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Rural Health Models and Innovations Funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

A collection of rural health projects that received support from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy:

Effective Examples

Perinatal Health Partners Southeast Georgia
Updated/reviewed March 2018
  • Need: In the 11 rural southeast Georgia counties, high-risk pregnant women potentially face adverse birth outcomes, including maternal or infant mortality, low birthweight, very low birthweight, or other medical or developmental problems.
  • Intervention: An in-home nursing case management program for high-risk pregnant women in order to maximize pregnancy outcomes for mothers and their newborns.
  • Results: Mothers carry their babies longer and the babies are larger when born, leading to improved health outcomes.
Livingston County Help For Seniors
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: Meeting the health needs of geriatric patients in rural Livingston County, New York.
  • Intervention: The Help for Seniors program was developed and using its “vodcasts,’ local EMTs were trained in geriatric screening methods and health needs treatment.
  • Results: In addition to developing a successful model for educating EMS personnel, the program screened over 1200 individuals and identified various risks among the geriatric population.
Madison Outreach and Services through Telehealth (MOST) Network
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: More mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services in rural Texas.
  • Intervention: A network was formed to bring counseling services through telehealth systems and community health workers to Brazos Valley, Texas.
  • Results: The program improved health outcomes, increased general knowledge of the impact of substance abuse, and raised awareness of services among Hispanic residents.
One Community Health's Wellness Programs
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: Difficulties obtaining healthcare access to treat diabetes and obesity for low-income and Spanish-speaking residents of Oregon and Washington's Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Intervention: A local healthcare facility developed wellness programs using bilingual community health workers to provide education and support that improves diets, physical activity, and teaches stress management.
  • Results: Many participants in the wellness programs have maintained or lost weight and have seen reductions in their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Vegetable vouchers, cooking classes, and budgeting education has also helped patients afford healthy food.
Health Coaches for Hypertension Control
Updated/reviewed September 2017
  • Need: A cost-effective approach to help rural patients with hypertension learn to manage their condition.
  • Intervention: Community volunteers trained as health coaches provided an 8-session hypertension management training program to hypertension patients older than 60, with an optional supplemental 8 sessions focused on nutrition and physical activity.
  • Results: Just 16 weeks after the program, participants had improved systolic blood pressure, weight, and fasting glucose, greater knowledge of hypertension, and improved self-reported behaviors.
Regional Oral Health Pathways
Updated/reviewed September 2017
  • Need: To address the oral health needs of low-income uninsured and underinsured residents in rural Appalachia.
  • Intervention: An oral health education program was implemented in Appalachian Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
  • Results: This program has increased oral health visits in the area and has provided residents with valuable information on oral health resources and services.
Vivir Mejor! (Live Better!) System of Diabetes Prevention and Care
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: To address high rates of diabetes in rural Hispanic/Latino populations near the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Intervention: A comprehensive, culturally competent diabetes education program was implemented in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
  • Results: Since 2012, this program has helped participants better manage their diabetes and increase healthy living behaviors.

Promising Examples

MI-Connect Community Health Worker Program
Updated/reviewed March 2018
  • Need: To improve healthcare access for rural Michigan residents managing chronic diseases.
  • Intervention: Community health workers (CHWs) were used to link chronically ill patients with the healthcare services in the Michigan counties of Alcona, Iosco, Arenac, Ogemaw, and Oscoda.
  • Results: This program has provided assistance to more than 400 individuals in the 5-county service area.
TUSM-MMC Program Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship
Updated/reviewed February 2018
  • Need: To fill vacant medical positions in Maine's rural medical facilities.
  • Intervention: The Tufts Maine Track LIC program offers clerkships in rural medical facilities, exposing medical school students to the positives and possibilities that rural practices have to offer.
  • Results: The program has seen an increase in students' interest to practice in rural Maine. The majority have pursued medical careers in one of the 6 core specialties studied during their clerkship.
High Plains Community Health Center Care Teams
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: Meeting health care demands in a region with a limited number of physicians, where recruiting additional providers is considered impractical.
  • Intervention: Using the additional support of health coaches, implementation of care teams consisting of 3 medical assistants to support each provider.
  • Results: More patients seen per provider hour, with improved patient outcomes and clinic cost savings.