In 2009, the Bill Lane Center for the American West launched the Rural West Initative, which seeks to research and document contemporary life in the Rural West. Our work examines life in rural western areas through scholarship, public policy, and journalism.
As the pace of urbanization accelerates in the western United States, the Rural West Initiative highlights the important role of rural communities in the region. Often overlooked in broader regional discussions, rural communities offer an important lens into the economics, environment, and health of the changing West. Through research and outreach, the Center is building a network of institutions and individuals to:
- Identify common patterns across states, and develop best practices that can be shared across the Rural West;
- Engage key actors at Stanford and other western universities to collaboratively problem-solve together through scholarship and research; and
- Focus Stanford’s academic and clinical resources on policies and research that improve Rural Westerners’ health and health care access.
Held each spring at a selected venue around the West, the conference is an interdisciplinary workshop that brings together academics, practitioners, and policymakers to share knowledge and ideas about the Rural West.
Collaboration and Compromise in the Rural West
Yakima, Washington, March 2018
Improving Health and Health Care in the Rural West
Stanford, California, January 2018
Toward a Healthier Rural West
Sante Fe, New Mexico, March 2017
People and Place in the Rural American West
Missoula, Montana, March 2016
Preservation and Transformation: The Future of the Rural West
Troutdale, Oregon, March 2015
Rethinking the Rural-Urban Divide in the Modern American West
Stanford, California, March 2014
Toward a Common Understanding of Regional Issues
Ogden, Utah, October 2012