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

Promising Examples

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.
Communities that Care Coalition
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: A way to improve the health and well-being of young people by addressing substance abuse in rural areas of Massachusetts's Franklin County and the North Quabbin.
  • Intervention: A community-based prevention initiative was formed to reduce youth violence, delinquency, alcohol and tobacco use, and to promote proper nutrition and physical activity.
  • Results: CTC has seen significant reductions in substance abuse among local youth in the 30 rural towns they serve.
Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital School Nurse Program
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: School nurses to assess and care for students in rural Michigan schools who have limited access to healthcare.
  • Intervention: Munson Healthcare Charlevoix, a CAH in Northern Michigan, created the School Nurse Program to provide medical care and education to students, school staff, and families.
  • Results: The School Nurse Program brings healthcare to over 3,400 students in 8 schools every year and chronic absenteeism in participating schools has dramatically decreased.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy From CATCH to C.H.E.F.
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • Need: To help children and families in Lincoln, rural Benton, and east Linn counties achieve higher-quality lives free of preventable diseases related to poor nutrition and obesity.
  • Intervention: Two programs were applied on a local level to provide physical activity, nutrition, and culinary education in a school and community setting.
  • Results: The physical activity rate surpassed the Department of Health and Human Services recommended rate by 5%, and schools started serving healthier options in their cafeterias.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Northeast Louisiana Regional Pre-Diabetes Prevention Program
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • 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.
Health Extension Regional Offices (HEROs)
Updated/reviewed October 2018
  • 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.

Other Project Examples

Schools as a Hub for Health
Updated/reviewed April 2021
  • 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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy On the Move! Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE)
Updated/reviewed February 2021
  • Need: To decrease illicit drug and alcohol use in the Central Appalachian region of Kentucky, where many schools had no type of prevention curriculum.
  • Intervention: Using engaging simulations and presentations, the project delivers substance use prevention education to middle school and high school students.
  • Results: Post-test surveys show that thousands of students are reached through the "On the Move!" project and gain positive knowledge on the dangers of substance use.
Remote Area MedicalĀ®
Updated/reviewed January 2021
  • Need: A lack of basic medical, dental, and vision care for people living in isolated, impoverished, and underserved areas.
  • Intervention: Free pop-up medical clinics that provide care through a highly efficient system that serves as many patients as possible, utilizing a corps of volunteers made up of licensed medical professionals and laypeople.
  • Results: Community members in rural and other underserved areas are provided with necessary healthcare and health education, including dental and vision services, at no cost to the patients or taxpayers.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Cold Water Safety Children and Youth Educator Program
Updated/reviewed December 2020
  • 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.