Rural Health Research Institute Establishes “Partnerships for Health”

Georgia Southern University’s Rural Health Research Institute (RHRI) has formed four county level “Partnerships for Health” to increase community capacity to address rural health-related issues. The Partnerships in Bulloch, Candler, Emanuel and Evans Counties represent collaborations between health-related community agencies in each county, RHRI and Mercer University’s Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities. The goal of each partnership is to collaboratively identify and address the most pressing health needs in each community.

The initiative is part of a $5.1 million grant awarded to the RHRI in August 2012 from the National Institutes of Health through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The grant, which focuses on research, training and community outreach throughout rural southeast Georgia, has already enacted several training programs and is in the process of developing new diabetes and high blood pressure focused health interventions.

“We are very excited to have the Partnerships established,” said Bryant Smalley, Ph.D., RHRI executive director and joint principal investigator of the grant. “These collaborative partnerships will focus on improving health through grass-roots, community-driven efforts that are uniquely able to navigate the social, cultural and economic realities of rural living.”

Each Partnership will conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of its community and receive seed grant funding to allow them to implement a collaboratively-developed health education or intervention project to address an identified need.  Partnership members also receive training in grant writing, communications planning, dissemination and community based participatory research where communities and researchers form equal partnerships in developing and implementing projects and programs.

The RHRI is an interdisciplinary hub of rural health research and outreach. Its mission is to improve health in rural areas by promoting cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research and outreach that connects faculty from diverse fields and promotes the development of researchers examining rural health issues.  To learn more, visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu/RHRI.

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 125 degree programs serving more than 20,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement.  Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu.

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