
This group represents members interested in public health, defined by the Institute of Medicine as "organized community efforts aimed at the prevention of disease and promotion of health." Public Health is often described as three core functions: assessing the health needs of a population, developing policies to meet these needs, and assuring that services are always available and organized to meet challenges at the individual and community levels.
Ultimately, rural communities should have access to the same protective measures afforded by the public health system as their urban counterparts. As stated by the Institute of Medicine in their seminal 1988 report, The Future of Public Health, "no citizen from any community, no matter how small or remote, should be without identifiable and realistic access to the benefits of public health protection, which is possible only through a local component of the public health delivery system." How these services are provided and specific priorities may differ, but access to public health services should be equitable.
Recognizing that change occurs at the community level, this group works to ensure that public health policy is well informed and addresses rural population needs by promoting access to public health services and tangible improvements in the community's overall health status.
Research and Education CG
Rural Health Clinics CG
Chair: Lynda Bergsma, PhD
Center for Rural Health
NRHA members interested in building or strengthening statewide rural health care systems make up this constituency group.
Student CGChair: Jenna Kennedy Sloan KUMC Rural Medicine Interest Group
3833 South Minnie Street
This group is comprised of student members, whose input is very important to NRHA since they are the future workforce and leaders in rural America. As a member of the Student CG, students can come together with their peers, educators, administrators, health professionals and other stakeholders to dialogue about rural health and its related issues such as workforce and policy.
Forming constituency groups
In order to become a recognized constituency group within the NRHA, a group of members with a specific interest must gather 75 signatures of members willing to affiliate with that constituency. The group can then petition the Board of Trustees for provisional status. When provisional status is granted, the constituency then has one year in which to increase its membership to 100 to gain full recognition as a constituency group.
In addition to the constituency groups already within the NRHA, members are considering forming several others. For information on these forming constituencies, contact NRHA at 4501 College Boulevard #225, Leawood, KS 66211; (816) 756-3140; E-mail:email@example.com.