About NRHA

Rural Health Awards Nominations

An Awards Event Celebrating Excellence in Rural Health

Each year NRHA honors outstanding individuals and organizations in the field of rural health who have dedicated their time and talents to improving the health and well-being of others. Previous recipients have stretched the boundaries of possibility by forging innovative programs and services, making rural life healthier and more compassionate.

Consider nominating your favorite rural health individual, program or organization so that they may be honored nationally for their contributions to rural health.

Selections will be made solely on the basis of a 300-500 word narrative, which is part of the nomination form. To ensure accountability, either the nominee or nominator must have a connection to NRHA through membershipNominations that do not meet the membership requirement will be disqualified without notice.

No more than three nominations per individual or organization will be accepted. If more than three nominations are received, only the first three will be given consideration. To ensure an equal platform, no letters of recommendation or other materials will be accepted.

NRHA accepts online submissions only.


Nominations for the 2021 Rural Health Awards are now closed and late submissions are not accepted – no exceptions. 2022 nominations will open in December. If you have questions about the Rural Health Awards, contact Donna Douglas.

If you have questions about the Rural Health Awards, contact Donna Douglas.

Awards presentation and recognition
The 2021 Awards presentation will be held during NRHA's 44th Annual Rural Health Conference, a virtual event. Awardees will be featured in a video presentation and will receive one full complimentary registration to the Annual Conference. Awardees will also receive a complimentary one-year individual membership to NRHA, coverage in Rural Horizons (NRHA’s quarterly publication), and a plaque or award appropriate for display.

JSI/NRHA Student Recognition
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, student award winners will receive a $1,000 cash award sponsored by John Snow Inc.

Click here for a list of previous award winners.
Click here to view acceptance videos of previous award winners.


Organizational awards

Outstanding Rural Health Organization

The Outstanding Rural Health Organization Award recognizes any community-based group or organization that has improved access to health services and information for rural people through innovative, comprehensive approaches. Factors considered include outreach, preventive health and education, quality and efficiency of care, and strong community support and involvement.


Outstanding Rural Health Program

The Outstanding Rural Health Program Award recognizes a community, regional or statewide program involving one or more health professionals or entities that promotes or facilitates the development of rural health delivery systems. Factors considered include coordination of services with other health care agencies to avoid duplication of services, networking and collaboration with other health care entities to achieve common goals, innovation in development and implementation, and lasting impact on populations and areas served.


Individual awards


Louis Gorin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health Care

The Louis Gorin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health Care is presented annually in memory of Louis Gorin, a federal employee who for 25 years helped lead the design and authorization of health initiatives for rural America. Award recipients are selected based on their creativity, unselfishness, compassion and cooperative attitude in seeking ways to make lasting contributions to rural health care. The nominees’ work should expand beyond the local community and have a demonstrated effect on rural health at state and national levels. This category includes, but is not limited to, contributions to rural health policy, legislation, health care and health programs.


Rural Health Practitioner of the Year

NRHA's Rural Health Practitioner of the Year Award recognizes a direct service provider for leadership in bringing health services to rural populations. This award is meant to be inclusive of all health disciplines (e.g. dentistry, optometry, nursing, etc.). Factors taken into consideration include providing outstanding care, involvement in the community, and lasting contributions to the health care system.


Outstanding Researcher or Educator Award

NRHA's Outstanding Researcher or Educator Award strives to recognize that health services research, as well as education and curriculum development specific to rural health needs, has the potential to make long-lasting contributions. Criteria considered include the scope of accomplishments, significance of the work to rural health, and sophistication of the scholarly effort. The premise is made that distinguished professionals in research and/or education have the potential through their own work, or through inspiring the work of others, to encourage, assist, enhance, expand and improve rural health. Nominees may be professionals in the fields of research or education.


NRHA/JSI Student Awards:

Eligible candidates for student awards include individuals enrolled in an institution of higher learning in some form or capacity (including residents, undergraduate, graduate, technical/vocational, community/ junior college students). 


Student Leadership Award

This award recognizes extraordinary leadership activities demonstrated by a student in the field of rural health. Candidates nominated for this award will have displayed a vested interest in improving rural health care and demonstrated an ability to work towards this improvement. Efforts may include organizing and directing rural health activities or groups, significant achievements, unique approaches to identifying or meeting needs, and commitment of time/effort.


Student Achievement Award
This award recognizes extraordinary student-initiated activity within the field of rural health. Nominees will have significant accomplishments in rural health care delivery, education, promotion, research and/or advocacy. Efforts may include clinical health care delivery, health care infrastructure development, significant health care research, and educational or promotional activities.