U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., have announced the establishment of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Office of Rural Health, which was included in the FY2023 funding bill signed into law by President Biden in December.
The CDC Office of Rural Health will enhance its rural health portfolio, coordinate rural health efforts across CDC programs, and develop a strategic plan for rural health at the agency.
Other objectives for the office will be accelerating innovation, making scientific and communication resources tailored to current rural public health needs, building and improving public health functions, and providing leadership in matters of public health infrastructure.
“The COVID pandemic highlighted the health care disparities in rural areas, especially, in rural states like Mississippi where the public-health response to the virus was less effective than in more urbanized regions,” Hyde-Smith said. “Senator Merkley and I fought to establish a CDC Office of Rural Health because people living and working in rural areas need to know their health care needs are not secondary to more urban areas. This new office should be empowered to look across CDC programs to ensure the agency’s work properly addresses the needs of the 57 million Americans who live in rural communities.”
The establishment of this office within the CDC stems from a bipartisan effort led by Hyde-Smith and Merkley, which brought attention to the critical need for health care services and providers to rural communities around the country.