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Gary Hart, PhD - Bio Sketch

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L. Gary Hart, PhD, is the director of the Center for Rural Health (CRH) at The University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS), Grand Forks.

As director of the CRH, Gary guides more than 50 faculty and staff dedicated to improving health opportunities and outcomes for rural Americans. Gary is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the SMHS and has research interests in rural health, health workforce, rural geographic taxonomies, access to healthcare, state and federal rural policy, and rural healthcare for the elderly, infants, and underserved. He has professional expertise in geographic and workforce analysis, geographic taxonomies, survey methodology, rural health and policy, and health workforce and policy.

Before joining the CRH, Gary was director and endowed professor of the Rural Health Office in the Community, Environment and Policy Division of the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He served on the advisory committee of the Arizona Area Health Education Center at the University of Arizona, which seeks to improve the health of individuals and communities by transforming healthcare through education.

Gary graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor of science degree in geography and a Secondary School Teaching Certification from the University of Utah, where he also earned a master of science degree in geography. He is a graduate of the Doctoral Opportunities Program in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Gary received his PhD in medical geography from the University of Washington.

Gary's extensive research findings have been widely published by respected professional journals in medical geography, family medicine, health education and health workforce, and rural health research and policy.


Established in 1980, the CRH is one of the nation’s most experienced rural health organizations. It has developed a full complement of programs to assist researchers, educators, policymakers, healthcare providers, and most important, rural residents to address changing rural environments by identifying and researching rural health issues, analyzing health policy, strengthening local capabilities, developing community-based alternatives, and advocating for rural concerns.