Aerial Forest


The Health Equity and Rural Empowerment Initiative (HERE) is a coalition of regional academic partners, the health system, and community partners that aims to: (1) address health equity challenges in Northern New England; and (2) to engage in education, training, and technical assistance to build capacity for research, advocacy, and implementation of best practices within our region. The HERE Initiative brings together an academic consortium, working together with a robust network of health system and community partners, to address health equity challenges across the Northern New England Region through four inter-related strategies:

  • Generate evidence on rural health equity challenges across the region through academic, community, and health systems partnerships

  • Empower communities and leaders across sectors to address health equity and the broader determinants of health

  • Contribute to the development of a new generation of leaders dedicated to improving health equity

  • Translate community-based research into feasible and acceptable strategies for health systems and community partners to implement within their settings

To achieve this work, HERE is leveraging partnerships between academic institutions, health systems, and communities and longstanding community revitalization efforts while building new platforms for research, education and training, and systems-level change. A key goal will be to empower rural leaders to address and to train a health workforce committed to working in rural regions.

Recognizing the unique health needs of rural communities and the expertise of regional academic institutions, HERE focuses specifically on issues of rural health equity. Our focus on health equity begins from the foundational perspective that health is about much more than the prevalence of disease or the biomedical treatment of disease. Following this approach, health equity involves a broader perspective that encompasses medical and social determinants of health, such as poverty, discrimination, education, transportation, housing, and access to healthcare.