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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Project Examples: Community engagement and volunteerism

Promising Examples

Maryland Faith Health Network
Updated/reviewed December 2022
  • 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

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council Rural Transportation
Updated/reviewed October 2022
  • Need: Public transportation options in a rural 8-county area in northwest Minnesota.
  • Intervention: A coordinated public transportation and volunteer driver system which serves northwest Minnesota.
  • Results: Increased ridership and affordable access to transportation for residents of 8 counties in rural, northwest Minnesota.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Win With Wellness
Updated/reviewed October 2022
  • Need: To reduce risk of obesity and chronic disease in rural northwest Illinois.
  • Intervention: Win With Wellness (WWW) collaborates with community organizations and worksites to improve physical activity and eating behaviors and reduce weight among adults using a multi-component approach.
  • Results: From 2015 to 2018, the two participating counties initiated 28 Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) groups with 367 participants. In the second round of funding, WWW recruited 183 participants for 9 TOPS groups and 8 community Heart-to-Heart sites.
Healthy Adams County
Updated/reviewed August 2022
  • 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.
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.