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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Project Examples: Community engagement and volunteerism

Promising Examples

Maryland Faith Health Network
Updated/reviewed December 2020
  • 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.
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.

Other Project Examples

Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care (ECCCC)
Updated/reviewed July 2022
  • Need: To bring needed child care to rural Mercer County, North Dakota.
  • Intervention: A nonprofit cooperative provides part-time and full-time child care.
  • Results: ECCCC had 86 children at the height of its enrollment history.
The Coffee Break Project
Added July 2022
  • Need: Men in the agriculture industry face high suicide rates due to factors including long hours, geographic isolation, lack of social opportunities, and stigma surrounding mental health care.
  • Intervention: The Coffee Break Project, a program led by the Southeast Health Group in southeastern Colorado, encourages mental health check-ins for farmers and ranchers through a public awareness campaign and casual coffee gatherings that utilize COMET, an intervention model developed specifically for rural communities.
  • Results: Between eight and 20 people typically attend each coffee gathering.
Healthy Monadnock Alliance
Updated/reviewed February 2022
  • Need: Improved health outcomes for Monadnock Region, a rural area of New Hampshire.
  • Intervention: A wide-scale effort across multiple sectors is aiming to improve health outcomes throughout the region.
  • Results: Community health trends have been tracked over time, and progress on goals such as increasing the number of residents with healthcare coverage, opportunities for physical activity, access to healthy foods, and smoking cessation has been made.
The Minnesota Integrative Behavioral Health Program
Updated/reviewed January 2022
  • Need: Out of 79 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) surveyed in Minnesota in 2015, behavioral health was the most frequently cited service requested.
  • Intervention: In response, Rural Health Innovations launched the Minnesota Integrative Behavioral Health Program. This initiative engaged representatives across all sectors in health integration between hospital, primary care, and community services.
  • Results: Strategy sessions resulted in the creation of resource directories to improve care coordination, evaluation measurements to document results, and an overall better understanding of integrative care challenges.
Project VISION
Updated/reviewed December 2021
  • 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.
Tea Time with Teens
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • 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.
Generation Patient
Updated/reviewed June 2021
  • Need: To help young adults with chronic or rare conditions access health and educational resources and build a community of peers and advocates.
  • Intervention: Generation Patient summits bring together young adults with chronic medical disabilities, including chronic and rare conditions. The nonprofit organization also facilitates programming such as the Crohn's and Colitis Young Adults Network.
  • Results: Generation Patient facilitates about six virtual meetings per month in addition to programming around higher education, civic engagement, and more. The organization also facilitates a Virtual International Summit for young adults with chronic and rare conditions.
The Sapling Center
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: To create a safe space for youth and young adults, ages 14 to 25, in rural eastern Kentucky.
  • Intervention: The Sapling Center provides independent living skills education and offers a wide array of services as well as fun activities in a supportive environment.
  • Results: The Sapling Center serves 50-75 teens and young adults every day. Increasing demand for services led to the opening of more centers in the region.