State Office of Rural Health

Celebrate the Power of Rural!

Rural communities are wonderful places to live and work, which is why nearly 59.5 million people - nearly one in five Americans, call them home. These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are places where neighbors know each other, listen to each other, respect each other and work together to benefit the greater good. These communities provide the rest of the country with a wealth of services and commodities and they are the economic engine that has helped the United States become the world power it is today.

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) has set aside the third Thursday of every November to celebrate National Rural Health Day. First and foremost, National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to "Celebrate the Power of Rural" by honoring the selfless, community-minded, "can do spirit" that prevails in rural America.

The State Office of Rural Health Grant (SORH) Program creates a focal point in Louisiana for rural health issues and serves as the statewide coordinator of rural health resources and activities. The program provides a framework that links communities with state and federal resources to help develop long-term solutions to rural health problems.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) developed the SORH Program in 1991as a federal-state partnership. It features a single grantee from each state and requires a state match of $3 for each $1 in federal funding and has leveraged in excess of $250 million in state matching funds. Currently, 37 offices are located in state health departments, 10 in academic settings and three in non-profit organizations.

The three core functions of the SORH Program are to:

  • Serve as a clearinghouse of information and innovative approaches to rural health services delivery;
  • Coordinate State activities and educate on resources related to rural health;
  • Provide technical assistance to entities serving rural populations.

The SORH provides technical support on community planning, grant writing and network development in rural communities by assisting in their development, expansion and sustainability of clinical capacity.  This may include new access sites, such as private providers, rural health clinics, or federally qualified health centers; new services, including dental or behavioral health services and practice management services, such as operation analysis, billing and coding assistance and patient flow analysis, in an effort to strengthen existing providers.

Throughout each year, the SORH will host or co-host conferences or workshops on rural health issues, rural health clinic education and classes for rural providers and organizations on developing analytical and writing skills. In addition, the SORH provides rural entities with information on grant and loan opportunities, policy updates and demographic data through its rural health Listserv.

Components of the State Office of Rural Health include:

Communities may apply for services or technical assistance by completing a Health Systems Development Request Form. To be eligible for these services, a request must be health-related, the physical location for the project must be within a health professional service area (HPSA) and the organization must have the ability to describe a primary health care need. Requests for technical assistance will be accepted throughout the year via email, fax and postal mail. Priority will be placed on projects that strive to address the health care needs of the uninsured and/or improve effectiveness, or to improve the capacity of the area's safety net.

For more information, contact:

Tracie Ingram, State Rural Health Officer
Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health

Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health
Physical Address:   628 North 4th Street, 8th Floor, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Mailing Address:     P.O. Box 3118, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3118
Phone:   (225) 342-1889
Fax:       (225) 342-5839