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Match the Program to the Community’s Needs

There are a variety of program models that can be used to address rural health issues. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The most appropriate model for a community depends on:

  • The target population’s characteristics, needs, values, and preferences
  • Setting
  • Length of the program
  • Desired outcomes
  • Environmental and organizational context
  • Relationships between stakeholders (such as healthcare organizations, local government, or other community services)
  • Financial and human resources
  • Culture

For more information about evidence-based and promising program models that have worked in rural communities, see the Community Health Gateway's Rural Health Models and Innovations.

For examples of models that have worked within specific program areas, see the Program Clearinghouses in these issue-specific toolkits:

Resources to Learn More

One Size Does Not Fit All: Meeting the HealthCare Needs of Diverse Populations
Document
This guide provides a framework for hospitals and communities to develop and implement practices that meet diverse patient needs. It proposes potential solutions to overcome some of the challenges faced when providing safe, quality health care in a complex system.
Organization(s): The Joint Commission
Date: 2008

Criteria for Choosing Promising Practices and Community Interventions
Website
Explains what qualifies as an evidence-based program and how to use that information to select the program that is best for a community.
Organization(s): University of Kansas Work Group for Community Health and Development

Community Health Assessment aNd Group Evaluation (CHANGE) Action Guide: Building a Foundation of Knowledge to Prioritize Community Needs
Document
This guide provides instructions to implement the CHANGE tool. The resource is designed to be a compilation of best practices for communities to understand the policies and systems currently in place throughout the community; develop a plan for improve community health; and help prioritize community needs and allocate available resources.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 2010