Office of Rural Health


In July 1993, the Tennessee Office of Rural Health was established through a grant by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Within the rural areas of the state of Tennessee, there was a need for a central focus and coordinated effort to identify obstacles unique to rural areas. Solutions were also required to bring about changes and reforms which would improve and enhance the health care of rural citizens.


To improve and enhance the accessibility, availability, and affordability of quality health care in Tennessee by creating a central focus and coordination of rural health care resources.


Problem identification and needs assessment at a policy level for rural areas of the state.
Formulation of innovative solutions and approaches designed to improve and enhance health care in rural areas.
Identify and seek, and support obtaining, federal, state, and foundation resources for rural areas.
Coordinate statewide activities that most effectively address rural health care needs.
Promote activities which support the recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural areas.


  • Publish the annual Health Access Plan Update.
  • Administer the National Health Service Corps Program.
  • Administer the J-1 VISA Waiver Program and State Conrad 30 Program.
  • Develop rural health initiatives.
  • Provide technical assistance for Rural Health Outreach Grants.
  • Recommend designations for federal Health Professional Shortage Areas.
  • Partner with communities, institutions and associations to advance rural health.
  • Participate in the Cooperative Agreement with the federal Bureau of Primary Health Care.