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Massachusetts 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.

Evidence-Based Examples

Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration (SPARC, Inc.®)
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: Population-based rates of adult vaccinations and cancer screenings are low, with fewer than 40% of older adults up to date with routinely recommended prevention services. Delivery rates are lower still in low-income and minority communities.
  • Intervention: SPARC was established to develop and test new community-wide strategies to increase the delivery of clinical preventive services.
  • Results: Across the United States in both rural and urban communities, SPARC programs, which broaden the delivery of potentially life-saving preventive services, have been successfully launched, improving residents' health.

Promising Examples

Communities that Care Coalition
Updated/reviewed May 2018
  • 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.

Other Project Examples

Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • Need: To strengthen the local food system by assisting farmers, supporting rural economies and promoting access to fresh food for underserved families and individuals receiving federal nutrition assistance.
  • Intervention: Financial partnership and targeted programs created to strengthen food system infrastructure and connect regional food producers to a larger market.
  • Results: Sales have increased for local farmers and food producers, and low-income participants have increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Outer Cape Health Services Community Resource Navigator Program
Updated/reviewed September 2018
  • Need: Improving outcomes for Outer and Lower Cape Cod residents in need of social, behavioral health, and substance abuse services while reducing the burden and costs to town agencies and hospital emergency rooms.
  • Intervention: The Community Resource Navigator Program works with local social services, town agencies, faith-based institutions, hospitals, the criminal justice system, and others to identify and connect clients to needed services.
  • Results: Clients are gaining access to the care they were once lacking, as measured by improvements in self-sufficiency. The program also helps community partners and stakeholders work together to reduce the impact of risks associated with behavioral health symptoms, substance use disorder, and social determinants of health.
Sexual Assault Nurse Exams through the National TeleNursing Center
Updated/reviewed September 2018
  • Need: Clinicians in rural areas are often unprepared to treat sexual assault victims after an assault.
  • Intervention: The National TeleNursing Center (NTC) in Massachusetts uses telemedicine to connect Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners to clinicians in remote areas, offering them guidance through examinations.
  • Results: Clinicians report that the help gives them confidence through the examination process and NTC has assisted in the care of 260 patients.
Wholesome Rx
Updated/reviewed June 2018
  • Need: A tangible way for providers to increase patients' access to affordable healthy food.
  • Intervention: With Wholesome Rx, a fruit and vegetable prescription program, providers prescribe vouchers for patients to redeem for fruits and vegetables at local healthy food retailers.
  • Results: Over 10,000 people have received Wholesome Rx prescriptions in rural and urban areas across 10 states.

Last Updated: 12/3/2018