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student physician sitting on fence in front of a barnIn February 2020, KU School of Medicine Executive Dean Akinlolu Ojo, M.D., chartered the Rural Health Task Force. His charge to the task force was to determine the KU School of Medicine's role in improving rural health disparities in Kansas.

Significant improvement in the health of our citizens is not realizable without a robust, sustainable and multifaceted rural health program that shapes all determinants of health — patient care, policy, environment and behaviors. Dr. Ojo's guidance to the Rural Health Task Force members was to:

  • formulate action plans,
  • create measurable objectives,
  • develop an organizational framework and
  • identify resource needs for a multifaceted rural health program.

This multifaceted rural health program will support innovative healthcare delivery, educate and train the 21st-century rural workforce and conduct meaningful and relevant biomedical and health care delivery research in rural Kansas.

Creating a Kansas Center for Rural Health was one of the initiatives of the Rural Health Task Force, and a committee began work to develop the organizational framework and operations plans for the center. The Kansas Center for Rural Health (KCRH), launched in February 2022, aims to identify and reduce rural health disparities and improve the rural healthcare workforce and care delivery through research, education, and service. These three focus areas are also the pillars of the University of Kansas Medical Center mission. The Kansas Center for Rural Health will provide value to all stakeholders, focusing on rural health professionals, health systems and communities for effective and sustainable operations and outcomes. The Kansas Center for Rural Health (KCRH) will serve as a convener and navigator of a network of stakeholders within and external to KU Medical Center while addressing rural health disparities and fulfilling its mission.


Vibrant, healthy rural Kansas communities demonstrating equitable health outcomes and thriving health systems.

Mission Statement

To improve the health of rural Kansans through focused education, relevant research, collaborative services and health policy leadership.

The grain elevators in Salina, KS feature a mural of children holding hands

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
Kansas Center for Rural Health
Health Education Center
138 N. Santa Fe
Salina, KS  67401