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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.

Evidence-Based Examples

Women to Women Online Support Network
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • 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 One Community Health's Wellness Programs
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.
OHSU Rural Surgery Training
Updated/reviewed March 2017
  • 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 southern rural Oregon.
  • Results: Almost half of the graduates of the Grants Pass rural residency program are now practicing in a rural setting, and the residents are more likely to enter general surgery practice and serve in a community of less than 50,000 people.
Rural Telemental Health (RTMH) Program
Added July 2016
  • 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.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Coast to Cascade Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Program
Updated/reviewed November 2016
  • Need: To build up physical activity and healthy eating practices in order to reduce childhood obesity in rural Oregon communities.
  • Intervention: A national program was applied on a local level to provide physical activity and nutrition education in a school 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

Capitol Dental Care's Virtual Dental Homes
Added November 2017
  • 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.
Safety Net Medical Home Initiative
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: To help healthcare providers serving underserved and vulnerable populations become patient-centered medical homes (PCMH).
  • Intervention: A 5-year project was launched to develop a replicable model for practice transformation for safety net providers, including rural practices.
  • Results: Eighty-three percent of participating safety net clinics earned state or national PCMH recognition as of September, 2013.
NEON Community Health Worker Training Program
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.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE)
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.
Columbia Gorge Collective Impact Health Specialist
Added June 2017
  • 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 $5 million in funding in 3 years.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy NEON Pathways Community Hub
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • 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.
Walk with a Doc in Klamath Falls
Updated/reviewed January 2017
  • 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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy EMS Live@Nite
Updated/reviewed July 2016
  • Need: 80% of rural EMS providers are volunteers. Distance, time, and cost make it difficult for these 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.

Last Updated: 11/16/2017