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 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 October 2016
- 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 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
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.
Updated/reviewed November 2017
- Need: A lack of basic medical care for people in isolated, impoverished, and underserved areas.
- Intervention: Free mobile medical clinics that aim to prevent pain and alleviate suffering by providing basic dental, vision, and medical 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.
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: 7/6/2018