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West Virginia 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

Helping Kids PROSPER
Updated/reviewed June 2019
  • Need: An approach to support sustained, quality delivery of evidence-based programs for youth and families in rural communities.
  • Intervention: PROSPER, a program delivery system, guides communities in implementing evidence-based programs that build youth competencies, improve family functioning, and prevent risky behaviors, particularly substance use.
  • Results: Youth in PROSPER communities reported delayed initiation of a variety of substances, lower levels of other behavioral problems, and improvements in family functioning and other life skills.

Effective Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Regional Oral Health Pathway
Updated/reviewed August 2019
  • Need: To address the oral health needs of low-income uninsured and underinsured residents in rural Appalachia.
  • Intervention: An oral health education program was implemented in Appalachian Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
  • Results: This program has increased oral health visits in the area and has provided residents with valuable information on oral health resources and services.
Community-Based Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
Updated/reviewed November 2018
  • Need: More evidenced-based chronic lower respiratory disease management options for rural Appalachia patients, where lung disease rates are among the highest in the country.
  • Intervention: Implementation of outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation programs in 2 Federally Qualified Health Centers and a Critical Access Hospital in West Virginia.
  • Results: Improved health outcomes for patients with chronic lower respiratory disease, including those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Promising Examples

Health Motivator Program
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: To increase physical activity and other healthy habits for older adults in West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Community members called Health Motivators lead senior centers and community groups in a monthly educational activity.
  • Results: In a 2016 survey, 97% of Health Motivators and 92% of group members said that their health improved because of the program.

Other Project Examples

Smiles for Life
Updated/reviewed November 2019
  • Need: Oral healthcare for low-income adults and children unable to obtain dental care in the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Public health dental hygienists act as gatekeepers, screening low-income clients and placing them with area dental providers who volunteer from their private practices to provide needed dental treatment.
  • Results: Reduces the number of emergency department visits for dental pain and infections and provides a safety net for those unable to afford dental treatment.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Project Renew
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • Need: To reduce deaths due to opioid overdose in rural southeast West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Project Renew trained and certified first responders, healthcare staff, and laypeople in naloxone administration.
  • Results: From April to June 2019, Project Renew has provided direct education to 120 individuals, completed 173 provider education activities, and distributed 260 Narcan kits.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration West Virginia's Partners In Health Network Regional Collaborative Services
Added June 2019
  • Need: Coordinated approach to healthcare delivery in central and southern West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Creation of a nonprofit organization that focused on quality and collaboration.
  • Results: With an ability to provide services that meet the evolving needs of patients, providers, and communities, the organization provides unique services, such as a credentialing service and web-based data sharing care management tool.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Garrett County Regional Cancer Patient Navigator Program
Added March 2019
  • Need: Comprehensive cancer services for residents of an 8-county, 3-state area in Appalachia.
  • Intervention: Using a Cancer Patient Navigation Tool Kit, a Maryland acute care facility led a multidisciplinary collaboration that provided the area's patients with expanded cancer treatment services.
  • Results: In addition to several new cancer-related programs, expanded services are now available for cancer patients, families, and cancer survivors.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy On the Move! Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE)
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • 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 project delivers substance abuse 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 abuse.
Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Stations
Added November 2018
  • Need: To encourage people to check their blood pressure.
  • Intervention: Self-check stations in community spaces and worksites allow people in rural West Virginia to check their blood pressure numbers and share the results with their healthcare providers.
  • Results: There are currently 51 self-check stations in community spaces or worksites.
Local Foods, Local Places in Williamson
Added October 2018
  • Need: In Williamson, West Virginia, access to fresh produce is limited.
  • Intervention: Williamson Health & Wellness Center, an FQHC, created a community garden, launched a weekly farmers market, connected local farmers to food entrepreneurs, and created a hub that launches ideas for healthy living.
  • Results: Residents' access to healthy foods has made a difference in their health and lifestyles.
Love Your Heart
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: To reduce heart disease in rural West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Love Your Heart trains local organizations to host community events about heart health.
  • Results: Since 2015, the program has reached 196,124 participants through 267 programs held in 33 counties (24 of which are rural).
West Virginia Health Data Portal
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: Lack of access to easily obtain current data for the state and region, in particular data on the healthcare workforce and healthcare facilities.
  • Intervention: A statewide health data portal developed by a rural health association.
  • Results: Large amounts of timely data and trend analysis, which allows for informed decision making, are now available to people throughout the state of West Virginia.
AmeriCorps Community Health Workers Program
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: A significant number of people struggle with obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure in the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia, yet there was a limited number of health department staff available to address these issues.
  • Intervention: The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department utilized AmeriCorps members to serve as community health workers, educating people on health topics in the areas in which they live.
  • Results: AmeriCorps members have motivated people to exercise, lose weight, and self-manage their chronic diseases, leading to healthier residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Spit It Out-West Virginia
Updated/reviewed August 2017
  • Need: McDowell County, West Virginia, had high rates of tobacco use.
  • Intervention: The Spit It Out-West Virginia program (2008-2010) was created to increase access to tobacco cessation and prevention resources.
  • Results: Hundreds of people were provided with tobacco cessation efforts, 5 workplaces became tobacco free, and tobacco control efforts continue today.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Roane County Hypertension Control
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: Nearly one in three Americans has hypertension, and rural community members lack access to clinics and means for monitoring and treatment of their high blood pressure.
  • Intervention: West Virginia's Roane County Family Health Care (RCFHC) uses community-oriented, outcome- and team-based care to combat their rural community members' high rates of hypertension.
  • Results: In 2014, RCFHC succeeded in achieving hypertension control rates in at least 70% of patients, and was named a 2014 Hypertension Control Champion by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last Updated: 11/1/2019