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Rural Health Information Hub

Kentucky 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.

Effective Examples

Kentucky Homeplace
Updated/reviewed September 2022
  • Need: Rural Appalachian Kentucky residents have deficits in health resources and health status, including high levels of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and diabetes.
  • Intervention: Kentucky Homeplace was created as a community health worker initiative to provide health coaching, increased access to health screenings, and other services.
  • Results: From July 2001 to June 2022, over 182,783 rural residents were served. Preventive health strategies, screenings, educational services, and referrals are all offered at no charge to clients.
Farm Dinner Theater
Updated/reviewed August 2022
  • Need: To encourage farmers to make health and safety changes on their farms.
  • Intervention: Farm Dinner Theater is an event in which farmers and their families watch three 10-minute plays covering health and safety topics and then discuss solutions to the issues addressed in each.
  • Results: In a study, farmers who attended the plays were more likely to make changes and tell others what they learned, compared to farmers who received an educational packet with the same information.
Community Health Worker-based Chronic Care Management Program
Added May 2020
  • Need: Improve healthcare access and decrease chronic disease disparities in rural Appalachia.
  • Intervention: A community health worker-based Chronic Care Management program demonstrated such a level of success in a single West Virginia county that it was further scaled for implementation in a multi-center, 3-state area of Appalachia.
  • Results: When analysis of the disseminated program's results also demonstrated improved health outcomes and decreased healthcare costs, sustainability became possible due to innovative financial reimbursement models.

Promising Examples

Successfully Training and Educating Pre-medical Students (STEPS)
Updated/reviewed December 2022
  • Need: To increase the number of primary care providers in northeast Kentucky.
  • Intervention: STEPS provides support such as physician shadowing, mock interviews, and MCAT practice courses/exams for regional students applying to medical school.
  • Results: More than 70% of participants have been accepted into medical school. The program has been replicated among most of Kentucky's regional AHECs.
Contingency Management Smoking Cessation in Appalachia
Updated/reviewed June 2022
  • 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.
Reducing Hospitalizations in Medicare Beneficiaries
Updated/reviewed May 2022
  • Need: To reduce hospital readmissions for Medicare patients in rural Kentucky and Tennessee.
  • Intervention: Two quality improvement tools called IMPACT and INTERACT helped older patients transition from Vanderbilt University Medical Center to a skilled nursing facility.
  • Results: Practitioner follow-up visits increased, while emergency department visits decreased.

Other Project Examples

Camp Mariposa
Updated/reviewed August 2022
  • Need: To help children whose family members are struggling with substance misuse.
  • Intervention: A year-round program provides mentoring as well as substance use prevention education.
  • Results: In 2021, Camp Mariposa served a total of 76 youth in its three rural locations in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
The Sapling Center
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: To create a safe space for youth and young adults, ages 14 to 25, in rural eastern Kentucky.
  • Intervention: The Sapling Center provides independent living skills education and offers a wide array of services as well as fun activities in a supportive environment.
  • Results: The Sapling Center serves 50-75 teens and young adults every day. Increasing demand for services led to the opening of more centers in the region.
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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Bridge Program
Updated/reviewed November 2018
  • Need: Access to primary medical, dental, and mental health services for rural Appalachia Kentuckians.
  • Intervention: Community Health Workers provide outreach, education, navigation, and care coordination services to 5 counties in the Western Appalachian area of Kentucky through The Bridge Program.
  • Results: Emergency room visits have decreased throughout the course of the program and referrals to healthcare services have increased. Increases in self-efficacy and decreases in A1C levels have reached statistical significance.

Last Updated: 12/6/2022