Call for Abstracts/Proposals

Request for Abstracts: Rural Health

Health Affairs is planning a theme issue on Rural Health, to be published in December 2019. We are grateful for the generous support of several funders (full list below).

Deadline: March 25, 2019

Preparation and formatting guidelines

Submit abstracts via our online submission form


The issue will examine differences between rural and non-rural regions of the country and explore the diverse conditions that characterize rural communities, as well as the differential effects that these conditions have–not only in terms of health across different groups and regions, but also on the policies aimed at creating conditions that promote health, wellbeing, and equity in rural communities. The issue will have a practical orientation aimed at drawing lessons from a growing evidence base of policies, practices, and models for improvement.

The issue will assess the existing body of research as well as research gaps, and present evidence and reports on promising strategies to improve health in rural communities. Articles will speak to the interests of public policy makers at all levels, as well as private-sector actors, such as providers and payers.
We plan to publish approximately 20 peer-reviewed articles including research, analyses, case studies, and commentaries from leading researchers and scholars, analysts, industry experts, and health and health care stakeholders.

We primarily seek empirical work–original research, systematic reviews, well-designed case studies–that presents evidence and analysis aimed at contributing to our knowledge. Papers should have a strong policy orientation, and we will put a premium on work that supports future planning and decision making. We are interested in reports of successful and failed initiatives and will also consider a small number of commentaries and overview papers to supplement the empirical work and provide context.


We invite all interested authors to submit abstracts for consideration for this issue. Editors will review the abstracts and, for those that best fit our vision and goals for the issue, invite authors to submit full papers for consideration for the issue.

In order to be considered, abstracts must be submitted no later than 11:59PM Eastern time, March 25, 2019. We regret that we will not be able to consider any abstracts submitted after that date. Abstracts must be submitted via our abstract submission portal—abstracts submitted via other channels will not be considered.

Topics and areas of interest include the following:

The health and demographics of rural America
  • Health status and health outcomes within and across rural areas and in comparison to non-rural areas
  • Aging, race & ethnicity
  • Chronic conditions, disability, mental health, maternity care
  • Health risks and behavior
  • Role and effects of culture
  • Impact of federal and state government policies/actions
  • Migrant workforce
Social determinants of rural health
  • Income and employment
  • Educational achievement, health literacy
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Environment, including “built environment” and the role of place/community
  • Housing/homelessness
Health care in rural America
  • Hospitals, professional services, workforce
  • Infrastructure such as broadband and transportation
  • Role of public and private insurance
  • Targeted payment models that support rural providers
  • Innovative models that expand access to rural populations
  • Responses to inability to rely upon traditional competitive forces
The future of rural health–overcoming barriers
  • Learning from successes/failures, improving policy
  • Improving data collection and analyses, including community-based participatory research
  • Reconceptualizing care delivery points to serve rural populations
  • Reconfiguring technology

First-person narratives that touch on these themes would also be of interest for consideration for our Narrative Matters section.

The list above is a guide and highlights a number of priority areas, but it is not exhaustive. We welcome submissions on complementary and related topics, as well.


The editors will evaluate submitted abstracts and, in early-April, will invite authors of selected abstracts to submit their work for consideration for the issue. Invited papers will be due at the journal by July 1, 2019.

Following submission, full manuscripts will be subjected to peer review from July to August 2019, with revision beginning in August and running through October 2019. Copyediting and production for the issue will take place in November 2019, with publication scheduled for December 2019.


Abstract submissions should not exceed 500 words. Please consult our online guidelines for additional formatting instructions and answers to frequently asked questions.

Submit abstracts via our online submission form

We thank you for your time and consideration. Please feel free to pass this invitation along to colleagues who might be interested, as well.

If you have questions about this request, please e-mail us at

We thank the following institutions for providing support for this issue: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, The Episcopal Health Foundation, The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Con Alma Health Foundation, Empire Health Foundation, and The John A. Hartford Foundation.