U.S. mapThe National Advisory Committee
on Rural Health and Human Services

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The National Advisory Committee
on Rural Health and Human Services

The National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services (NACRHHS) is a 21-member citizens' panel of nationally recognized rural health experts that provides recommendations on rural issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Committee was chartered in 1987 to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services on ways to address health care problems in rural America. It was expanded to 21 members in 2002 and charged with focusing on both health and human service issues in rural areas.

The Committee is chaired by former South Carolina Governor David Beasley. The Committee's private and public-sector members reflect wide-ranging, first-hand experience with rural issues -- in medicine, nursing, administration, finance, law, research, business, public health, aging, welfare and human service issues.

The Committee is currently composed of 21 members, including the chairman, who serve overlapping four-year terms. The members represent expertise in the delivery, financing, research, development, and administration of health and human services in rural areas. Several members are involved in training rural health professionals. Others are representatives of state government, provider associations and other rural interest groups.

Each year, the Committee selects one or more topics upon which to focus during the year. Background documents are then prepared for the Committee by both staff and contractors to help inform members on the issue. The Committee then produces a report with recommendations on that issue for the Secretary by the end of the year. In addition to the report, the Committee may also produce white papers on select policy issues. The Committee also sends letters to the Secretary after each meeting. The letters serve as a vehicle for the Committee to raise other issues with the Secretary separate and apart from the report process.

The Committee meets three times a year. The first meeting is held during the winter months in Washington. The Committee then meets twice in the field (in June and September). The Washington meeting often coincides with the opening of a Congressional session and serves as a starting point for setting the Committee's agenda for the coming year. The field visits include ongoing work on the yearly topics with some time devoted to site visits and presentations by the host community.

See also Frequently Asked Questions on the Committee