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Rural Project Examples: Promising

A program evaluation of this approach showed positive results.

Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs)
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: People in rural New Mexico often found it difficult to find and utilize needed resources from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC).
  • Intervention: UNMHSC created Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs), in which HERO agents live in the communities they serve, help identify health and social needs, and link them with UNMHSC and other university resources.
  • Results: In their regions, HERO agents' activities have been diverse, including recruiting physicians, mobilizing research funds to address local priorities, working on economic development, training laypeople in Mental Health First Aid, and helping local institutions access UNMHSC resources.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Nurse Navigator and Recovery Specialist Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: To properly address and treat patients who have concurrent substance use and chronic healthcare issues.
  • Intervention: A referral system utilizes community health workers (CHWs) in a drug and alcohol treatment setting. A registered nurse helps with providers' medication-assisted treatment programs.
  • Results: This program has reduced hospital emergency visits and hospital readmissions for patients since its inception.
Successfully Training and Educating Pre-medical Students (STEPS)
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: To increase the number of primary care providers in northeast Kentucky.
  • Intervention: STEPS provides support such as physician shadowing, mock interviews, and MCAT practice exams for regional students applying to medical school.
  • Results: 88% of participants have been accepted into medical school. The program has been replicated among most of Kentucky's regional AHECs.
Tomah Hearing Loss Prevention Outreach
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: Farmers are highly susceptible to permanent hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud machinery and livestock.
  • Intervention: Faculty and students from the audiology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison supplied earplugs, free hearing testing, and hearing loss prevention education to attendees and participants at a local tractor pull.
  • Results: More than 16,000 pairs of earplugs have been distributed, and attendees have been receptive to the hearing loss prevention education provided by the audiology team.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Cross-Walk: Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • Need: To address and treat substance use disorder (SUD) and depression in the Upper Great Lakes region.
  • Intervention: Cross-Walk, a program that integrates behavioral healthcare into primary care services, was developed in Michigan's Marquette County.
  • Results: The collaborative efforts strengthened care management services in local healthcare facilities as primary care patients were referred to a behavioral health specialist.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Smiles: Early Childhood Dental Outreach
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • Need: To decrease the number of children entering kindergarten with untreated tooth decay in the rural Appalachian counties of Rutherford, Polk, and McDowell in western North Carolina.
  • Intervention: A program to give children a dental home that included screenings, targeted outreach, and restorative services.
  • Results: An overall decrease within the service area of children entering kindergarten with sub-par oral health.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Noble County Outreach Project
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • Need: To help enroll and retain children and their families in health insurance in Noble County, Indiana.
  • Intervention: A school-based health insurance outreach project focused on connecting children to health insurance.
  • Results: More than 600 individuals enrolled in health insurance.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Northeast Louisiana Regional Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • Need: To prevent or slow the progression of diabetes for at-risk residents in Rural Northeast Louisiana.
  • Intervention: The North Louisiana Regional Alliance developed a program that offered screenings, education, and an intense course for participants throughout the Northeast Louisiana region to lower the risk of diabetes.
  • Results: The program saw an overall decrease in blood sugar levels in residents who participated in their initiatives.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP)
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • Need: An ongoing health need to alleviate early childhood obesity in the rural Kansas counties of Marshall and Nemaha.
  • Intervention: 5 distinct physical and nutritional programs were introduced to 9 preschool sites through the overarching Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP).
  • Results: HELP comprehensively increased children's physical activity and healthy food consumption and established a sustainable presence at each preschool site.
Project C.A.R.E.
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • Need: There is a lack of dementia-specific support for rural caregivers.
  • Intervention: Project C.A.R.E. was created to meet the needs of underserved caregivers of those with Alzheimer's or other dementias, targeting rural North Carolina.
  • Results: Under Project C.A.R.E., rural families receive information and referrals as well as individualized care consultation from dementia-trained family consultants.