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Rural Health Innovation Program

Empowering the next generation of rural public health leaders

Public health providers in rural areas face very different challenges than those in urban areas. Yet most public health master’s programs lack programming focused specifically on rural public health.

This is why Berkeley Public Health Online has launched the Rural Health Innovation Program. With backing from the Barr-Campbell Family Foundation, the initiative will offer 25 fully paid scholarships per year to eligible online MPH students.

All 25 Rural Health Scholars will study alongside a larger cohort of public health masters students across disciplines as well as a more intimate cohort that is equipped with a specialized rural health curricula.

In addition to program fees, books and travel expenses, Rural Health Innovation Scholars will receive membership in the National Rural Health Association.

Furthermore, 10 Scholars interested in activating change in rural health issues through policy will be selected as Rural Policy Fellows and will attend the National Rural Health Policy Institute in Washington, DC, where they will receive additional training in policy and advocacy and meet with key national policy leaders. It is in these meetings that Policy Fellows will craft their practicum, focusing on a policy topic in their area of interest.

The Rural Healthcare Innovation Program offers emerging rural public health leaders the unique opportunity to receive full support to attend a top online MPH program.

Rural health care professionals have the best understanding of the health challenges facing their own communities, including ingrained issues with health care systems, policies, and funding models—yet they lack influence over the policies that affect those communities. Too few are educated and empowered to act as leaders and advance change in health care policy at the state and federal levels.

The Rural Health Innovation Program at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health will produce the next generation of rural public health leaders, who will both reshape healthcare policies impacting rural communities and rework and reimagine existing healthcare systems to put these policy changes into effect, enabling rural Americans to access better care and healthy lives. Applications accepted through August 8, 2024, for a January 2025 start date.

About UC Berkeley’s Online MPH Program

Berkeley Public Health Online is a 27-month program designed for working people interested in improving their knowledge and practice in public health. We provide a top-notch, flexible, practice-based graduate education to professionals around the globe. Our online MPH program is ranked No. 1 in the country by University HQ and College Rank.

Application Details

With a generous founding donation from the Barr-Campbell Family Foundation, we are able to offer 25 fully funded scholarships to Berkeley Public Health Online students. RHI Scholars are passionate about reshaping healthcare policies impacting rural communities, policies that enable rural Americans to access better care and healthy lives. Scholarships will cover:

  • Online program fees equal to the required 42 units
  • UC Berkeley campus fees
  • Summer visit (travel, dining, lodging)

Scholars are eligible to receive this award for a maximum of seven (7) semesters.


In addition to meeting the requirements of Berkeley’s Online MPH program, RHI Scholars will:

  • RHI scholars should work or reside in a rural community (as defined by HRSA).
  • Have a deep understanding of and passion for improving public health issues particular to rural communities.
  • Have at least 3–5 years post-baccalaureate work experience, with a preference for 5–7 years work experience. Management experience is not required.

To apply for this scholarship, each of the following requirements must be complete for consideration:

  • You have completed your Online MPH application by August 8, 2024 for the January 2025 term. See the Online MPH application details here.
  • You have completed the ‘Documentation of Work Experience’ section in your online MPH application by uploading one document to verify your employment.
  • You have completed the ‘Relevant Info’ section in your online MPH application by uploading one document:
    • Response to: Please describe your experience working in the area of rural health (150 words)
    • Response to: Please describe what you want to learn about public health through the master’s degree and how you see yourself applying your work experience as a Rural Health Innovation Scholar to address the two most pressing problems in your community. (Please identify the two pressing problems in your essay) [up to 300 words]