The Rural Health Initiative started in Shawano County in 2004.

It was the outcome of more than a year of meetings involving farm families, the UW Extension, Agri-businesses, healthcare systems such as ThedaCare and Shawano Medical Center, public health, veterinarian services, school systems, and others concerned with the farming community.

In 2012, the Rural Health Initiative expanded services to Outagamie and Waupaca Counties. This is a partnership between private and public agencies. The Initiative is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization, and is a community supported program.