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Rural Health Information Hub

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.

Effective Examples

Farm Dinner Theater
Added July 2021
  • Need: To encourage farmers to make health and safety changes on their farms.
  • Intervention: Farm Dinner Theater is an event in which farmers and their families watch three 10-minute plays covering health and safety topics and then discuss solutions to the issues addressed in each.
  • Results: In a study, farmers who attended the plays were more likely to make changes and tell others what they learned, compared to farmers who received an educational packet with the same information.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Appalachian Preceptorship Program
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.

Promising Examples

Reducing Hospitalizations in Medicare Beneficiaries
Updated/reviewed May 2022
  • 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

Positively Living & Choice Health Network
Updated/reviewed November 2021
  • Need: To provide healthcare and support to thousands of East Tennesseans living with HIV/AIDS, mental illness, substance use disorder, and homelessness and dealing with LGBT discrimination.
  • Intervention: Positively Living & Choice Health Network provides services like a medical clinic and pharmacy, therapy, client services like housing aid and transportation, and a harm reduction program.
  • Results: The program currently serves 6,000 individuals and families through its offices in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Memphis, and rural Cookeville and its mobile medical unit for rural communities.
SMiles Senior Transportation
Updated/reviewed August 2021
  • 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 37,500 rides to its rural seniors.
Lunch Express Summer Food Program
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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy On the Move! Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE)
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.
Remote Area MedicalĀ®
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.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy MIST: Mothers and Infants Sober Together
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: 5/2/2022