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Rural Health Information Hub

Colorado Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Promising Examples

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.

Other Project Examples

San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership
Updated/reviewed December 2022
  • Need: Public health departments in Colorado's rural San Luis Valley region desired to share public health services to improve health outcomes in the region.
  • Intervention: Six counties joined in a public health cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangement. The partnership has served as a forum for sharing and evaluating opportunities to improve health access and core public health services.
  • Results: The partnership has enabled health departments to share expertise and develop regional projects to provide a broader range of public health services.
The Coffee Break Project
Added July 2022
  • Need: Men in the agriculture industry face high suicide rates due to factors including long hours, geographic isolation, lack of social opportunities, and stigma surrounding mental health care.
  • Intervention: The Coffee Break Project, a program led by the Southeast Health Group in southeastern Colorado, encourages mental health check-ins for farmers and ranchers through a public awareness campaign and casual coffee gatherings that utilize COMET, an intervention model developed specifically for rural communities.
  • Results: Between eight and 20 people typically attend each coffee gathering.
Catalysts for Community Health
Updated/reviewed June 2022
  • Need: To help low-income and rural community members access health information at their libraries.
  • Intervention: C4CH pilot-tested an interdisciplinary program of study designed to train Master of Library and Information Science students to become health information resources for underserved communities.
  • Results: The cohort of 10 students is graduating in summer 2022.
Mobile Health Units for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment
Updated/reviewed April 2022
  • Need: To bring medication-assisted treatment to rural and underserved areas in Colorado.
  • Intervention: Six mobile health units travel to 32 counties and offer services like telehealth sessions, counseling, naloxone, and referrals to wraparound services.
  • Results: The units traveled more than 100,000 miles from January 2020 to January 2021.
Southwest Health System Antibiotic Stewardship Program
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: Impact patient care and safety issues related to antibiotic use in southwest Colorado.
  • Intervention: Pharmacy-led antibiotic stewardship program for inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care settings.
  • Results: With antibiotic use guidelines, refined infection diagnostics, and first-choice antibiotic selections, all care settings now see decreased days of treatment and decreased resistance patterns.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy SLV N.E.E.D.: Naloxone Education Empowerment Distribution Program
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: Growing concern in rural Colorado communities regarding prescription and illegal opioid overdoses.
  • Intervention: Education efforts for health workers and the larger community, in addition to establishing a naloxone overdose reversal drug program.
  • Results: In addition to continuing to train nearly all first responders to administer naloxone, the organization provides harm reduction education in various community settings.
Jana's Campaign: Love Doesn't Hurt
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: Prevention and education programs for schools to reduce gender and relationship violence among teenagers.
  • Intervention: Jana's Campaign offers school-based trainings, presentations, projects, and consultations through Love Doesn't Hurt: Teen Gender Violence and Prevention Program.
  • Results: So far, 603 middle and high schools and more than 70,000 students in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, and Oklahoma have benefited from the program.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Cavity Free at Three
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: In Colorado, 31% of children have experienced dental decay by the time they reach kindergarten. With several frontier and rural counties in Colorado considered dental deserts, options for oral healthcare are limited.
  • Intervention: Cavity Free at Three (CF3) works to improve access to preventive oral health for pregnant women and young children. While CF3 is a statewide effort, 87% of the program's target counties are considered rural or frontier.
  • Results: CF3 has trained over 5,000 medical and dental professionals in performing preventive dental health. The percentage of children who received oral healthcare from a medical or dental provider before the age of 2 has progressively increased, and fewer Colorado children have cavities now than they did 10 years ago.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration National Jewish Health Rural Miners Outreach Clinics
Added December 2019
  • Need: Early detection of health risks associated with mining in the Western region of the United States.
  • Intervention: The National Jewish Health Miners Clinic of Colorado developed two rural outreach programs that partner with local healthcare facilities to offer free medical screening for active and retired miners and historic uranium industry workers.
  • Results: Since beginning in 2003, these programs have served over 2,000 miners and historic uranium industry workers. Dust disease of the lungs have been detected on chest X-ray screenings in 16% of patients, abnormal breathing tests have been found in 24%, and other chronic conditions have been detected.

Last Updated: 12/27/2022