The Agricultural Cooperative Extension Service model offers academic health centers methodologies for community engagement that can address the social determinants of disease. The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center developed Health Extension Rural Offices (HEROs) as a vehicle for its model of health extension. Health extension agents are located in rural communities across the state and are supported by regional coordinators and the Office of the Vice President for Community Health at the Health Sciences Center. The role of agents is to work with different sectors of the community in identifying high-priority health needs and linking those needs with university resources in education, clinical service and research. Community-based health extension agents can effectively bridge those needs with academic health center resources and extend those resources to address the underlying social determinants of disease.