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Rural Health Information Hub

North Carolina 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

Heart Healthy Lenoir

Updated/reviewed October 2023

  • Need: In rural eastern North Carolina, Lenoir County residents experience significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and obesity rates compared to other parts of the state and nation.
  • Intervention: A community-based research project was designed to develop and test better ways to tackle cardiovascular disease, from prevention to treatment.
  • Results: The end goal includes the development of long-lasting strategies and approaches within the community to help decrease the risk and disparities in risk of cardiovascular disease.

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.

HoMBReS

Updated/reviewed February 2022

  • Need: To reduce the risk of HIV/STDs among Latino men living in rural regions of the United States.
  • Intervention: Soccer team leaders are elected and trained as lay health advisors to promote sexual health education among team members.
  • Results: Program participants report an increase in HIV testing, an increase in condom use, and an increase in awareness of how to prevent the transmission of HIV.

Project Lazarus

Updated/reviewed November 2021

  • Need: To reduce overdose-related deaths among prescription opioid users in rural Wilkes County, North Carolina
  • Intervention: Education and tools are provided for prescribers, patients and community members to lessen drug supply and demand, and to reduce harm in prescription opioid use
  • Results: Opioid overdose death rates have decreased in Wilkes County

NC-REACH: NC-Rurally Engaging and Assisting Clients who are HIV positive and Homeless

funded by the Health Resources Services Administration

Updated/reviewed November 2020

  • Need: Provision of medical care access and follow-up for rural North Carolina HIV patients with mental health, substance abuse, and unstable housing/homelessness challenges.
  • Intervention: Medical home staff model expanded to a care coordination program with a core Network Navigator and Continuum of Care Coordinator assisting with medical, behavioral health, and basic life needs.
  • Results: To date, the program has advanced three aspects of medical home patient care for this target population: provided further understanding of the spectrum of homelessness, including "hidden" homelessness; implemented outreach with creation of new community partnerships and a community housing coalition; and integrated medical care and behavioral health care for HIV.

Promising Examples

Project C.A.R.E.

Updated/reviewed October 2023

  • Need: There is a lack of dementia-specific support for rural caregivers.
  • Intervention: Project C.A.R.E. was created to meet the needs of underserved caregivers of those with Alzheimer's or other dementias, targeting rural North Carolina.
  • Results: Under Project C.A.R.E., rural families receive information and referrals as well as individualized care consultation from dementia-trained family consultants.

Other Project Examples

Riverfront Talks: Substance Matters Podcast

Added December 2023

  • Need: To reduce stigma around mental illness and substance use in North Carolina.
  • Intervention: The Beaufort County Behavioral Health Task Force created the Riverfront Talks: Substance Matters podcast to interview people with lived experience.
  • Results: As of December 2023, the podcast has 10 episodes.

Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) Rural Fellowship

Added August 2023

  • Need: To increase recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural western North Carolina.
  • Intervention: The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) Rural Fellowship offers mentorship, education, research support, and community-building opportunities for local providers in their first year of practice.
  • Results: Of the 30 fellows who have completed the program since 2017, 97% are still practicing in rural areas; 87% are still practicing in rural western North Carolina.

Healthy Places NC

Updated/reviewed July 2023

  • Need: Due to systemic issues and historic lack of investment, people living in under-resourced rural communities in North Carolina– especially people of color– have poorer health than those living in urban areas.
  • Intervention: Funded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Healthy Places NC invested $100 million over 10 years in rural North Carolina counties to improve residents' health.
  • Results: Healthy Places NC has generated excitement and promoted collaboration in the participating communities. A full evaluation of the first 10 years of the program will be released in fall of 2024.

Project PROMISE

Updated/reviewed April 2023

  • Need: An increased interest among young people to pursue a medical career in rural North Carolina
  • Intervention: Two medical students started a program that gives high school seniors medical academic training, mentor relationships, and hands-on experience in rural North Carolina facilities.
  • Results: Project PROMISE has graduated 36 high school students, 16 of whom are pursuing an undergraduate degree with an interest in studying medicine. Two students were recently accepted into medical school.

Last Updated: 12/5/2023