WWAMI Rural Health Research Center

Completed Projects

Listed by project completion date. You can also view these projects alphabetically.


  • What Makes Physician Assistant Programs Successful at Training Rural PAs?
    A current WWAMI RHRC study has identified the physician assistant (PA ) training programs that have reduced high numbers and high proportions of graduates working in rural areas. The proposed study will extend that work through a physician assistant program survey, identifying key characteristics, admission, and training strategies, and missions of successful rural programs.
    Topics: Physician assistants, Workforce


  • The Supply and Distribution of the Behavioral Health Workforce in Rural America
    Data from the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) file, linked to RUCA codes and population data will be used to identify behavioral health providers and describe their geographic (rural/urban, regional and intra-rural) distribution. Behavioral health professions identified in the file include psychiatrists, addiction medicine specialists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists in mental health, clinical psychologists and licensed social workers.
    Topics: Allied health professionals, Mental and behavioral health, Workforce
  • Who Treats Opioid Addiction in Rural America? Quantifying the Availability of Buprenorphine Services in Rural Areas
    This study will investigate the extent to which physicians who practice in rural areas and have a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) waiver to prescribe buprenorphine as an office-based outpatient treatment for opioid use disorder are providing this treatment to their patients. This study will also estimate the need for office-based opioid disorder treatment in rural locations.
    Topics: Chronic diseases and conditions, Mental and behavioral health, Pharmacy and prescription drugs, Substance use and treatment




  • Health Information Technology (HIT) Workforce Needs in Rural America
    Health care increasingly relies on effective health information technology (HIT) to capture and exchange key patient information, and requires a trained workforce to implement this technology. To understand the specific needs and constraints of rural health systems to employ an effective HIT workforce, this study will survey rural primary care clinics across the country to determine their current and projected level of HIT adoption and demand for workers with HIT skills.
    Topics: Health information technology, Workforce
  • Supply of Physicians Waivered to Treat Opioid Addiction in Rural America: Policy Options to Remedy Critical Shortages
    This study will determine the extent to which a trained workforce exists in rural America that has received the necessary waiver to treat opioid addiction in outpatient settings with buprenorphine, a highly effective medication. It will identify areas with critical shortages and discuss policy options for expanding the supply of these qualified providers.
    Topics: Physicians, Substance use and treatment, Workforce
  • What Strategies Are Nurse Practitioner Educational Programs Using to Encourage Rural Practice?
    This study will quantify and describe nurse practitioner (NP) education programs that encourage NPs to practice in rural areas, and identify data sources that could be used in future studies of the effectiveness of these programs.
    Topics: Nurses and nurse practitioners, Physician assistants, Workforce



  • Community College's Contributions to the Education of Allied Health Professionals in Rural Areas of the U.S.
    This study will identify rural-serving community colleges across the U.S. and their 5-year graduation trends for specific allied health professions, examine the spectrum of how rural allied health professions education currently is being allocated and delivered, and explore how community economic status and estimated regional allied health workforce demand is associated with the availability of rural community college allied health education programs.
    Topics: Allied health professionals, Workforce
  • Factors Associated with Rural-Residing Registered Nurses' Choices to Work in Urban Locations and Larger Rural Cities
    While larger numbers of registered nurses (RNs) are living in rural areas, research from the WWAMI RHRC shows that since 1980, a growing percentage are commuting from rural residences to work within urban and larger rural cities. This study will explore factors that may be associated with RNs' decisions to commute away from their rural areas of residence to work in less rural areas.
    Topics: Nurses and nurse practitioners, Physician assistants, Workforce
  • Use of Recommended Radiation Therapy in the Rural U.S.
    This study will use cancer registry data from 10 U.S. states to examine which rural cancer patients are receiving recommended radiation therapy, and what factors influence receipt of recommended treatment. Identifying gaps in radiation therapy will inform cancer centers, rural program planners, and policy makers in rural cancer service locations and cancer support program development.
    Topics: Cancer, Chronic diseases and conditions, Health services




  • Changes in U.S. Rural Perinatal and Infant Health Care During the Last Decade
    This study examined changes in rates of adverse birth outcomes and prenatal care among rural Americans of different racial and ethnic groups during two time periods. The study used national data from the Linked Birth Death Data Sets to assess differences in low birth weight, neonatal death, post neonatal mortality and inadequate prenatal care.
    Topics: Children and adolescents, Health disparities and health equity, Maternal health
  • Long Term Trends in Characteristics of the Rural Nurse Workforce: A National Health Workforce Study
    This national study characterizes changes in the demographic, education and practice characteristics of registered nurses (RNs) in rural and urban areas from 1980 to 2004. This study provides important information for projecting future trends in rural RN supply.
    Topics: Nurses and nurse practitioners, Physician assistants, Workforce
  • National Changes in Physician Supply
    This project describes the supply of allopathic and osteopathic physicians in rural and urban areas of the US. Study results will provide a current picture of rural physician supply and its variation by state and by region.
    Topics: International Medical Graduates (IMGs), Physicians, Workforce



  • Rural Health Center Expansion and Recruitment Survey
    This collaborative project between WWAMI and the South Carolina Rural Health Research Centers examined and described the current staffing needs of rural health centers (HC), ascertained the staffing, recruitment, and retention issues that HC CEOs regard as most critical; distinguished how issues differ between CEOs contemplating development of expansion sites versus those who are not; and described how these findings correlate with the literature and current national supply projections for the categories of health professions needed by the HCs.
    Topics: Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), Workforce








  • Access to Cancer Services for Rural Colorectal Cancer Medicare Patients: A Multi-State Study
    This study examined a comprehensive database to quantify the distance and access to four types of cancer services in a sample of rural, Medicare-insured, CRC patients of different racial and ethnic groups, and will inform future work designed to understand discrepancies in cancer service use by the rural elderly in different racial and ethnic groups.
    Topics: Aging, Cancer, Chronic diseases and conditions, Health services, Medicare, Minority health
  • The Rural/Urban Practice Location Patterns of Women Medical School Graduates
    While women are becoming an increasingly large percentage of the graduates of medical schools, they are much less likely to locate their practices in rural towns. This study involved a survey including questions about where the residents preferred to locate and how much they thought they would be practicing in the future.
    Topics: Physicians, Women, Workforce