Oregon 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.
Updated/reviewed August 2018
- 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
Updated/reviewed July 2018
- Need: To provide high-quality mental healthcare to rural veterans.
- Intervention: The Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) program, stationed at the Portland VA Medical Center, reaches rural veterans in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington via telehealth.
- Results: From 2010 to 2013, 1,754 veterans received diagnoses, therapy, medication management, and other mental health services.
Updated/reviewed March 2018
- Need: General surgeons are needed in rural communities.
- Intervention: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is sending residents to complete a one-year general surgery rotation in rural southern Oregon.
- Results: Almost half of the graduates of the Grants Pass rural residency program are now practicing in a rural setting, and these residents are more likely to enter general surgery practice and serve in a community of fewer than 50,000 people.
Updated/reviewed October 2017
- Need: Difficulties obtaining healthcare access to treat diabetes and obesity for low-income and Spanish-speaking residents of Oregon and Washington's Columbia River Gorge area.
- Intervention: A local healthcare facility developed wellness programs using bilingual community health workers to provide education and support that improves diets, physical activity, and teaches stress management.
- Results: Many participants in the wellness programs have maintained or lost weight and have seen reductions in their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Vegetable vouchers, cooking classes, and budgeting education has also helped patients afford healthy food.
Updated/reviewed January 2019
- Need: To help children and families in Lincoln, rural Benton, and east Linn counties achieve higher-quality lives free of preventable diseases related to poor nutrition and obesity.
- Intervention: Two programs were applied on a local level to provide physical activity, nutrition, and culinary education in a school and community setting.
- Results: The physical activity rate surpassed the Department of Health and Human Services recommended rate by 5%, and schools started serving healthier options in their cafeterias.
Other Project Examples
Updated/reviewed November 2018
- Need: Dentists in Polk County, Oregon who accepted Oregon Health Plan were booked out for months, causing patients with dental needs to have to wait for an appointment or travel to an adjoining county for dental care.
- Intervention: Capitol Dental Care began a Virtual Dental Home teledentistry model to bring preventive dental care to 3 elementary schools and several Head Start programs.
- Results: Through this program, over 700 students have received dental care in their schools.
Updated/reviewed July 2018
- Need: Distance, time, and cost make it difficult for EMS volunteers to attend continuing education and maintain certification.
- Intervention: Inland Northwest Health Services delivers free online training to rural EMS providers via video teleconferencing.
- Results: The EMS Live@Nite program provides free, monthly training to rural EMS providers in the northwestern part of the United States. The program is available through live video conferencing from certified locations in rural communities.
Updated/reviewed June 2018
- Need: To address the specific health needs of north central Oregon and south central Washington.
- Intervention: The Collective Impact Health Specialist identifies community needs, convenes community partners to design initiatives that address those needs, and secures funding for health-related initiatives.
- Results: Thanks to the CIHS, the Columbia Gorge region has received more than $7 million in funding in 4 years.
Added June 2018
- Need: Improve readmission rates for rural patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- Intervention: COPD Inpatient Navigator program implementation in a rural hospital in Oregon.
- Results: With navigator assistance, COPD-associated readmission rate has decreased by almost 50%, with a continued improvement trend.
Updated/reviewed June 2018
- Need: Connect individuals to services that address health barriers.
- Intervention: A pay-for-outcomes model utilizing Community Health Workers who help provide community members with tools to address needs associated with improving health.
- Results: Trained Community Health Workers help patients navigate the healthcare and social service systems and provide education about community healthcare resources.
Added February 2018
- Need: To address intimate partner violence (IPV) in primary care settings as a health concern. To increase healthcare providers' professional understanding about its prevalence and adverse impacts on patient health.
- Intervention: In partnership with Safer Futures, Tillamook County Women’s Resource Center provides an advocate at a local health clinic to give confidential services to IPV survivors and training to medical staff. The advocate uses curriculum and other materials designed by Futures Without Violence.
- Results: Healthcare providers at the clinic reported increased understanding of IPV and its impact on health. As a result, IPV advocates received an increase in referrals from healthcare providers. Patients experiencing IPV reported a reduction in chronic, toxic stress and improved overall health after receiving advocacy services.
Updated/reviewed January 2018
- Need: To give people an incentive to walk for exercise.
- Intervention: A national program called Walk with a Doc was adopted by Klamath Falls, Oregon that invites community members to walk with their local doctor and simultaneously get answers to their health-related questions.
- Results: Patients continue to faithfully attend and engage in intentional health-focused conversation during the weekly walks.
Updated/reviewed September 2017
- Need: To train, equip and prepare Community Health Workers for certification to practice in Oregon’s rural settings
- Intervention: Development of a 90-hour training program that requires an additional 80 hours of seat time, written summaries, and a final skills evaluation.
- Results: With its original program, NEON trained 83 CHWs, with 38 currently registered with the state. Of those initially certified and registered, 8 are hospital or clinic-based, 8 are embedded in mental health organizations, 10 are in community-based organizations and 7 are in health departments or with the Department of Human Services.
Updated/reviewed August 2017
- Need: Address oral health disparities in Washington’s rural and underserved communities.
- Intervention: The University of Washington School of Dentistry developed the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program preparing dentists for practice in rural and underserved areas.
- Results: Since the first graduating cohort in 2012, more than 70% of RIDE graduates are practicing in rural and underserved areas.
Last Updated: 1/9/2019