The Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis Celebrates 25 Years of Innovative Policy Analysis, Research, and Evaluation
Chicago, November 17, 2021 — 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of The Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. Since its founding, the Walsh Center’s mission has been to conduct timely policy analysis, research, and evaluation that address the needs of policymakers, the health care workforce, and the public. All research focuses on issues that affect the health and well-being of rural Americans, such as payment policies, access to care, health care quality, public health systems, emergency preparedness, health workforce, and economic development.
The Center is named in honor of William B. Walsh, MD, whose lifelong mission was to bring health care to populations who are underserved. The Center was established in 1996 by Project HOPE and transferred to NORC at the University of Chicago in 2003. The Walsh Center is now part of NORC’s Public Health Research department and focuses on a wide array of issues affecting rural providers and residents. Over the course of its history, the Walsh Center has produced studies on behalf of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and many others.
“For 25 years, the Walsh Center has shined a light not only on the pressing issues facing rural America but the solutions as well,” said Dan Gaylin, president and CEO of NORC. “We were able to do both because we have consistently prioritized getting to know the communities we are studying. On-the-ground research has been essential to the Walsh Center’s success over the years.”
FORHP awarded the Walsh Center its first research funding that focused on rural Medicare studies, which was led by Curt Mueller. He currently serves as a NORC Senior Fellow and leads rural health services research studies for the Walsh Center. The Walsh Center also conducted the first study identifying the use of prescription drugs (i.e., opioids) in Appalachia, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission in 2008.
In recent years, the Walsh Center has supported FORHP in building an evidence base of programs and interventions that are effective in rural communities. Through a partnership with the Rural Health Information Hub, the Walsh Center has produced 25 toolkits on various topics, such as Community Health Workers and Transportation, that support rural communities in addressing locally identified issues that affect health. Collectively, these toolkits have had almost 7.3 million page views since the first toolkit was launched in 2011. The Walsh Center also partners with East Tennessee State University on the FORHP-funded Rural Health Equity Research Center. The Center annually conducts four research studies to develop strategies and recommendations for policymakers, rural health care providers, and rural communities to mitigate the individual and community-level impacts of substance use disorder, improve access to health care and social services, and improve population health.
“The Walsh Center, like rural communities, recognizes that success is based on collaboration. We greatly value our partnerships with rural communities and organizations that share our commitment to rural America,” said Alana Knudson, Walsh Center director. “Our goal for the next 25 years is to expand our work to identify and amplify solutions that leverage the many strengths and assets of rural communities to improve the health and well-being of rural residents while advancing health equity.”
“For 25 years, the Walsh Center has shined a light not only on the pressing issues facing rural America but the solutions as well.”
About the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis
The Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, established in 1996, conducts timely policy analysis, research, and evaluation that address the needs of policymakers, the health care workforce, and the public on issues that affect the health and well-being of rural Americans. The Walsh Center is part of NORC at the University of Chicago, an objective, nonpartisan research institution that delivers reliable data and rigorous analysis to guide critical programmatic, business, and policy decisions. See walshcenter.norc.org and @WalshCenter.
About NORC at the University of Chicago
NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.
Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 217-6814 (cell).