Central Michigan University Rural Health Equity Institute

The Central Michigan University Rural Health Equity Institute focuses on the health priorities of our rural communities. The RHEI seeks to improve access to services, expand telehealth capacity and deliver the education and training necessary to respond to local needs.  The RHEI also provides an innovation and collaboration hub where health care providers and community leaders can come together and forge solutions that improve health and wellness in our rural communities.


The CMU Rural Health Equity Institute will ally with rural communities to advance health and improve quality of life.


All people living in rural areas can live their healthiest life possible. 

We envision rural communities across Michigan and America as diverse communities of healthy people, places, and providers, who access world-class care and human services. Healthy rural communities capitalize on a wealth of local strengths and assets, resourceful innovation, building alliances, rural values, and culture – local places where every person in the community has power, allies, and agency to make decisions for improving their own health and for advancing the well-being of their community.


  • Culture of Collaboration - creating collaborative partnerships that reflect the unique infrastructure and the underlying social and situational challenges for each rural community.
  • Equity - the fair and just allocation of public resources that provides an equal opportunity for all rural people and places to innovate, grow and thrive.
  • Diversity - both an acknowledgment and an understanding that each rural person is unique and welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical ability, politics, religion or other belief characteristics.
  • Determination - the opportunity for rural people and communities to direct their future.
  • Access - the timely availability of personal health and human services to pursue the best health outcomes.

Core pillars

Bridging innovation and impact to improve the health and well-being of rural communities.


CMU Rural Health Equity Institute inside maroon box with semicircle of blue dots at left side. Yellow rectangles with maroon text at right of box say, Improve Care Access, Comm. Partnership Outreach, Advance Rural Health Equity Data, Education Training.

Improve Care Access

Improving care access and rural health outcomes by:

  • Removing obstacles that interfere with patients’ care and access to health services for rural and marginalized populations.
  • Addressing rural health disparities (geriatric, mental health, chronic conditions) and social and structural drivers of health.

Community Partnership Outreach

Engaging communities by strengthening community action and building alliances with coalitions, organizations, and those who have experienced marginalization to promote well-being, quality of life, and improve the health status of residents.

  • AHEC Network.
  • Academic Partnerships.
  • FQHC’s, Rural Hospitals, Clinics.
  • Rural Health Districts/Network.
  • State and National Partners.

Advance Rural Health Equity Data

Advancing rural health equity data and solutions by collaborating with partners to fill gaps in existing data and tools to:

  • Collect data elements in more interoperable ways.
  • Expand telehealth capacity and standardized data for sociodemographic elements.

    Education and Training

    Building capacity by linking partners for workforce development to:

    • Accelerate professional education for health service providers and workers.
    • Develop a resilient workforce and health careers pipeline for sustained care access in isolated communities.

    About us

    The staff of the RHEI are dedicated to improving health care access and health outcomes in medically underserved, rural communities.



    College of Medicine



    College of Medicine



    College of Medicine

    Projects and programs

    The RHEI is involved in several projects and programs that work to improve access to health care and increase positive health outcomes in our rural communities.

    Education and research

    The RHEI focuses on regionally relevant public health research and delivers education and training to address local needs.

    Trainer and Program Request Form 

    Rural health resources

    The RHEI works with federal, state and local organizations to position services to optimize engagement with rural communities and leverage resources to improve the health and well-being of rural residents.

    Telehealth resources