The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Rural Health Clinics' Operations and Cancer Prevention and Control Efforts


This study surveyed a stratified random sample of Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) throughout the country to examine how the pandemic has affected their overall operations and provision of cancer prevention and control services.

Key Findings

  • Roughly one in five of the more than 150 RHCs experienced a temporary closure due to the pandemic.
  • Stressors related to finances, changes in clinical operations, provider/staff self-quarantine, and provider/staff burnout were experienced by more than two-thirds of RHCs surveyed.
  • There was a significant rise in the percent of RHCs providing telehealth services during the pandemic. The pre-pandemic percentage was 23%, increasing to 92.2% during the pandemic.
  • Cancer-related prevention and control services including cancer screening, HPV vaccination, and tobacco cessation services dropped pre- vs. peri-pandemic.
Rural and Minority Health Research Center
Whitney Zahnd, Allie Silverman, Stella Self, Peiyin Hung, Nabil Natafgi, Swann Adams, Melinda Merrell, Shaun Owens, Elizabeth Crouch, Jan Eberth