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

Promising Examples

Health Motivator Program
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: To increase physical activity and other healthy habits for older adults in West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Community members called Health Motivators lead senior centers and community groups in a monthly educational activity.
  • Results: In a 2016 survey, 97% of Health Motivators and 92% of group members said that their health improved because of the program.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Smiles: Early Childhood Dental Outreach
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • 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.
Tomah Hearing Loss Prevention Outreach
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • 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 Early Learning Project (HELP)
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • 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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy School-Based Health Center Dental Outreach
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.
Faith, Activity, and Nutrition
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To increase healthy eating and physical activity levels in Fairfield County, South Carolina.
  • Intervention: Community health advisors train church committees and deliver 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 Prevention through Care Navigation Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed May 2020
  • Need: To reduce the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: Community Health Workers are utilized to create a system of coordinated care in Delta, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties.
  • Results: As of 2018, 2,709 people have been screened for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with many at-risk patients lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1C levels after engaging with a Community Health Worker.
Contingency Management Smoking Cessation in Appalachia
Updated/reviewed April 2020
  • Need: To reduce smoking rates of pregnant women and adolescents in Appalachian regions of Eastern Kentucky and Ohio.
  • Intervention: A web-based smoking cessation program that offered monetary incentives to reducing smoking.
  • Results: Participants significantly reduced smoking rates or quit altogether.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy ARcare Aging Well Outreach Network
Updated/reviewed March 2020
  • 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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Youth4Health
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To educate youth about obesity and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Intervention: An educational program about healthy living was implemented in Lincoln and Claiborne Parishes in Louisiana for youth ages 9-18.
  • Results: Youth4Health program produced greater awareness and participation in healthier lifestyles by target youth and their families, as well as church congregations.