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.
Need: Population-based rates of adult vaccinations and cancer screenings are low. 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.
Need: A cost-effective approach to help rural patients with hypertension learn to manage their condition.
Intervention: Community volunteers trained as health coaches provided an 8-session hypertension management training program to hypertension patients older than 60, with an optional supplemental 8 sessions focused on nutrition and physical activity.
Results: Just 16 weeks after the program, participants had improved systolic blood pressure, weight, and fasting glucose, greater knowledge of hypertension, and improved self-reported behaviors.
Need: To improve the health, well-being, and equity of young people in the rural area of Massachusetts's Franklin County and North Quabbin, and to reduce youth drug and alcohol use.
Intervention: A community-based prevention coalition was formed to improve youth health, well-being, and equity and reduce youth drug and alcohol use use. The coalition brings together stakeholders from across the community and uses the Communities That Care evidence-based community planning system.
Results: CTC has seen significant reductions in substance abuse among local youth in the 30 rural towns they serve.
Need: Clinicians in rural and underserved areas are often unprepared to provide comprehensive medical-forensic examinations for patients who present for care following a sexual assault.
Intervention: The MDPH TeleSANE Center uses secure telehealth software to connect sexual assault nurse examiners to clinicians and patients in hospitals across Massachusetts — including four in rural counties — offering expert clinical guidance and support before, during, and after examinations.
Results: Clinicians report that the service gives them increased confidence throughout the examination process. To date, the MDPH TeleSANE Center has assisted in the care of over 730 patients.
Need: Improving outcomes for Outer and Lower Cape Cod residents in need of social, behavioral health, and substance use disorder 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.