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To someone from a more rural area, Pennsylvania may be perceived as one big city stretching from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. It’s the sixth most populated state but only 33rd in size. So, if you’re from Wyoming, it may seem like there are a lot of people crammed into a small space.

But if you come to Pennsylvania (the 3RNet meeting is in Philadelphia in September!) you’ll find large stretches of woodlands and farms plus thousands of miles of fresh waterways. We have several mountain ranges (we call them mountains, you might call them hills): the Poconos, the Endless Mountains, and the Appalachian Mountains. Our farm production might surprise you. For example, we’re the number one state for mushroom production and a top dairy and egg producing state.

But our rural areas are never that far from a sizable town. And much of our rural regions are served by great healthcare services.

Geisinger and Guthrie health systems cover large swaths of rural counties in central and northern Pennsylvania. UPMC Health System has expanded through most of the state including rural areas in Pennsylvania’s western and northern regions.

But we’re most proud of the fine rural health clinics and community health centers that serve low-income Pennsylvanians throughout the state. They include:

Primary Health Network, the largest federally qualified health center in Pennsylvania, has more than 45 sites in 16 counties and it continues to grow.

Rural health clinics include Conneaut Valley Health Center in Meadville, Penn Highlands and Cole Memorial in Coudersport.

Smaller community health centers – some with only one location – serve large areas of rural Pennsylvania. They include: Keystone Rural Health ConsortiaBroad Top Medical CenterHyndmanGlendale Medical Associates

Migrant farm workers are present in many areas of Pennsylvania. Keystone Health Center serves orchard workers in southcentral PA and La Comunidad Hispana (LCH) works with migrant mushroom farm workers in rural areas just outside of Philadelphia.

In the mountainous northeast corner of the state, several FQHCs serve residents including Wayne MemorialRural Health Corporation, and NEPA Community Health.

And, finally, you can often find a horse and buggy tied up outside Welsh Mountain Health Centers, where patients are often Amish or Mennonite.

While rural, these health centers are never more than 1 or 2 hours from a sizable town. In Pennsylvania, you can reap the rewards of living and working in a rural region while still having access to restaurants, shopping and culture.

Deer in rural Pennsylvania.

Welsh Mountain Health Center in New Holland, Pennsylvania.


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