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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

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
Heart Healthy Lenoir
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • 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.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration NC-REACH: NC-Rurally Engaging and Assisting Clients who are HIV positive and Homeless
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

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Healthy Smiles: Early Childhood Dental Outreach
Updated/reviewed October 2021
  • Need: To decrease the number of children entering kindergarten with untreated tooth decay in the rural Appalachian counties of Rutherford, Polk, and McDowell in western North Carolina.
  • Intervention: A program to give children a dental home that included screenings, targeted outreach, and restorative services.
  • Results: An overall decrease within the service area of children entering kindergarten with sub-par oral health.
Project C.A.R.E.
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • 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.
Patient Centered Medical Home Practicum in Primary Care
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: Improvement in service quality and patient experience in primary care practices in North Carolina's Blue Ridge region and across the state.
  • Intervention: A practicum for healthcare management students was developed to help rural practices achieve Patient Care Medical Home (PCMH) status, identify quality improvement needs, and develop strategies.
  • Results: With the help of practicum students, rural primary practices have have tackled a number of important quality improvement projects, achieved PCMH status and Blue Quality Physician Program Recognition.

Other Project Examples

Geezers, Gulpers, and Gardeners
Updated/reviewed September 2022
  • Need: Suicide rates among white males age 65 and older have been rising in North Carolina. Challenges include losing friends, illnesses, and the loss of independence – all of which can lead to isolation and depression.
  • Intervention: The Chatham County Council on Aging of North Carolina started Geezers, Gulpers, and Gardeners (3G Group) to connect retired men in need of male friends and mutual support.
  • Results: Men in similar stages of life and varying backgrounds are forming friendships, engaging in activities, and taking care of their mental health.
Healthy Places NC
Updated/reviewed July 2022
  • Need: Due to systemic issues and historic lack of investment, people living in under-resourced rural communities in North Carolina have poorer health than those living in urban areas.
  • Intervention: Funded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Healthy Places NC is investing $100 million over 10 years in rural North Carolina counties to improve residents' health.
  • Results: As of July 2021, the Trust has invested more than $75 million in 10 Healthy Places NC counties.

Last Updated: 9/7/2022