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

Effective Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Trinity Hospital Twin City's Fit for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2018
  • Need: To reduce obesity among adults in rural east central Ohio.
  • Intervention: Fit for Life Replication Project for Expansion was developed to make it possible to lose weight through practicing healthier lifestyle behaviors.
  • Results: Out of the 443 adults who have completed the program, 81% experienced weight loss, a tangible result of the program's overarching goal to enhance levels of health and fitness.
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.

Promising Examples

Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs)
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: People in rural New Mexico often found it difficult to find and utilize needed resources from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC).
  • Intervention: UNMHSC created Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs), in which HERO agents live in the communities they serve, help identify health and social needs, and link them with UNMHSC and other university resources.
  • Results: In their regions, HERO agents' activities have been diverse, including recruiting physicians, mobilizing research funds to address local priorities, working on economic development, training laypeople in Mental Health First Aid, and helping local institutions access UNMHSC resources.
Tomah Hearing Loss Prevention Outreach
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: Farmers are highly susceptible to permanent hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud machinery and livestock.
  • Intervention: Faculty and students from the audiology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison supplied earplugs, free hearing testing, and hearing loss prevention education to attendees and participants at a local tractor pull.
  • Results: More than 16,000 pairs of earplugs have been distributed, and attendees have been receptive to the hearing loss prevention education provided by the audiology team.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Smiles: Early Childhood Dental Outreach
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • Need: To decrease the number of children entering kindergarten with untreated tooth decay in the rural Appalachian counties of Rutherford, Polk, and McDowell in western North Carolina.
  • Intervention: A program to give children a dental home that included screenings, targeted outreach, and restorative services.
  • Results: An overall decrease within the service area of children entering kindergarten with sub-par oral health.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Northeast Louisiana Regional Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • Need: To prevent or slow the progression of diabetes for at-risk residents in Rural Northeast Louisiana.
  • Intervention: The North Louisiana Regional Alliance developed a program that offered screenings, education, and an intense course for participants throughout the Northeast Louisiana region to lower the risk of diabetes.
  • Results: The program saw an overall decrease in blood sugar levels in residents who participated in their initiatives.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Early Learning Project (HELP)
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • 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.
Faith, Activity, and Nutrition
Updated/reviewed July 2021
  • Need: To increase healthy eating and physical activity levels in Fairfield County, South Carolina.
  • Intervention: Community health advisors trained church committees and delivered telephone-based technical assistance to improve opportunities, guidelines, messages, and pastor support for physical activity and healthy eating.
  • Results: In a 2018 study, churchgoers reported seeing more opportunities for physical activity as well as more messages and pastor support for physical activity and healthy eating. Intervention churches also had fewer inactive churchgoers, compared to control churches.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Health-able Communities Program
Updated/reviewed April 2021
  • Need: Expand healthcare access for the more remote residents of 3 frontier counties in north central Idaho.
  • Intervention: Consortium of healthcare providers and community agencies used a hybrid Community Health Worker model to augment traditional healthcare delivery services in order to offer a diverse set of healthcare offerings to frontier area residents.
  • Results: Increased healthcare access, especially for cancer and chronic disease screening, along with providing education on a diverse array of health topics.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy ARcare Aging Well Outreach Network
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: To reduce falls and improve chronic care management for adults 50 or older in rural Cross County, Arkansas.
  • Intervention: The ARcare Aging Well Outreach Network, run by an FQHC, provided services like falls prevention assessments, transportation to appointments, medication management, and senior-specific exercise opportunities.
  • Results: From May 2015 to April 2018, the network served 639 patients through 1,580 medical encounters.