Tennessee 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 December 2019
- Need: To prepare future physicians for practicing in rural southern Appalachia.
- Intervention: The Appalachian Preceptorship Program offers medical students clinical preceptorships to give them experience practicing in rural, underserved communities of southern Appalachia.
- Results: Students who participate in this preceptorship are more than 3 times as likely to practice medicine in a rural location.
Updated/reviewed December 2017
- Need: Cancer patients living in the Deep South encounter multiple barriers in accessing regular cancer treatment.
- Intervention: The University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center developed a program that uses lay patient navigators to support and direct patients to appropriate resources to overcome barriers to accessing care.
- Results: The program has become a model for improving cancer care quality, decreasing unnecessary utilization (ER visits and hospitalizations), removing barriers to care, and enhancing patient satisfaction.
Updated/reviewed June 2020
- Need: To reduce hospital readmissions for Medicare patients in rural Kentucky and Tennessee.
- Intervention: Two quality improvement tools called IMPACT and INTERACT helped older patients transition from Vanderbilt University Medical Center to a skilled nursing facility.
- Results: Practitioner follow-up visits increased, while emergency department visits decreased.
Other Project Examples
Updated/reviewed April 2021
- Need: With school lunch programs inactive during summer months, rural children in Northeast Tennessee experienced food insecurity.
- Intervention: Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee used repurposed school buses to expand meal delivery to rural children in remote areas of eight counties.
- Results: During summer months, four converted school buses bring meals to nearly 350 children, traveling 11,000 miles in rural and remote areas. In toto, the organization reaches nearly 6,000 school children with food insecurity.
Updated/reviewed February 2021
- Need: To decrease illicit drug and alcohol use in the Central Appalachian region of Kentucky, where many schools had no type of prevention curriculum.
- Intervention: Using engaging simulations and presentations, the project delivers substance use prevention education to middle school and high school students.
- Results: Post-test surveys show that thousands of students are reached through the "On the Move!" project and gain positive knowledge on the dangers of substance use.
Updated/reviewed January 2021
- Need: A lack of basic medical, dental, and vision care for people living in isolated, impoverished, and underserved areas.
- Intervention: Free pop-up medical clinics that provide care through a highly efficient system that serves as many patients as possible, utilizing a corps of volunteers made up of licensed medical professionals and laypeople.
- Results: Community members in rural and other underserved areas are provided with necessary healthcare and health education, including dental and vision services, at no cost to the patients or taxpayers.
Updated/reviewed November 2020
- Need: To provide care and support to eastern Tennesseans living with HIV/AIDS, disabilities, mental illness, substance use disorder, and/or homelessness.
- Intervention: Positively Living & Choice Health Network provides services like counseling, case management, an HIV/AIDS clinic, and supportive housing.
- Results: The program currently has 85 PrEP clients and in 2016 opened a second clinic to serve 12 more counties.
Updated/reviewed July 2020
- Need: To provide transportation to rural seniors who are no longer able to drive.
- Intervention: SMiles, a rural senior transportation program, was implemented in Blount County, Tennessee.
- Results: Since 2013, SMiles has provided over 35,000 rides to its rural seniors.
Added October 2019
- Need: To help opioid-dependent or recovering pregnant individuals in rural Tennessee.
- Intervention: At The Mission's Pregnancy Support Center, pregnant individuals and their partners can earn points to spend on needed items like bottles, diapers, and maternity clothes.
- Results: Since the Pregnancy Support Center opened, The Mission has had an increase in attendance at its weekly support group meetings.
Updated/reviewed May 2019
- Need: To address the needs of pregnant women who are using substances and infants born into drug-positive families.
- Intervention: The Mothers and Infants Sober Together (MIST) program assisted mothers who used substances get treatment and provide a safe, drug-free home for themselves and their newborn.
- Results: MIST has helped mothers find treatment and education and has helped children grow up in safe and healthy homes.
Last Updated: 4/6/2021