NIH Rural Health Seminar

Improving Rural Health through Research Dissemination and Implementation

Virtual seminar conducted
Thursday, November 17, 2022
12:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET

NIH Videocast

The 2022 Rural Health Seminar centers on the intersection of rurality and other factors that impact how research is designed, disseminated and implemented with rural populations. Experts will discuss these factors in the context of the effects of social determinants of health, culture, race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender, chronic complex conditions, and the lived environments. The seminar, organized by the NIH Rural Health Special Interest Group, will include panel discussions and presentations.

12:00 – 12:05 p.m. ET

Opening Remarks
Karen Kehl, Ph.D., RN, Health Scientist Administrator, National Institute of Nursing Research

Priscah Mujuru, DrPH, MPH, RN, COHN-S, Health Scientist Administrator, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities

12:05 – 12:25 p.m. ET

Welcome Statements
Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D., Acting Director, National Institutes of Health

Shannon Zenk, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Director, National Institute of Nursing Research

12:25 – 1:00 p.m. ET

Panelist Introductions and Brief Presentations
Moderator: Sarah Young, Deputy Director, Policy Research Division, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration


  • Rima Afifi, Ph.D., Professor, Director of Prevention Research Center for Rural Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Julie Fritz, Ph.D., PT, FAPTA, Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean for Research, College of Health, University of Utah
  • Tiffany Haynes, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Director, UAMS Translational Research Institute (TRI) Community Engagement Core, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
1:00 – 1:20 p.m. ET Discussion and Questions
1:20 – 1:30 p.m. ET

Closing Remarks
Monica Webb Hooper, Ph.D., Deputy Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities



Sarah Young

Sarah Young
Sarah Young is Deputy Director for the Policy Research Division in the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy where she supports FORHP’s policy analysis, research, and Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 response programs. Sarah’s past work in FORHP has included analyzing rural hospital and Critical Access Hospital (CAH) policy and coordinating the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program focused on improving CAH quality of care and operational efficiency. Sarah holds an MPH from Portland State University in Oregon. Sarah entered federal service in 2011 through the Presidential Management Fellows Program.


Dr. Rima Afifi

Rima Afifi, Ph.D.
Rima Afifi is a professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, and Director of the Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (PRC-RH), College of Public Health, University of Iowa. Rima engages in public health education, research and practice with the intent to advance health equity and social justice. She acts to promote social, organizational, community, and policy environments conducive to well-being. Rima applies community-engaged research and cultural humility to equalize power, voice, and self determination of communities experiencing marginalization; and emphasizes knowledge transfer of research to practice and policy. Rima’s specific areas of research and practice focus are mental health, refugee and immigrant well-being, tobacco control, and intervention evaluation.

Dr. Julie Fritz

Julie Fritz, Ph.D., PT, FAPTA
Julie Fritz is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training, and the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Health at the University of Utah located in Salt Lake City. Her research has focused on examining nonpharmacologic treatments for individuals with spinal pain, including clinical trials and health services research. Currently, Dr. Fritz is leading projects funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including projects funded under the HEAL initiative addressing pain management and opioid use. She also leads a trial within the NIH-VA-DoD Pain Management Collaboratory investigating nonpharmacologic pain management in the Military Health System.

Dr. Tiffany Haynes

Tiffany Haynes, Ph.D.
Dr. Tiffany Haynes is a clinical psychologist, researcher, and mental health advocate who focuses on improving access to mental health services in underserved communities. Dr. Haynes is an associate professor in the Health Behavior and Health Education Department and the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS.) A renowned speaker and educator, Haynes seeks to improve our understanding of emotional health and decrease stigma through the sharing of personal stories.

NIH Speakers

Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak

Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak is performing the duties of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), officially having taken office on December 20, 2021. Dr. Tabak has served as the Principal Deputy Director and the Deputy Ethics Counselor of NIH since August 2010. He previously served as the Acting Principal Deputy Director of NIH (2009), and prior to that as Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) from 2000-2010.

Dr. Shannon Zenk

Shannon Zenk, Ph.D., MPH, RN, FAAN
Dr. Sharon Zenk is Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). She joined NINR in September 2020, following a 14-year career as a faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing and Institute for Health Research and Policy. With a background in nursing and public health, Dr. Zenk’s research focuses on community environments as a social determinant of health and health inequities. She and her team conducted pioneering research on food deserts in the United States.

Dr. Monica Webb Hooper

Monica Webb Hooper, Ph.D.
Dr. Monica Webb Hooper is Deputy Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. She works closely with the Director and leadership to oversee all aspects of the institute and to advance the mission of promoting the health of populations with health disparities and health equity.

NIH Co-Sponsors

Hosted by the NIH Rural Health Special Interest Group

The NIH Rural Health Interest Group (RHIG) hosts the Rural Health Seminar as its main activity to stimulate multidisciplinary discussions to advance rural health research. The seminar is held on National Rural Health Day, the third Thursday of every November, as designated by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.

The NIH RHIG works to raise awareness of rural health issues and improve biomedical, behavioral/social science, intervention and implementation research aimed at improving disease prevention, self-management, and care delivery across the care continuum. Its goal is to advance understanding of rural health disparities and stimulate research to identify multi-level, evidence-based solutions to improve rural health outcomes. It connects translational, clinical, and community-based researchers from diverse disciplines throughout the NIH, to research communities, and decision makers. Among researchers, it also provides opportunities for professional development, networking, and community engagement.

Planning Committee:

Individuals who need reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Edgar Dews (phone: 301-402-1366) at least five business days before the event.

Page updated April 18, 2023