The Massachusetts Rural Local Public Health Coalition (MRLPHC) evolved in 2017 from the national and statewide recognition that rural communities face disparities different from larger communities, towns, and cities. Rural Boards of Health (RBOH) play a critical role in ensuring that rural communities are safe and healthy places to live, work and visit. Rural communities are often small and funding for RBOH is often minimal, making it more likely that the staff members are volunteer or part-time and not adequately trained. The Rural Local Public Health Coalition aligns its efforts with the goals of NACCHO’s Rural Health Section and the Massachusetts State Office of Rural Health, bringing attention and focus to the resources needed to strengthen the capacity of rural boards of health to meet the health and safety needs of their communities, including the provision of services that are mandatory, promote health and prevent disease.
According to the Massachusetts State Office of Rural Health, there are 160 towns in Massachusetts designated as rural. About 30% of these towns have less than 5,000 individuals. Western Massachusetts has the majority of rural towns. The needs of rural communities differ depending on the region. For example, the needs of the Cape Cod and the Islands communities are different than those of the Berkshires communities.
- State Office of Rural Health
- NACCHO Rural Health Section
- Rural Information Hub
- National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rural Health
- County Health Rankings (Rural Communities)
- MDPH Determination of Need (DoN) Program
- Rural Policy Advisory Commission