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Rural Project Examples: Appalachia

Promising Examples

Closing Preventive Care Gaps in Underserved Areas
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: Address the need to increase cancer screening rates as well as other preventive care measures in Appalachian Kentucky, a region with high cancer incidence and mortality rates, and noted health disparities.
  • Intervention: Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and an academic center partnered to adapt and implement an office-based intervention, building on existing primary care resources to decrease gaps in preventive care measures, including cancer screenings.
  • Results: After intervention implementation, White House Clinics saw a marked increase in various preventive care measures, including screenings for cancer, human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C.
Contingency Management Smoking Cessation in Appalachia
Updated/reviewed April 2020
  • Need: To reduce smoking rates of pregnant women and adolescents in Appalachian regions of Eastern Kentucky and Ohio.
  • Intervention: A web-based smoking cessation program that offered monetary incentives to reducing smoking.
  • Results: Participants significantly reduced smoking rates or quit altogether.
Patient Centered Medical Home Practicum in Primary Care
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: Improvement in service quality and patient experience in primary care practices in North Carolina's Blue Ridge region and across the state.
  • Intervention: A practicum for healthcare management students was developed to help rural practices achieve Patient Care Medical Home (PCMH) status, identify quality improvement needs, and develop strategies.
  • Results: With the help of practicum students, rural primary practices have have tackled a number of important quality improvement projects, achieved PCMH status and Blue Quality Physician Program Recognition.

Other Project Examples

Grow Your Health
Updated/reviewed May 2021
  • Need: To reduce rates of chronic disease in Appalachian Ohio by increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
  • Intervention: Ohio State University Extension-Vinton County established a community garden, container gardens, and classes to provide residents with fresh produce and healthy cooking/canning techniques.
  • Results: The number of gardeners has increased in Vinton County, providing residents with healthier food.
Schools as a Hub for Health
Updated/reviewed April 2021
  • Need: To improve health outcomes in rural Appalachian Ohio.
  • Intervention: Schools as a Hub for Health promotes holistic wellness for the whole community by creating or bringing in programs that support physical, mental, and social health.
  • Results: The project has gained administrator buy-in and was featured in a December 2016 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps webinar.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy On the Move! Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE)
Updated/reviewed February 2021
  • Need: To decrease illicit drug and alcohol use in the Central Appalachian region of Kentucky, where many schools had no type of prevention curriculum.
  • Intervention: Using engaging simulations and presentations, the project delivers substance use prevention education to middle school and high school students.
  • Results: Post-test surveys show that thousands of students are reached through the "On the Move!" project and gain positive knowledge on the dangers of substance use.
Remote Area MedicalĀ®
Updated/reviewed January 2021
  • Need: A lack of basic medical, dental, and vision care for people living in isolated, impoverished, and underserved areas.
  • Intervention: Free pop-up medical clinics that provide care through a highly efficient system that serves as many patients as possible, utilizing a corps of volunteers made up of licensed medical professionals and laypeople.
  • Results: Community members in rural and other underserved areas are provided with necessary healthcare and health education, including dental and vision services, at no cost to the patients or taxpayers.
Smiles for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • 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 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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Garrett County Regional Cancer Patient Navigator Program
Updated/reviewed March 2020
  • Need: Comprehensive cancer services for residents of an 8-county, 3-state area in Appalachia.
  • Intervention: Using a Cancer Patient Navigation Tool Kit, a Maryland acute care facility led a multidisciplinary collaboration that provided the area's patients with expanded cancer treatment services.
  • Results: In addition to several new cancer-related programs, expanded services are now available for cancer patients, families, and cancer survivors.
Spit It Out-West Virginia
Updated/reviewed February 2020
  • Need: McDowell County, West Virginia, had high rates of tobacco use.
  • Intervention: The Spit It Out-West Virginia program (2008-2010) was created to increase access to tobacco cessation and prevention resources.
  • Results: Hundreds of people were provided with tobacco cessation efforts, 5 workplaces became tobacco free, and tobacco control efforts continue today.