About NRHA

NRHA Constituency Groups

To accommodate our diverse membership, NRHA asks members to affiliate with a constituency group. NRHA represents people with a variety of professions and interests, including doctors, nurses, administrators, clinicians, non-physician providers, academics, researchers, mental health care providers, hospitals, students and many other groups. All of these individuals and organizations bring their own agendas to our common goal of ensuring affordable, accessible, high-quality health care for rural populations.

Through its constituency groups, NRHA is structured to represent these individual concerns as well as the more encompassing interests of the entire membership. Each group elects a chair to serve on NRHA's Board of Trustees and Rural Health Policy Congress. In addition, constituency groups are allowed one representative on the Rural Health Policy Congress for each 50 affiliated votes, with the chair representing the first 100 votes.

Individual members of NRHA have one vote, while organizational and supporting members have two, which can be split between more than one constituency group. Individuals can affiliate with more than one constituency group but can vote in only one. Constituency groups give individual interests and agendas a voice in the leadership of NRHA, helping to determine its policies and direction.

There are currently ten recognized constituency groups within NRHA, and several more are in formation. Click on any of the constituency groups listed below to find out more. To join a constituency group, contact NRHA's membership team.



Clinical Services CG:

Kate Hill, R.N.

Spring House, Pa.



This group represents interests in clinical issues, including proprietary and non-proprietary practices.

Federally Qualified Health Centers CG:

Toniann Richard

Lexington, Mo.


This group is comprised of NRHA members interested in encouraging the delivery of quality primary care programs through rural federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).



Frontier CG:

R. Scott Daniels, Ph.D.

Hilo, Hawaii


The interests of NRHA members working or living in sparsely populated areas are served by this group. Members come from all areas, including hospitals, medical practices, public health, emergency medicine, state health organizations, research and more.

Hospitals and Health Systems CG:

Leslie Marsh, R.N.

Lexington, Neb.


This group is NRHA's largest, representing those affiliated with rural hospitals, health systems or hospitals with significant interest in rural areas.


Public Health CG:

Judith Shaplin

Alpine, Calif.


This group represents members interested in public health, often described as three core functions: assessing the health needs of a population, developing policies to meet these needs, and assuring that services are always available and organized to meet challenges at the individual and community levels.


Research and Education CG:

Elizabeth Crouch, Ph.D.

Columbia, S.C.


This group includes practitioners and scientists at academic medical centers as well as those involved in health professions education. Area health education centers and rural health research centers are also well represented.The group manages several sessions at NRHA's Annual Rural Health Conference; co-sponsors other educational conferences throughout the year; and provides support for NRHA’s Journal of Rural Health.


Rural Health Clinics CG:

Joanie M. Perkins

Ruleville, Miss.


This group is comprised of NRHA members interested in encouraging the delivery of quality primary care services through the federally designated rural health clinic program..

Statewide Health Resources CG:

Sally T. Buck

Duluth, Minn.


This group is comprised of NRHA members interested in building or strengthening statewide resources to improve workforce, access and resources. Its membership is a diverse group that strives to develop collaboration and communication to foster statewide partnerships.

Student CG:

Douglas Snow

Alpena, Mich.


This group is comprised of student members, whose input is very important to NRHA since they are the future leaders in rural America. Students can come together with their peers, educators, administrators, health professionals and other stakeholders to discuss rural health.


Forming constituency groups
In order to become a recognized constituency group within NRHA, a group of members with a specific interest must gather 75 signatures of members willing to affiliate with that constituency. The group can then petition the Board of Trustees for provisional status. When provisional status is granted, the constituency then has one year in which to increase its membership to 100 to gain full recognition as a constituency group.