Dates of Project: July 1997 to August 2009
Field of Work: Increasing access to health care in rural, underserved areas of eight Southern states
Synopsis of the Work: The Southern Rural Access Program was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that worked to increase access to health care in rural, underserved areas of eight southern states. The states recruited and retained rural primary care providers, offered programs to attract students committed to working in rural areas to the health professions and help prepare them for training programs, developed collaborative networks of rural health providers, and developed loan funds to help rural health providers improve their practices.
In West Virginia, one of the participating states, the nonprofit Center for Rural Health Development partnered with other organizations to set up a health care revolving loan fund. During the project period, the loan fund made more than 20 loans to finance health care projects costing a total of $16 million, including one loan to a clinic in rural Wirt County that previously had been unable to secure commercial funding. "The people in Wirt County wouldn't have a facility without the fund," said Sharon Lansdale, the West Virginia project director. Other funders contributed to the loan fund. Learn more in the sidebar.