New WEDA Member Spotlight: Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative 

WEDA would like to welcome our newest members – Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative. The RWHC is owned and operated by forty-three, rural acute, general medical-surgical hospitals. The Cooperative’s emphasis on developing a collaborative network among both freestanding and system affiliated rural hospitals distinguishes it from alternative approaches.

But let’s hear directly from our new member…

There is a new player entering Wisconsin’s economic development field – the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC)! RWHC is a statewide cooperative comprised of 43 rural acute general medical-surgical hospitals. The cooperative has a twin mission of advocacy and shared services for their members.

While it may seem untraditional for a healthcare organization to be adopting a specific economic development focus, the financial viability of our state’s rural healthcare providers is intrinsically intertwined with the economic health of the rural communities they serve. Rural hospitals are invaluable community members who not only contribute economically as large employers but also have a host of other strengths they can lend to local economic development projects.

RWHC’s new Community Economic Development Program is centered on the following pillars:

  • To help their members increase engagement in local economic development initiatives.
  • To prepare their members for effective local engagement through education, access to resources and technical assistance.
  • To have statewide economic development leaders both consider the impacts their work has on rural healthcare and to view rural healthcare providers as partners in economic development projects.

RWHC will be leveraging an asset based development approach to capitalize on the existing community ties of rural hospitals. The cooperative aims to grow and deepen the rural healthcare sector’s involvement in more diverse and impactful local development efforts. Additionally, RWHC will be using economic development as a tool to improve the social determinants of health in rural Wisconsin.

So how is this relevant for your work as an economic development professional? RWHC & its 43 members across the state would love to partner with you to make the communities we all live in and love stronger, more prosperous places! How would you know if there is a RWHC member in areas where you work? Check out their member map to see their members in every corner of the state, from Door County to Platteville to Ashland.

Curious about learning more? Interested in collaborating? Have an economic development project that you are looking for a healthcare partner or perspective in? If we can ever be of assistance or service, please do not hesitate to reach out to RWHC’s Director of Community Economic Development, Marie Barry, at