About the Center for Rural Health Care Delivery Science

Grounded in vision, enriched by innovation

The Center for Rural Health Care Delivery Science exists to address—and better understand—rural health disparities to help improve individual outcomes.

"The Center enables us to conduct innovative and compelling research that will lead to improved healthcare for our patients and others living in rural communities."

Mark A. Creager, MD, program director

With this goal at the heart of everything we do, our Center is advancing the biomedical research infrastructure at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). Researchers focused on rural healthcare now have a home to study the causes of health disparities in rural areas, across healthcare systems.

Through their findings, they can address the barriers commonly experienced by rural residents, including reduced disease detection, lack of healthcare access, and poor management of existing health conditions.

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Our Center has four objectives that serve as the foundation of its work:

  1. Integrate research expertise, mentoring in medicine and science and community engagement;
  2. Provide early-career clinician-scientists with support to position them to become independent researchers;
  3. Use rigorous program evaluation standards to ensure milestone achievement; and
  4. Leverage existing DHMC resources to strengthen the Center as it works toward sustainability.

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Grant support

The Center for Rural Health Care Delivery Science is made possible through a grant from the National Institutes of Health, as part of the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) program.

Supported by NIH/NIGMS P20 GM148278

Our rural population

Approximately 20% of the U.S. population is rural, yet only 9% of U.S. physicians work in rural areas.

Dartmouth Health awarded $11.6M federal grant to address rural healthcare challenges.

Developing tomorrow's research leaders

DHMC has actively recruited talented early-career clinician-scientists dedicated to improving healthcare in rural areas. Our Center is structured to provide these researchers with expert mentoring in medicine and science and strategic direction. Mentors are senior scientists intentionally selected and matched with researchers for their expertise, prior mentorship experience and individual research achievements.

This approach helps advance research programs while furthering the knowledge and skillsets of our researchers—effectively developing the next generation of independent researchers. It also expands DHMC's research capabilities, making its resources more robust and impactful.

The work of our researchers and mentors is supported by the Administrative and Mentoring Core, the Center's main communications and resource hub.

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How can we improve healthcare in rural areas?

That's what our Center is working on with its multidisciplinary biomedical research, mentoring in medicine and science and community-based clinical approach. Our early-career clinician-scientists are dedicated to improving healthcare in rural areas by studying specific aspects of rural healthcare.

Discovery through data

To support the work of our multidisciplinary biomedical research efforts, our Center leverages DHMC’s growing research infrastructure. This includes the Office of Research Operations, relationships with the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), the Biostatistics Shared Resource at the Dartmouth Cancer Center and the Citrin Family Geographic Information Systems/Applied Spatial Analysis (GIS/ASA) Laboratory at Dartmouth.

Rural health research in our Center harnesses the collective power of unique data sets and analytic and biostatistical expertise. Our researchers have access to high-quality data through both the DHMC research infrastructure and locally available clinical sources. Combined with innovative quantitative and qualitative research techniques, researchers can better understand the causes behind health disparities in rural areas.

The nature of our research programs requires specialized data gathering and analysis, which are expertly reinforced by the Center’s Statistics, Informatics, and Qualitative Methods Core.

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Committed to community

The Center's research is community-focused, working toward improving healthcare outcomes for individuals living in rural areas. Community partnerships are critical to its success. By working with community resources, researchers gain access to meaningful data that helps determine targeted interventions in rural, community-based clinical settings.

Our research partnerships with community stakeholders in rural populations are central to our work. Through their research programs, our clinician-scientists strengthen these relationships and improve their understanding of local healthcare priorities. This also helps ensure research programs are nimble and responsive to priorities of rural residents. The future of expanding the number of researchers dedicated to these rural areas depends on the ability to unite academic medical centers with community leaders.

The Community Engagement and Outreach Core supports our researchers by engaging rural stakeholders.

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