The features that draw Veterans to rural communities often separates them from quality health care. Many of America’s nearly 4.7 million rural Veterans struggle to access even basic levels of health services due to long drive times, provider shortages or hospital closures.

To help overcome these challenges, VA’s Office of Rural Health (ORH) operates field-based offices called Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers (VRHRCs). Through innovative research, VRHRCs identify solutions that bring care to wherever needed most.

You can find ORH’s VRHRCs located across the country, in Gainesville, Florida; Portland, Oregon; White River Junction, Vermont; Iowa City, Iowa; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Gainesville and Portland VRHRCs focus on several issues that affect rural Veterans. These issues include suicide prevention, substance abuse disorder and rural physician recruitment. Their work will support research taking place at other VRHRCs ranging from telehealth to community care coordination.

VRHRC’s work informs many ORH programs. This includes technology, partnerships and training to address a variety of challenges facing rural health care. From hiring physicians to bringing care to the patient’s living room, ORH initiatives are designed to help rural Veterans thrive regardless of where they call home.

More details

You can learn more about the role of ORH’s Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers at its website: or with the video below.

Thomas Klobucar, PhD, is the Executive Director for VA’s Office of Rural Health

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Published on Oct. 17, 2019

Estimated reading time is 1.2 min.

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One Comment

  1. Robert A Kinsler October 24, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Okay, I am getting tired of informing VA, VHA, Oklahoma CBOC in Idabel, Muskogee VAMC, OKC VAMC and others.

    The challenge you have is TRANSPORTATION. Where a veteran are living in small OK towns do not have transportation to travel 30 miles to meet a CBOC in Idabel, OK arranged appointment 3 times a week; Veterans in the OKC area do not know how to get to OKC VAMC using public transportation or cannot get OKC VAMC Transportation Department to answer his calls; Muskogee VAMC just recently published a listing of scheduled runs, leaving out numerous SE Oklahoma counties (including their own CBOC in Idabel) out of the listing; Ranchers and Farmers who live out in the counties who use land lines versus smart phones (or even my own flip phone), do not have tablets or computers to communicate to use Tele-Health systems (or do not trust them).

    I, at times, want to wake the CBOC in Idabel up but they seem to think that the veterans in McCurtain County OK are just not trying hard enough to get to their CBOC. Gee what do they need to do, walk all the way (sometimes that is 30 miles) or how about riding a horse (would be faster than walking I guess).

    I am just tired of trying to get it through the Oklahoma VA system heads, these folks need more than my set up with Bonham VAMC transporting folks from Pushmataha Co, through Choctaw Co to Bonham VAMC and back.

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