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Rural Project Examples: Community engagement and volunteerism

Effective Examples

Calhoun County Community Dental Access Initiative
Updated/reviewed August 2016
  • Need: Poor and uninsured residents of Calhoun County, Michigan were in need of dental services but lacked the funds to pay on their own.
  • Intervention: The Community Dental Access Initiative created a "pay it forward" dental program where patients volunteered in their community in exchange for dental services and oral health education.
  • Results: Treatment worth nearly $1,100,000 has been provided to residents, the community has seen a decrease in dental-related emergency room visits, and over 98,000 volunteer community service hours have been provided by patients.

Promising Examples

Communities that Care (CTC) Coalition
Updated/reviewed May 2017
  • Need: A way to address substance abuse among teenagers in Massachusetts's predominately rural areas of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region.
  • Intervention: A community-based prevention initiative was formed to reduce youth violence, delinquency, and alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Results: CTC has seen significant reductions in substance abuse among local youth in the 30 rural towns they serve.

Other Project Examples

Smiles for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: Oral healthcare for low-income adults and children unable to obtain dental care in the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Public health dental hygienists act as gatekeepers, screening low-income clients and placing them with area dental providers who volunteer, from their private practices, to provide most-needed dental treatment.
  • Results: Reduces the number of emergency department visits for dental pain and infections and provides a safety net for those unable to afford dental treatment.
Tea Time with Teens
Updated/reviewed September 2017
  • Need: To lower teen pregnancy rates in Marlboro County, South Carolina, and develop teen leaders.
  • Intervention: Tea Time with Teens brings together community leaders, mothers, and daughters to build life skills and make healthy decisions.
  • Results: Over 50 teens participate in the Tea Time with Teens program in Marlboro County, and the program has served approximately 100 teens since its inception.
Project VISION
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: To reduce opioid use and increase quality of life in Rutland, Vermont.
  • Intervention: Project VISION works to reduce opioid use through community engagement.
  • Results: Since 2012, Project VISION has collected and disposed of 550 pounds of unused medications and reduced burglaries by 58%.
Healthy Adams County
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: Health initiatives in rural Pennsylvania communities to address locally-identified health disparities.
  • Intervention: Healthy Adams County was created by its rural community members to promote community-wide health.
  • Results: Community task forces have been formed to address breast cancer prevention, food policies, behavioral health, health literacy, oral health, tobacco prevention, and other rural, community-identified needs.
HopeWest Hospice
Updated/reviewed May 2017
  • Need: To provide easily-accessible and affordable hospice, palliative care, and grief services to patients and families facing life-threating illnesses in Colorado's Western Slope counties.
  • Intervention: A nonprofit, community-sustained healthcare model was created to address serious illness care and grief needs of adults and children.
  • Results: Since 1993, HopeWest Hospice has helped more than 18,500 patients and families in need and has grown to serve five counties.
Maryland Faith Health Network
Updated/reviewed May 2017
  • Need: To coordinate formal and informal community-based caregivers for optimal patient experience.
  • Intervention: The Maryland Faith Health Network unites places of worship and healthcare systems in Maryland. This program aims to decrease the amount of potentially avoidable hospitalizations, improve a patient's overall wellness, and cut down on the cost of medical services.
  • Results: This model is currently running in 3 hospitals that serve both rural and urban residents in central Maryland. So far, 68 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations as well as 1,300 congregants have enrolled in the Network.
Care Partners of Cook County
Updated/reviewed April 2017
  • Need: To provide holistic, interdisciplinary palliative care to those with chronic illnesses in rural hospitals in Cook County, Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Care Partners of Cook County created a palliative care program that utilizes local healthcare professionals and volunteers to provide universal care to patients and caregivers, without Medicare hospice status.
  • Results: Since its inception in 2010, the program has assisted over 185 residents in need.
Hoonah Fun and Fit Partnership
Updated/reviewed February 2017
  • Need: Rural Alaskans are significantly more likely to be obese compared to the rest of the state.
  • Intervention: The rural community of Hoonah, AK, is creating more opportunities for participation in physical activities and community engagement through Hoonah Fun and Fit Partnership.
  • Results: Healthier school menus and various fitness options are being encouraged throughout the community. Community members have reported healthier lifestyles and higher levels of physical activity.