Bita Fayad

Alex Morales

Bita Fayad

Alex Morales

Bita Fayad

Carl Latkin


Alex Morales


Oftentimes, the communities most affected by health crises (e.g., the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic, outbreaks of measles) are rural ones, left in physical and social isolation. These impacted communities and other concerned parties have no centralized access to reliable information and often lack the necessary power to enact beneficial policies (e.g., implementing syringe exchange programs, expanding testing and prevention). In addition to the improvement of overextension in health workers, policymakers require to identify needs and solutions to the crisis, and rural inhabitants need effective approaches to receive and share concise information and to counteract misconceptions. This grid pursues these goals and tests innovative methods of public health communication.

The GROV is a network of researchers and state/local health departments united by the goal of investigating, communicating, and pursuing practical solutions for rural communities.


The Opioid Epidemic: In 2016, Van Handel et al. used a number of indicators to calculate an HIV/HCV vulnerability score for each US county to identify which were most vulnerable. On top of securing vulnerability scores for HIV/HCV, the scores also reveal many counties in the Midwest and Appalachia that are particularly vulnerable to the US opioid epidemic.


The GROV comprises state health agencies and county health departments from many of these vulnerable regions (see the left panel of below figure for vulnerable states/counties and the right panel for those partnered with the GROV) and as of July 2018, includes 42% of the most vulnerable counties in the Midwest and Appalachia while other health departments continue to join.  

Health Departments
  • Georgia Department of Public Health

  • Indiana State Department of Health

  • Kansas Department of Health & Environment*

  • Kentucky Health Department*

  • Michigan Department of Health and Human Services*

  • Missouri Department of Health*

  • Ohio Department of Health*

  • Tennessee Department of Health*

  • Virginia Department of Health*

  • West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources 

*represented via specific county health departments

States, Counties, and Types of Agencies 

© 2019 by The GROV.