In conjunction with NRHD, NOSORH established its annual Community Star Recognition Program, sharing a collection of stories of those who are making a difference and positively impacting their communities in several vital health-related areas. In 2020, NOSORH received 84 nominations representing 48 states. This year, NOSORH hopes to share stories of Community Stars from all 50 states. 

The Community Star Recognition Program is designed to honor those whose contributions are making a difference in rural through collaboration, education, innovation, and communication. The 2021 Community Star Selection Committee will review and evaluate nominations, making recommendations for which stories to include in this year’s book and other NRHD activities based on the following merits. Nominee’s work and accomplishments should include at least one of the following:

  • Demonstrate that they contribute to cultivating a vital, innovative rural health landscape and infrastructure
  • Develop leadership capacity to grow rural population health and health equity
  • Build capacity for rural data-driven program planning and decision making
  • Contribute to rural health innovation, education, collaboration, and communication


The following are the primary eligibility requirements for both organizations and individuals:

  • Must be located, working or volunteering in a designated rural area
  • Government officials and self-nominations* are not eligible for this recognition program 
  • Nominees that have already been recognized as a Community Star in previous years are not eligible

Past nominees have included physicians, nurses, allied health providers, hospital administrators, board members, volunteers, community health workers, and first responders. Other nominees have included coalitions and collaborators working together on initiatives that address social determinants of health, responding to a specific health need/crisis, or leading community-driven health and wellness programs.

*Examples of self-nominations include an individual or agency nominating their employer or client, or a member of a cooperative or team nominating their cooperative or team.

Any person with a close connection and familiar with the work of the nominee may submit nominations.   

The nominee must consent to accepting the nomination and participating in the nomination process, including an interview. 

Nominate a Community Star online by clicking here.

Community Star nominations will be accepted until 5:00pm Central Time on August 2, 2021. Once the nomination period closes, no additional submissions will be considered.

There are no associated fees with the Community Star Recognition Program.

The 2021 Community Star Selection Committee, comprised of NOSORH members, will review and evaluate nominations, making recommendations for which stories to include in this year’s book and other NRHD activities based on eligibility requirements referenced above. 

Once a nomination is received, the Community Star Program Coordinator will contact the nominee via email, as well as notify a key contact within the nominee’s State Office of Rural Health. Nominees will be asked to verify details provided by the nominator on the nomination form. More information about the process and next steps will be provided once nominations close.

Selected Community Stars are included in an annual (electronic and print) book released on National Rural Health Day, November 18, 2021. There are no monetary or memento awards; however, NOSORH actively shares news about Community Stars with media and social media outlets.

State Offices of Rural Health, the nominee’s employer, and the community where they serve, are all encouraged to promote their selected Community Star by hosting a local celebration or recognition ceremony. Due to the ongoing pandemic, NOSORH is encouraging only virtual events, or those where physical distancing is possible in 2021. 

Nominators, nominees, and all those joining the NRHD celebration of Community Stars are also encouraged to share the news through social media or inviting their press contacts to cover their hometown Community Star’s story. NOSORH’s Community Star Recognition Program team develops and shares promotional tools and templates in advance of the NRHD and prior to the book’s debut on NRHD.

All 50 states have a SORH. These offices vary in size, scope, organization, and in services and resources they provide. The general purpose of each SORH is to help their rural communities build healthcare delivery systems. While funding levels and sources also vary, every state receives a portion of their funding from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy through the SORH Grant program. With this grant, a SORH is expected to:

  • Collect and disseminate information
  • Coordinate rural healthcare activities in states to avoid duplication
  • Provide technical assistance to public and non-profit private entities

Have further questions?

Contact Brea Corsaro, Community Star Program Coordinator, at

printable FAQs


Community Star Photo Submission Guidelines

Thank you for following these guidelines when submitting a Community Star photo!

Please refer to our photo submission guidelines when choosing the best shot for your profile page. Share them with your photographer if scheduling a professional photo shoot. 


2021 Community Star
Nominations Now Closed

Community Star nominations were accepted through 8:00pm Central Time on August 2, 2021. Once the nomination period closes, no additional submissions will be considered.