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Rural Project Examples: Community health workers

Effective Examples

Salud es Vida Cervical Cancer Education
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: Hispanic women have the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer among any ethnicity in the United States.
  • Intervention: The development of a lay health worker (promotora) curriculum that provides information on cervical cancer, HPV, and the HPV vaccine to Hispanic farmworker women living in rural southern Georgia and South Carolina.
  • Results: Significant increases in post-test scores relating to cervical cancer knowledge and increases in positive self-efficacy among promotoras.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Madison Outreach and Services through Telehealth (MOST) Network
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: More mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services in rural Texas.
  • Intervention: A network was formed to bring counseling services through telehealth systems and community health workers to Brazos Valley, Texas.
  • Results: The program improved health outcomes, increased general knowledge of the impact of substance abuse, and raised awareness of services among Hispanic residents.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy One Community Health's Wellness Programs
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: Difficulties obtaining healthcare access to treat diabetes and obesity for low-income and Spanish-speaking residents of Oregon and Washington's Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Intervention: A local healthcare facility developed wellness programs using bilingual community health workers to provide education and support that improves diets, physical activity, and teaches stress management.
  • Results: Many participants in the wellness programs have maintained or lost weight and have seen reductions in their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Vegetable vouchers, cooking classes, and budgeting education has also helped patients afford healthy food.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Health Coaches for Hypertension Control
Updated/reviewed September 2017
  • Need: A cost-effective approach to help rural patients with hypertension learn to manage their condition.
  • Intervention: Community volunteers trained as health coaches provided an 8-session hypertension management training program to hypertension patients older than 60, with an optional supplemental 8 sessions focused on nutrition and physical activity.
  • Results: Just 16 weeks after the program, participants had improved systolic blood pressure, weight, and fasting glucose, greater knowledge of hypertension, and improved self-reported behaviors.
Hidalgo Medical Services – Family Support Program
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: To reduce health disparities in two rural/frontier counties in southwest New Mexico.
  • Intervention: Community health workers work with clients to help them better manage their health and promote awareness of healthy lifestyle options in the community.
  • Results: Better health outcomes for patients.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Vivir Mejor! (Live Better!) System of Diabetes Prevention and Care
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: To address high rates of diabetes in rural Hispanic/Latino populations near the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Intervention: A comprehensive, culturally competent diabetes education program was implemented in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.
  • Results: Since 2012, this program has helped participants better manage their diabetes and increase healthy living behaviors.
Kentucky Homeplace
Updated/reviewed May 2017
  • Need: Rural Appalachian Kentucky residents have deficits in health resources and health status, including high levels of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and diabetes.
  • Intervention: Kentucky Homeplace was created as a community health worker initiative to address the lifestyle choices, inadequate health insurance, and environmental factors that are believed to contribute to these diseases.
  • Results: From July 2001 to June 2016, over 152,262 rural residents have been served. Preventive health strategies, screenings, educational services, and referrals are all offered at no charge to clients.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy MI-Connect Community Health Worker Program
Updated/reviewed March 2018
  • Need: To improve healthcare access for rural Michigan residents managing chronic diseases.
  • Intervention: Community health workers (CHWs) were used to link chronically ill patients with the healthcare services in the Michigan counties of Alcona, Iosco, Arenac, Ogemaw, and Oscoda.
  • Results: This program has provided assistance to more than 400 individuals in the 5-county service area.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Prevention through Care Navigation Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: To reduce the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: Community Health Workers were utilized to create a system of coordinated care in Delta, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties.
  • Results: Over 1700 people were screened for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with many at-risk patients lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure after engaging with a Community Health Worker.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Heartland Rural Health Network
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: To assist diabetic patients in rural Florida with chronic disease management.
  • Intervention: Heartland Rural Health Network set out to expand the Diabetes Master Clinician Program and implement healthy eating in 4 Florida counties.
  • Results: Initial participating clinics exceeded national averages of successful management of diabetes. The program remains active and successful.