Grant Project Title
National Rural Oral Health Initiative: Year 5
Grantee Address

National Rural Health Association
1025 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
United States

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 21,000 members. The association’s mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education, and research.

NRHA and CareQuest Institute have partnered since 2015 in order to elevate rural oral health care as part of primary care through the National Rural Oral Health Initiative (NROHI). In line with NRHA’s four-tiered approach – policy, communications, education, and research – work in previous years of partnership have included substantial advocacy for integration-focused policy efforts, communication and dissemination of information to NRHA’s base of rural oral health stakeholders, education through national and local conferences, and publishing of research pieces around rural oral health best practices. A National Rural Oral Health Initiative Taskforce has been convened to oversee and drive the work under the initiative. Notably in 2021, NRHA staff became increasingly engaged with the Oral Health Progress and Equity Network (OPEN) and have played a leadership role in OPEN’s Rural Network Response Team and Health Equity Network Response Team.

In 2022, NRHA’s grant work will focus on pursuing new opportunities to advance oral health integration within the National Rural Oral Health Initiative, while maintaining the four-tiered approach. NRHA will continue to convene its NROHI Taskforce in order to establish a policy blueprint for the initiative, respond to and provide leadership on emerging regulatory and legislative opportunities, and convene a Rural Oral Health Interest Group. NRHA will also maintain a consistent flow of information about rural oral health research, policy efforts, best practices and resources to their membership and to policy makers. Communications tactics will include inclusion of oral health topics in 12 editions of NRHA’s e-newsletter, one featured article within NRHA’s Rural Horizons quarterly publication, and NROHI visibility on the NRHA website.

NRHA will also provide oral health educational opportunities and technical assistance to rural providers and State Rural Health Associations. NRHA will coordinate and host a rural oral health session at the 2022 NRHA Annual Health Conference, 2022 Health Equity Conference, and 2022 Rural Health Clinic conference. NRHA will also host an oral health session at their 2022 State Rural Health Association Leadership Conference. NRHA will identify rural health associations as part of this conference who may be well-poised to develop their own state-level rural oral health task forces and will provide infrastructure support. Additionally, NRHA will host a Lunch and Learn series for upcoming oral health professionals at three schools that do not have a rural focus or pipeline to discuss opportunities and innovations that practicing in a rural area can offer.

More broadly, NRHA will host an Oral Health Research Webinar Series, highlighting oral health subject matter experts, OPEN members, and NRHA policy staff, develop three topic papers with the direction of rural oral health subject matter experts, and develop blog posts and opinion editorials.

The total request for this project is $250,000. Approximately $135,000 of the requested funding is allocated for staff time associated with completion of the project activities. Additional budget line items cover meeting expense costs, fees for speakers for virtual and in-person educational events and communications costs. This request represents 3% of the organization’s overall budget.

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