Institute of
Rural Health

  • Our Mission - to improve the health of communities through research, education, and service.

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Institute of Rural Health

Institute of Rural Health celebrates 20 years at Idaho State University

In 1989, the Institute of Rural Health (IRH) was developed as a non-academic unit by Dr. Linda Hatzenbuehler, who was Dean of the College of Health-Related Professions at the time. The IRH was started to promote the growth of research and bring in external funding from both grants and contracts. The first director, Jeff Bartlome, started the IRH primarily with contract work. Following his untimely death, subsequent directors combined this with grant funded research.

Some of these grants and contracts provide funds for service and scholarships. The Idaho Community HealthCorps (an AmeriCorps program) places service members in community health centers and other sites to provide outreach, assist with advocacy needs, and provide health education. A new AmeriCorps program in 2009 provides assistance to Head Start programs throughout Idaho. In addition, the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program has provided more than $1.5 million, to ISU students enrolled in health-related programs since 1999.

Other grants and contracts have provided the means to conduct research on a wide variety of health-related topics. The IRH has been awarded more than $34,000,000 in grant and contract funds since its inception, and has some very talented researchers working in innovative and diverse areas of healthcare. Many of these researchers have been highly honored for their work. One researcher was selected as ISU’s Distinguished Researcher in 2004, and two have been selected as ISU Outstanding Researchers, one in 2005 and one in 2008. National and international honors include the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Public Interest Award for “fundamental and outstanding contributions to the public’s understanding of trauma,” the International Peabody Award, the Voice Award for service in the mental health field, and the American Psychological Association Presidential Citation. The Institute of Rural Health has also had the honor of a researcher being asked by the U.S. State Department to be the U.S. Representative to the Inter-Governmental Meeting of Experts in Indonesia to Formulate Psychosocial Programme for Rehabilitation of Tsunami Survivors. One researcher has also been honored as a 2009 Health Care Hero sponsored by the Idaho Business Review.

Some of the areas of research that the IRH is involved in include telehealth, traumatic brain injury, disaster awareness and preparedness, stigma and mental illness, youth suicide prevention, traumatic stress, the effects of alcohol in menopausal women, burden of injury studies with Native Americans, and health promotion. Innovation is an important aspect of research in the IRH, which can be seen by visiting the website at and clicking on the links for Play2TrainTM, Rocky Mountain Learning Distance Education, and Health IT Outreach Program.

For more information check out our website, and come celebrate with us at “Caring for Idaho,” the 22nd Annual Idaho Conference on Healthcare, Friday, October 30, 2009, sponsored by KCHP. We will have a variety of informational materials about our current projects and collaborations at our display booths.

October 2009