Lessons learned in phase I of the Southern Rural Access Program

J Rural Health. 2003:19 Suppl:416-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2003.tb01062.x.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Southern Rural Access Program has been an important investment of philanthropic funds to augment resources and improve health care access in underserved rural communities. The program's first phase has taught important lessons about building capacity in rural health care. This article uses a variety of data to document the program's major accomplishments and most significant challenges to date. The program's revolving loan fund efforts are promising. The program has also played a catalytic role in stimulating rural health network development in the South and has helped stimulate partnerships with Southern philanthropies and multiple local, state, and federal agencies. Challenges have included the broad geographic and programmatic focus of the initiative as well as changing and often difficult state policy environments. Additional challenges include maintaining interagency coordination over time and managing staff and lead agency turnover. Overall, the experience suggests that a concentrated regional approach has merit.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Planning / economics
  • Community Health Planning / organization & administration*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Financing, Organized
  • Foundations
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Medically Underserved Area*
  • Rural Health Services / economics
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Southeastern United States