This article describes the processes and outcomes of an action research project targeted at describing 'best practice' as experienced by interdisciplinary rural health projects funded by the Quentin N. Burdick Program for Rural Interdisciplinary Training, a Federally funded training grant competition in the USA. Each of 15 rural interdisciplinary health training projects across the areas of mental health, chronic disease, diabetes, minority health, and geriatrics was used to build a qualitative case study representing best practice experiences in projects focused on improving rural access to care. Across these programs, best practice is seen in the integrated dimensions of connections, community, and culture. In the USA, academic institutions build meaningful authentic connections with rural communities as they work together in meeting community needs, while demonstrating sensitivity and respect for cultural perspectives. Implications are offered in the context of higher education, health care delivery, and Federal initiatives within the USA.
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