Rural & Global Health Care Center

Photo of children from the Rural & Global program

New Center Brings Nurse-Driven Solutions and Assessment to World’s Vulnerable, Rural Citizens >>Read the article at UVA News


The Rural and Global Health Care Center (RGHCC) builds on the School of Nursing’s (SON's) extensive work in rural areas and  the increasing international work through the SON’s Global Initiatives (GI) office. The RGHCC aims to promote health in rural communities throughout the world. Through its tripartite mission of education, research, and service, the RGHCC will improve health and health outcomes among those residing in resource limited areas of low population density in both domestic and international settings. The RGHCC will also develop and support all the SON’s international work through programs that intertwine education, research, practice and service globally.

The RGHCC will:

  • Sustain a community of professionals, scholars, and rural citizens dedicated to the health and welfare of global rural persons and committed to collaboration, creativity, and innovation in achieving its missions.
  • Strengthen existing partnerships and develop new ones to educate nurses and other health professionals to enhance the global rural health care workforce.  
  • Support research about rural populations, their health care needs, and health care delivery methods that support positive health outcomes in diverse rural communities around the world. 
  • Provide a unique health resource to global rural populations and the health care workers that support them.
  • Provide leadership in developing global rural health knowledge and policy. 
  • Continue to develop and support SON’s global partnerships in education, practice, research, and service.
  • Work towards a global curriculum across all programs in the SON.


The foundation for the RGHCC are the many areas of rural health expertise developed over the years, including the School of Nursing‘s two rural research centers - the Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research Center (SRMHRC) and the Rural Health Care Research Center (RHCRC) - an advanced nursing education grant from HRSA for Nursing Leadership in Rural Health Care, and the school’s involvement in the annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic. The global component of RGHCC is sustained by the School’s Global Initiatives (GI) office which has been a longstanding leader in global health nursing with a commitment to global health education, service and research.

Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research Center (SRMHRC)

The Southeastern Rural Mental Health Research Center (SRMHRC) began in 1992, with funding from NIMH with the aim of improving the quality of mental health care for rural, impoverished individuals. Funded through 2000, the SRMHRC served as a public-academic liaison (PAL) mental health service research center that focused on the poorly resourced and fragmented mental health system in the rural Southeast. A particular emphasis was impoverished rural minority populations and the development of culturally acceptable mental health care services.

Rural Health Care Research Center (RHCRC)

The Rural Health Care Research Center (RHCRC) was established in 2004, with a five year grant from NIH for the purpose of developing innovative strategies to improve health care for those living in rural areas. The RHCRC provided infrastructure, funding, and dissemination of research focused on health care needs of impoverished individuals, racial and ethnic minorities, and the elderly living in rural areas. The center fostered interdisciplinary collaboration to test interventions adapted for use in rural areas, training programs for rural health care providers, and investigation of emerging telehealth technologies in overcoming the scarcity of services and expertise in rural areas.

Nursing Leadership in Rural Health Care

Nursing Leadership in Rural Health Care is a training grant funded by HRSA in 2009, to prepare graduate nurses with expertise in Community/Public Health Leadership, Health Systems Management, or Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing as leaders in rural health care. The project aimed to increase the number of nurses prepared at the graduate level to provide leadership and improve access to quality health care in rural and underserved areas, to use distance education modalities to make advanced education accessible to nurses who live in rural areas, and to expand partnerships with public and private health and mental health agencies to address health disparities in rural areas.

Remote Area Medical (RAM)

The Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic, held annually in the coal-mining town of Wise, in rural, southwest Virginia, has received significant support from the SON. This event, one of the nation's largest free clinics, provides free health care to underserved patients in southwest Virginia, and is staffed by volunteers from throughout the state. In 2012, 17 nursing and 15 medical students worked alongside other UVA Health System volunteers and provided countless hours of free healthcare for more than 1,200 un- and under-insured men, women and children who attended this event.

Global Initiatives (GI) office

The Global Initiatives (GI) office provides support for SON students and faculty involved in numerous, international collaborations.  Currently, faculty and students are involved in activities or have opportunities in 34 countries. Additionally, each year the School welcomes visiting scholars from nursing schools outside the United States and provides research, clinical, and educational opportunities, with experts in their field of study.