Development of the Montana Office of Rural Health (MORH) was started in 1987 in partnership with the Montana Area Health Education Center (Montana AHEC). On April 30, 1991, Governor Stan Stephens designated Montana State University as the state entity to submit the Montana application for federal funding through the State Office of Rural Health (SORH) grant program. In 1991, the MORH received federal funding through the SORH grant program. On March 19, 1992, the Board of Regents of the Montana University System recognized the designation of the MORH as a program of Montana State University.


All of the State Offices of Rural Health are required to conduct activities which will accomplish three core and two additional functions:

  • Establish and maintain a State clearinghouse for collecting and disseminating information on rural healthcare issues, research findings related to rural healthcare, and innovative approaches to the delivery of health care in rural areas
  • Coordinate activities carried out in the state that relate to rural healthcare; including providing coordination to avoid duplication in such activities.
  • Identify Federal, State and nongovernmental programs regarding rural health and provide technical assistance to public and nonprofit entities regarding participation in such programs.
  • Encourage recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural areas.
  • Participate in strengthening State, local and Federal partnerships in rural health.

National Organziation of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH)

The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) was established in 1995 to assist State Offices of Rural Health in their efforts to improve access to, and the quality of, health care for America’s 61 million rural citizens. NOSORH enhances the capacity of SORHs to do this by supporting the development of state and community rural health leaders; creating and facilitating state, regional and national partnerships that foster information sharing and spur rural health-related programs/activities; and enhancing access to quality healthcare services in rural communities.