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North Dakota 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

Women to Women Online Support Network
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: Women living in rural areas with chronic illness often face little social support, leading to increased rates of depression and stress
  • Intervention: Women to Women offered rural women with chronic conditions social support networks via telecommunication
  • Results: WTW intervention participants experienced positive increases in self-esteem, social support, and empowerment over the control group

Effective Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Northern Dental Access Center Patient Support and Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: To connect low-income people in rural northwest Minnesota to dental care and support services in order to address barriers to care.
  • Intervention: Partners work together to provide patient transportation, care coordination, and insurance navigation and enrollment.
  • Results: Patients accessing support services are more likely to complete dental treatment. Over 1,000 people a year have been assisted with Medicaid enrollment, and reported use of the emergency department for dental pain has been reduced.

Promising Examples

Northland PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly)
Updated/reviewed March 2018
  • Need: Keeping older adults living safely and independently in their own homes.
  • Intervention: Northland PACE plans and coordinates a wide range of healthcare, in-home, and day center services to promote independence at home, hoping to avoid or delay nursing home admission.
  • Results: Older adults remain safely in their homes for a longer period of time with this support. The PACE program sites in North Dakota work to preserve, enhance, and, in many cases, restore the independence, health, and well-being of their participants.

Other Project Examples

Energy Capital Cooperative Child Care (ECCCC)
Updated/reviewed June 2020
  • Need: To bring needed child care to rural Mercer County, North Dakota.
  • Intervention: A nonprofit cooperative provides part-time and full-time child care.
  • Results: ECCCC had 86 children at the height of its enrollment history.
Avera LIGHT
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: Assistance for urban and rural physicians — as well as other healthcare providers — who are experiencing burnout and other issues associated with well-being.
  • Intervention: As part of its provider well-being focus in its rural and urban facilities, Avera Health system has created a program which attends to physician wellness issues starting with recruitment with continued support through retirement.
  • Results: With increasing engagement due to word of mouth, the program creates a culture of wellness where stigma is decreased and providers are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out for assistance for issues related to their personal and professional well-being.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Northern Dental Access Center Medical-Legal Partnership
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • Need: To help low-income patients in rural Minnesota overcome legal barriers to oral healthcare and self-sufficiency.
  • Intervention: The medical-legal partnership of Northern Dental Access Center and Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota provides free consultations and support services.
  • Results: The innovative and collaborative approach has been recognized regionally and nationally, and over 9,000 new patients have been screened for legal issues.
Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota Abound Counseling
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To provide mental health services to rural residents in North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Intervention: Abound Counseling of LSSND provides in-person counseling services in 8 communities and telehealth counseling services to other areas.
  • Results: In the first year of practice, Abound Counseling has brought greater access to quality mental healthcare for young children.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Sowing the Seeds of Hope
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: Agriculture workers and their families have high rates of psychological distress and suicide, but limited access to mental health services.
  • Intervention: The "Sowing the Seeds of Hope" (SSoH) program was created to provide affordable and culturally appropriate mental health services to individuals working in agriculture and their families in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
  • Results: The regional program ran from 1999-2014 and successfully established a variety of interventions to help individuals in rural communities' access behavioral health services.
Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative
Added November 2019
  • Need: To help rural, low-income older adults in rural Minnesota, Montana, and North Dakota maintain their independence and improve their health and well-being.
  • Intervention: The Great Plains Senior Services Collaborative improves service coordination, promotes social engagement, and provides programs like healthy cooking classes and caregiver support.
  • Results: Phase I served more than 1,100 vulnerable older adults in 70 communities, who reported lower stress and better quality of life.
FirstLink Suicide Follow-Up Program
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: To reduce suicides in North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Intervention: The Suicide Follow-Up Program provides phone calls and cards to those who have called suicide helplines or were referred by a healthcare provider.
  • Results: In 2018, FirstLink made 8,226 calls and sent 1,266 cards to program participants.
Mobile Women's Health Unit
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: Because breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women, access to screening mammograms for those women living in remote areas is needed.
  • Intervention: The Great Plains Area Indian Health Service Mobile Women's Health Unit provided mammograms to women on multiple reservations across four states.
  • Results: Approximately 1,000 women were screened annually for breast cancer by the mobile unit.
Rugby Community Paramedic Program
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • Need: Low patient volumes, a shortage of EMS volunteers, and an aging population in a 5-county North Dakota region required a change in the way the Rugby EMS team delivered care.
  • Intervention: Through the Rugby Community Paramedic Program, EMS staff brought medical care to patients transitioning back into their homes, including hospice patients and those with chronic conditions.
  • Results: The program's early intervention methods helped reduce the number of emergency room admissions and the escalation of medical conditions. Patient satisfaction improved, and the program gained the trust of patients and medical staff in Rugby and surrounding areas.
Minot-Williston Rural Training Track Program
Updated/reviewed August 2018
  • Need: Like many rural areas, parts of North Dakota lack primary care physicians to fulfill the needs of the community.
  • Intervention: The Minot-Williston Rural Track Program was developed to create new medical residency opportunities in rural North Dakota.
  • Results: Now over 1000 applicants are applying for the two residency slots.

Last Updated: 6/8/2020