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Rural Project Examples: Community and faith-based initiatives

Promising Examples

Faith, Activity, and Nutrition
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To increase healthy eating and physical activity levels in Fairfield County, South Carolina.
  • Intervention: Community health advisors train church committees and deliver telephone-based technical assistance to improve opportunities, guidelines, messages, and pastor support for physical activity and healthy eating.
  • Results: In a 2018 study, churchgoers reported seeing more opportunities for physical activity as well as more messages and pastor support for physical activity and healthy eating. Intervention churches also had fewer inactive churchgoers, compared to control churches.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Youth4Health
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To educate youth about obesity and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Intervention: An educational program about healthy living was implemented in Lincoln and Claiborne Parishes in Louisiana for youth ages 9-18.
  • Results: Youth4Health program produced greater awareness and participation in healthier lifestyles by target youth and their families, as well as church congregations.
Health Motivator Program
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: To increase physical activity and other healthy habits for older adults in West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Community members called Health Motivators lead senior centers and community groups in a monthly educational activity.
  • Results: In a 2016 survey, 97% of Health Motivators and 92% of group members said that their health improved because of the program.
Maryland Faith Health Network
Updated/reviewed May 2018
  • 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, 1,300 congregants from 70 congregations representing Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths have enrolled in the Network.

Other Project Examples

Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: To help rural, low-income older adults in rural Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota maintain their independence and improve their health and well-being.
  • Intervention: The Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative improves service coordination, promotes social engagement, and provides programs like healthy cooking classes and caregiver support.
  • Results: Phase I served more than 1,550 vulnerable older adults in 80 communities, who reported lower stress and better quality of life.
Age-Friendly and Dementia-Friendly Winnemucca and Humboldt County
Updated/reviewed September 2020
  • Need: To make a rural community more inclusive for older adults.
  • Intervention: Winnemucca, Nevada, holds monthly meetings around topics like health, housing, social events, and transportation.
  • Results: So far, these meetings have led to more accessible transportation and parking. The effort went countywide in 2017.
Columbia Gorge Collective Impact Health Specialist
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To address the specific health needs of north central Oregon and south central Washington.
  • Intervention: The Collective Impact Health Specialist identifies community needs, convenes community partners to design initiatives that address those needs, and secures funding for health-related initiatives.
  • Results: Thanks to the CIHS, the Columbia Gorge region has received $12.5 million since 2014.
Neighbor to Neighbor
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To reduce social isolation and its negative effects on health for women in rural Kansas.
  • Intervention: Neighbor to Neighbor is a day center where women can socialize, eat free meals, and take care of basic needs such as laundry and showers.
  • Results: An average of 24 women and children visit the center every day. Positive comments from visitors suggest that the day center helps reduce their social isolation.
Litchfield County Opiate Task Force
Added March 2020
  • Need: To reduce substance use and harm from the opioid crisis in rural Litchfield County, Connecticut.
  • Intervention: A community network has come together to improve treatment and develop creative ideas and interventions as a response to the opioid crisis.
  • Results: More than 50 people from various sectors of the community meet each month. The LCOTF has also improved service coordination, access, and cross-sector communication; helped expand the number of agencies offering medication-assisted treatment; and introduced harm reduction resources.
Schools as a Hub for Health
Updated/reviewed March 2020
  • 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.