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 October 2018
- 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 2018
- 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 have increased, while emergency department visits have decreased.
Other Project Examples
Added November 2018
- 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 provides services like counseling, case management, an HIV/AIDS clinic, and supportive housing.
- Results: The program currently has 75 PrEP clients and in 2016 opened a second clinic to serve 12 more counties.
Updated/reviewed November 2018
- Need: A lack of basic medical, dental, and vision care for people living in isolated, impoverished, and underserved areas.
- Intervention: Free mobile 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 July 2018
- Need: Rural seniors who are no longer able to drive are often presented with the challenge of finding a means of transportation for medical visits, errands, and social gatherings.
- Intervention: SMiles, a rural senior transportation program, was implemented in Blount County, Tennessee.
- Results: Since 2013, SMiles has successfully provided over 23,000 rides to its rural seniors.
Updated/reviewed May 2018
- 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.
Updated/reviewed April 2018
- Need: To address the increasing need for healthcare providers in the rural and underserved areas of Tennessee.
- Intervention: The Tennessee Rural Partnership was created to assist in the recruitment, placement, and retention of physicians and healthcare professionals.
- Results: As of 2016, more than 120 primary care providers have been placed in 70 rural Tennessee communities. In 2018, the entity's name changed to "Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development."
Updated/reviewed January 2018
- Need: Illicit drug and alcohol use continued to increase in the Central Appalachian region of Kentucky, where many schools had no type of prevention curriculum.
- Intervention: Using engaging simulations and presentations, the program delivered substance abuse education to middle school and high school students.
- Results: Post-test surveys showed that thousands of students were reached through the "On the Move" project and gained positive knowledge on the dangers of substance abuse.
Added August 2017
- 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.
Last Updated: 11/13/2018