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Rural Project Examples: Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

Evidence-Based Examples

Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration (SPARC, Inc.®)
Updated/reviewed July 2021
  • Need: Population-based rates of adult vaccinations and cancer screenings are low. Delivery rates are lower still in low-income and minority communities.
  • Intervention: SPARC was established to develop and test new community-wide strategies to increase the delivery of clinical preventive services.
  • Results: Across the United States in both rural and urban communities, SPARC programs, which broaden the delivery of potentially life-saving preventive services, have been successfully launched, improving residents' health.
StrongPeople™ Program
Added July 2021
  • Need: Few older adults, particularly women and those in rural areas, participate in healthy living interventions.
  • Intervention: Health educators lead community-based healthy living classes, which include strength training, aerobic exercise, dietary skill building, and/or civic engagement, depending on the program.
  • Results: StrongPeople™ programs have been shown to improve weight, diet, physical activity, strength, cardiovascular health profile, physical function, pain, depression, and/or self-confidence in midlife and older adults.
Fit & Strong!®
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition which often causes multiple related disabilities in older adults.
  • Intervention: An 8-week physical activity, behavior change, and falls prevention program geared to older adults with osteoarthritis.
  • Results: Participants gained confidence with increased exercise, lessened stiffness, improved joint pain and improved lower extremity strength and mobility.
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To help people with chronic conditions learn how to manage their health.
  • Intervention: A small-group 6-week workshop for individuals with chronic conditions to learn skills and strategies to manage their health.
  • Results: Participants have better health and quality of life, including reduction in pain, fatigue, and depression.
Helping Kids PROSPER
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • 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.

Effective Examples

Salud es Vida Cervical Cancer Education
Updated/reviewed January 2022
  • 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 provided 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.
LIFE - Living well through Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: Older adults in rural Iowa have inadequate access to physical activity specialists and/or exercise facilities, which limits their ability to remain sufficiently active.
  • Intervention: Iowa State University implemented an intergenerational "exergaming" program to encourage fun and safe physical fitness among rural older adults.
  • Results: Pilot studies showed that older adults demonstrated increases in strength, flexibility, activity levels, and confidence in their ability to be physically active. Younger adults experienced reduced ageism and increased knowledge and expectations of aging.
Heart Healthy Lenoir
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • Need: In rural eastern North Carolina, Lenoir County residents experience significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and obesity rates compared to other parts of the state and nation.
  • Intervention: A community-based research project was designed to develop and test better ways to tackle cardiovascular disease, from prevention to treatment.
  • Results: The end goal includes the development of long-lasting strategies and approaches within the community to help decrease the risk and disparities in risk of cardiovascular disease.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Regional Oral Health Pathway
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • Need: To address the oral health needs of low-income uninsured and underinsured residents in rural Appalachia.
  • Intervention: An oral health education program was implemented in Appalachian Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
  • Results: This program has increased oral health visits in the area and has provided residents with valuable information on oral health resources and services.
Rural Restaurant Healthy Options Program
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • Need: Obesity is a widespread epidemic in the United States, especially in rural areas. Due to small profit margins and fear of losing customers, small owner-operated rural restaurants hesitate to make health-conscious changes to their menus.
  • Intervention: The Healthy Options Program offered an economical and low-maintenance program for owner-operated restaurants in Iowa to increase awareness of already existing healthy menu options and substitutions.
  • Results: Restaurants received positive feedback and experienced no financial loss. Customers noticed and appreciated the healthy option reminders, and ordering behavior improved.