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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Project Examples: Schools

Evidence-Based Examples

Helping Kids PROSPER

Updated/reviewed January 2023

  • Need: An approach to support sustained, quality delivery of evidence-based programs for youth and families in rural communities.
  • Intervention: PROSPER, a program delivery system, guides communities in implementing evidence-based programs that build youth competencies, improve family functioning, and prevent risky behaviors, particularly substance use.
  • Results: Youth in PROSPER communities reported delayed initiation of a variety of substances, lower levels of other behavioral problems, and improvements in family functioning and other life skills.

keepin' it REAL Rural

Updated/reviewed March 2022

  • Need: A drug and alcohol prevention program for middle school students that is specific to rural culture.
  • Intervention: An adaptation of the evidence-based keepin' it REAL curriculum was customized for rural middle school students.
  • Results: Students showed a reduction in all substance use and less personal acceptability of substance use.

Promising Examples

Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP)

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed August 2022

  • Need: An ongoing health need to alleviate early childhood obesity in the rural Kansas counties of Marshall and Nemaha.
  • Intervention: 5 distinct physical and nutritional programs were introduced to 9 preschool sites through the overarching Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP).
  • Results: HELP comprehensively increased children's physical activity and healthy food consumption and established a sustainable presence at each preschool site.

Schools That Care

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed August 2022

  • Need: To provide mental health services to rural Kansas students and their families.
  • Intervention: The Schools That Care project provides mental health treatment and case management as well as community education events.
  • Results: From 2018 to 2021, 3,456 individuals participated in health education and counseling activities offered to the public, and 964 individuals and 303 families received direct services through the Family Advocate.

School-Based Health Center Dental Outreach

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed July 2020

  • Need: To improve the oral health status of children ages 3 to 17 living in underserved rural areas of Louisiana.
  • Intervention: School-based nurse practitioners perform oral health assessments, apply fluoride varnishes when indicated, and make dental referrals, with completion rates of the latter tracked by dental case managers.
  • Results: Significant numbers of school children are receiving oral health examinations, fluoride varnish applications, and receiving care coordination to improve numbers of completed dental appointments.

Other Project Examples

Cold Water Safety Children and Youth Educator Program

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Updated/reviewed December 2023

  • Need: Drowning was a leading cause of death for children in Alaska.
  • Intervention: Cold Water Safety and Survival for Educators workshops were developed in 1998, with help from a 4-year federal grant, to train educators to provide education and hands-on skills for school children and members of the public.
  • Results: The safety program was integrated into about 50% of Alaskan school curriculum and schools in other states, helping to train hundreds of educators and thousands of children on the importance of cold water safety.

School-Based Drug Misuse Prevention Program

Updated/reviewed July 2023

  • Need: School-based drug misuse prevention program in Appalachian Ohio, a need triggered by a high school student's overdose death.
  • Intervention: Implementation of the HOPE curriculum, an age-appropriate K through 12th grade drug abuse prevention program.
  • Results: No further drug overdose deaths after curriculum initiated.

Hope Squad

Updated/reviewed June 2023

  • Need: To reduce youth suicide rates.
  • Intervention: Hope Squad is a nationwide program that trains youth to look after their classmates and refer those with suicidal thoughts or other mental health concerns to adult advisors.
  • Results: Studies suggest that Hope Squad schools' students with suicidal thoughts are more likely than non-Hope Squad schools' students to solicit help. In addition, stigma surrounding mental illness is decreasing.

Schools as a Hub for Health

Updated/reviewed May 2023

  • 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.

South Dakota Harvest of the Month Program

Updated/reviewed May 2023

  • Need: To encourage children to make healthy eating choices through learning and tasting.
  • Intervention: Brief, fun, and informative presentations and tastings for children on over 42 different fruits and vegetables.
  • Results: Participants are exposed to new foods and show more interest in healthy eating.