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Rural Project Examples: Community engagement and volunteerism

Promising Examples

Communities that Care Coalition
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: A way to improve the health and well-being of young people by addressing substance abuse in rural areas of Massachusetts's Franklin County and the North Quabbin.
  • Intervention: A community-based prevention initiative was formed to reduce youth violence, delinquency, alcohol and tobacco use, and to promote proper nutrition and physical activity.
  • Results: CTC has seen significant reductions in substance abuse among local youth in the 30 rural towns they serve.
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
Added November 2019
  • 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 1,100 vulnerable older adults in 70 communities, who reported lower stress and better quality of life.
Smiles for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2019
  • 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.
Tea Time with Teens
Updated/reviewed November 2019
  • Need: To lower teen pregnancy rates in Marlboro County, South Carolina, and develop teen leaders.
  • Intervention: Tea Time with Teens brings together community leaders, mothers, and daughters to build life skills and make healthy decisions.
  • Results: Since 2009, the program has been educating teens on making healthy choices and adults on having meaningful conversations with teens.
Healthy Adams County
Updated/reviewed September 2019
  • Need: Health initiatives in rural Pennsylvania communities to address locally-identified health disparities.
  • Intervention: Healthy Adams County was created by its rural community members to promote community-wide health.
  • Results: Community task forces have been formed to address breast cancer prevention, food policies, behavioral health, health literacy, oral health, tobacco prevention, and other rural, community-identified needs.
Care Partners of Cook County
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: To provide holistic, interdisciplinary palliative care to those with chronic illnesses in rural hospitals in Cook County, Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Care Partners of Cook County created a palliative care program that utilizes local healthcare professionals and volunteers to provide universal care to patients and caregivers, without Medicare hospice status.
  • Results: Since its inception in 2010, the program has assisted over 185 residents in need.
Project VISION
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: To reduce opioid use and increase quality of life in Rutland, Vermont.
  • Intervention: Project VISION works to reduce opioid use through community engagement.
  • Results: Since 2012, Project VISION has collected and disposed of 550 pounds of unused medications, reduced thefts by over 32%, and had a 50% improvement on a neighborhood quality of life survey.
Schoharie County ACEs Team
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: Agencies in Schoharie County, New York were seeing a widespread trend of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in children and families they served.
  • Intervention: The Schoharie ACEs Team was formed as a way to educate rural communities about ACEs, the brain science behind it, and ways to build resiliency.
  • Results: The ACEs Team has put on 4 half-day educational conferences and 10 trainings for various groups across the region, trained 3 school districts on trauma-informed care, and provided resources for families exposed to trauma.
Health Advocacy Summit
Added May 2019
  • Need: To help young adults with chronic or rare conditions access health and educational resources and build a community of peers and advocates.
  • Intervention: Health Advocacy Summits bring together young adults, medical professionals, patient advocates, and others for a free one-day conference.
  • Results: HAS currently has summits in four states. HAS reported that it was one of the first advocacy interventions for young adults with chronic conditions in south Texas.