Patient engagement is increasingly recognized as a critical component in improving health care. Yet, there remains a gap in our understanding of the intricacies of rural patient engagement in health-related research. This article describes the process of engaging rural patients, caregivers and broader stakeholders to actively participate in an exploratory effort to understand rural perspectives around the patient-centered medical home model. Highlights of the project’s engagement activities demonstrate how giving voice to rural residents can have a significant impact. Lessons learned point to the importance of six factors for successful engagement of rural residents as partners in health care research: building relationships, defining expectations, establishing communication guidelines, developing shared understanding, facilitating dialogue, and valuing contributions.

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