Building Partnerships for Better Health in Rural Communities

The Massachusetts State Office of Rural Health (SORH) was established in 1994 at the Department of Public Health. The SORH builds partnerships and assists with technical assistance and resources to address a variety of health needs and build better systems of organized care in rural Massachusetts communities. We work closely with a vast statewide network of providers, healthcare organizations, community groups, and local officials across the state. We also serve as a focal point for addressing rural health needs within state government. The Massachusetts SORH is funded through a base grant from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at HRSA with considerable additional matching and in-kind funds from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Major Areas of Activity

  • Collection and dissemination of rural health information through a variety of means.
  • Coordination of rural health networking activities within the state and region.
  • Provision of technical assistance for planning, development, and implementation of local rural health projects and initiatives.
  • Providing leadership to strengthen local, state, and federal partnerships and secure additional resources to improve rural health.
  • Administration of the MA Rural Hospital Flex Program.
  • Administration of the MA SHIP Program (Small Rural Hospital Improvement).
  • Administration of Massachusetts' participation in the National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network (3R Net).
  • Leadership and coordination for special rural initiatives in areas such as rural primary stroke services, health information technology, healthcare workforce, chronic disease and elder health service models, oral health, EMS, expanding safety net models of primary care, etc.


This program is a part of the Division of Health Access .

Contact Information

Cathleen McElligott, Director
Division of Primary Care and Health Access
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
180 Beaman Street, West
Boylston, MA 01583
phone: 508-792-7880 ext. 2172
fax: 508-792-7706
TTY: 508-835-9796

Ronnie Rom, Rural Hospital Program Coordinator
Division of Primary Care and Health Access
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
23 Service Center
Northampton, MA 01060
phone: 413-586-7525, ext. 1154
fax: 413-784-1037
TTY: 800-769-9991


This information is provided by the Division of Health Access within the Department of Public Health.