Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Announcements

October 17, 2019

What’s New

New Guidelines for Long-Term Use of Opioids.  The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released a guide for clinicians on tapering or discontinuing long-term opioid prescriptions.  Individual patients, as well as the health of the public, benefit when opioids are prescribed only when the benefit of using opioids outweighs the risks.  But once a patient is on opioids for a prolonged duration, any abrupt change in the patient’s regimen may put the patient at risk of harm and should include a thorough, deliberative case review and discussion with the patient.  While rates of prescribing have declined in recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports data showing opioid prescribing rates have been significantly higher in nonmetropolitan counties than in metropolitan counties.

New Data: One in Three Children Have Suffered an Adverse Childhood Experience. According to the 2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), one in three children under the age of 18 have experienced stressful or traumatic events that are strongly related to a wide range of health problems throughout a person’s lifetime.  The NSCH is an annual survey conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration collecting information on several of these experiences, including:  having divorced/separated parents or a deceased parent, living with anyone with a drug or alcohol problem or who is mentally ill, having a parent who served time in jail, seeing or hearing parental violence, and witnessing or being the victim of neighborhood violence.  Last year, the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health & Human Services examined adverse childhood experiences from a rural perspective and made recommendations to federal policymakers.

Funding Opportunities

NIH Strategies to Reduce Disparities in Rural – December 13.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will invest up to $350,000 in research that promotes greater understanding of the challenges to better health outcomes and development of evidence-based interventions.  Eligible applicants are public and private entities at state and local levels, including small businesses, Native American tribal organizations, school districts, and public housing authorities. 

Policy Updates

Visit the FORHP Policy page to see all recent updates and send questions to ruralpolicy@hrsa.gov.


No policy updates this week.

Learning Events and Technical Assistance

OUD Treatment in Communities of Color – Thursday, October 17 at 12:00 pm ET.  In this 90-minute webinar, the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will address gaps in treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) in racial and ethnic minority populations.  Experts will describe culturally- and linguistically-appropriate strategies for providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including integrated care models, the use of telehealth, and addressing the social determinants of health through community partnerships.

NLM Overview of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women – Wednesday, October 23 at 12:00 pm ET. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health will discuss what’s being called an epidemic, along with opportunities for alliance and advocacy, in this hour-long webinar.

The Effects of Overexposure to Stories of Trauma – Wednesday, October 23 at 1:00 pm ET.  This webinar from the Migrant Clinicians Network provides an overview of stress and injury affecting the behavioral health of those who witness trauma. Kaethe Weingarten, PhD will discuss the role of clinicians, social workers, and other witnesses and helpers, describing coping strategies for both providers and clients.

AgriSafe: Mental Well-Being for Famers and Farm Families – Thursday, October 24 at 1:00 pm ET.  The AgriSafe Network hosts this one-hour webinar to address higher levels of depression among farmers and farm families and discuss culturally-competent approaches to mental health and well-being in rural agricultural communities.

Recovery and Medication Assisted Treatment – Thursday, October 24 at 1:00 pm ET.  The Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Learning Network will introduce Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and the role of federally-approved medications to treat opioid use disorders.  Experts will discuss how MAT fits into substance abuse treatment and recovery, identify the benefits and drawbacks of MAT, and address associated stigma.

Recognizing Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking – Friday, October 25 at 1:00 pm ET.  In a one-hour webinar, the National Center for Health in Public Housing will point out signs of domestic violence and human trafficking that can be identified by clinicians and staff in health settings.

HRSA Webinar: Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Thursday, October 31 at 1:00 pm ET.  Experts from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will discuss state-level efforts to address intimate partner violence and provide strategies for implementing trauma-informed care during this 90-minute webinar.

HRSA Webinar: Screening for Food Insecurity – Thursday, October 31 at 1:00 pm ET.  The Office of Regional Operations at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will host a one-hour webinar to help identify patients experiencing food insecurity and connect them to resources. In rural areas, access to nutritious food is often limited by financial and transportation constraints.

Save the Date:  National Rural Health Day – Thursday, November 21.  This annual observation that takes place on the third Thursday each November was created to increase awareness of rural health-related issues and challenges and to recognize those who are working to improve the health and wellbeing of the millions of people living in America’s rural communities. During the week of November 18-21 there will be twitter chats, webinars, a virtual job fair, and a special webcasted celebration featuring leaders of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and several HHS agencies.

Resource of the Week

New Rural Toolkit for COPDRural communities face many challenges to addressing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a condition affecting the lungs that is a major cause of death and disability in the United States.  This new toolkit from the Rural Health Information Hub provides a rural-specific overview of the disease and treatment, resources for implementing effective COPD programs, and models of programs that have proven effective in rural communities.

Approaching Deadlines

USDA Small Business Innovation Research, Phase I – October 23

Comments Requested:  Proposed Changes to Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder Patient Records – October 25

Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program – October 28   

Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas – October 31 

National Health Service Corps  Students to Service Loan Repayment Program October 31

USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) – October 31

Reducing Harm in High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas – November 1

Comments Requested: Rural Eligibility for FORHP Funding – November 2

Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship – November 6

EPA Technical Assistance for Small Public Water Systems – November 14

MAT-LINK: Researching Outcomes for Maternal OUD – November 15

PCORI: Community Convening for Patient-Centered Research – November 15

EPA Student Design Competition for People, Prosperity and the Planet – November 19

Rural Health Network Development Program  – November 25

HRSA Rural Health Network Development Planning Program – November 29

Bloomberg Public Health Fellows – December 1

Delta States Rural Development Grant Program  – December 6

NIH Strategies to Reduce Disparities in Rural – December 13

Partnership to Promote Local Efforts To Reduce Environmental Exposure – December 15

NIH: Research for Disparities Among Minority/Underserved Children – Cycles thru May 2020

Guaranteed Loans for Rural Rental Housing – Ongoing through 2021

Community Food Projects Technical Assistance – Ongoing

SBA Guaranteed Loans for Small Business – Ongoing

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund – Ongoing

Seeking Nominations: National Advisory Committee on Migrant Health – Ongoing

HUD Hospital Mortgage Insurance Program – Ongoing

RWJF Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health – Ongoing

Telecommunications Infrastructure Loans – Ongoing

Funding for Rural Water and Waste Disposal Projects –  Ongoing

Drinking Water and Waste Disposal for Rural and Native Alaskan Villages – Ongoing

HIT Strategies for Patient-Reported Outcome Measures – Ongoing

HIT to Improve Health Care Quality and Outcomes – Ongoing

Community Facilities Program –  Ongoing

Summer Food Service Program – Ongoing