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Wisconsin 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.

Rural Health Initiative
Updated/reviewed December 2017
  • Need: Preventive and chronic medical condition care for farm families/agribusiness owners/employees with time and monetary constraints.
  • Intervention: Through a “Kitchen Wellness” program, a trained healthcare professional provides in-home or on-site complimentary preventive health screening, educational materials, and community referral information.
  • Results: Completion of hundreds of health screenings, tailored health education sessions along with referral information.
Be Well Barron County
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: A 2013 Barron County survey revealed 77% of adult males and 59% of adult females were overweight or obese, and that 23% of its students were obese.
  • Intervention: Be Well Barron County was created in association with the Medical College of Wisconsin to promote healthy eating and physical activity throughout this rural community in the areas of education, worksite wellness, healthcare initiatives, and community outreach.
  • Results: Success was due to academic engagement and community-wide participation by schools, worksites, and local restaurants.
Tomah Hearing Conservation Outreach
Updated/reviewed November 2017
  • Need: Farmers are highly susceptible to permanent hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to loud machinery and livestock.
  • Intervention: Faculty and students from the audiology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison supplied earplugs, free hearing testing, and hearing loss prevention education to attendees and participants at a local tractor pull.
  • Results: More than 10,000 pairs of earplugs have been distributed, and attendees have been receptive to the hearing conservation education provided by the audiology team.
Men in Nursing Roundtable
Added October 2017
  • Need: To increase diversity in the nursing workforce, specifically in terms of gender.
  • Intervention: The Men in Nursing Roundtable in Wisconsin meets quarterly to discuss recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Results: About 7 of the 10 roundtable members are from rural hospitals. Group members appreciate the supportive environment and plan to organize educational sessions to encourage more men to pursue careers in nursing.
Fostering Futures in Menominee Nation
Updated/reviewed September 2017
  • Need: Since the late 1800’s, trauma caused by historic events have greatly affected the way of life for Menominee Indians living on the Menominee Reservation. Economic, socioeconomic, behavioral health, and physical health issues have risen and are causing direct implications for Menominee youth.
  • Intervention: Through Fostering Futures, clinic, school, and Head Start/Early Head Start staff are trained in administering trauma-informed care and building resilience among children.
  • Results: Behavioral health visits at the Menominee Tribal Clinic have increased, school suspension rates have decreased, and graduation rates have improved from 60% to 85% since 2008.
Club Scrub
Updated/reviewed July 2017
  • Need: Rural Wisconsin communities experience threatened healthcare infrastructure due to workforce shortages.
  • Intervention: The Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, in partnership with the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health, created a youth program to increase awareness of health-related professions known as Club Scrub.
  • Results: Middle-school students attend the program and gain a better understanding of career options in the healthcare industry.
Farm Assessment and Rehabilitation Methods (FARM) Program
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: To help farmers with disabilities continue farming while protecting their well-being.
  • Intervention: The FARM program helps disabled or ill farmers continue to operate and work their Wisconsin farms.
  • Results: Farmers with disabilities can continue to farm, resume farming, or find an alternative agricultural occupation.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Scenic Bluffs Community Health Center Insurance Help Team
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: To help inform Western Wisconsin residents about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Intervention: Certified application counselors provide assistance in outreach locations around the region.
  • Results: In the past year, 1,835 people received guidance on health insurance through this program, with 561 completing the process to enroll in a plan.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Sowing the Seeds of Hope
Updated/reviewed June 2017
  • Need: Agriculture workers and their families had high rates of psychological distress and suicide, but limited access to mental health services.
  • Intervention: The "Sowing the Seeds of Hope" (SSoH) program was created to provide affordable and culturally appropriate mental health services to individuals working in agriculture and their families in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
  • Results: The regional program ran from 1999-2011 and successfully established a variety of interventions to help individuals in rural communities’ access behavioral health services.
Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education
Updated/reviewed May 2017
  • Need: Family physicians in the rural areas of Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: A collaborative was created that provides leadership, technical assistance, and training for expanding rural graduate medical education in Wisconsin.
  • Results: The collaborative expanded rural graduate medical education rotations, residencies, and fellowship opportunities for training rural family physicians in Wisconsin.
Rescue Divas EMT Recruitment
Updated/reviewed December 2016
  • Need: There is a shortage of EMTs in rural northern Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: Rescue Divas is a summer camp program geared toward middle school girls that was created to spark an interest in future careers in emergency medical services.
  • Results: The number of girls who were very interested in pursuing a career in EMS jumped from 6 to 13 after participating in Rescue Divas.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Western Wisconsin Mental Health Benefits Counseling Project
Updated/reviewed November 2016
  • Need: To identify and optimize mental health coverage and treatment options for people in rural western Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: ABC for Rural Health teamed up with local organizations to assist clients in navigating insurance coverage options available to those seeking mental health treatment.
  • Results: This project worked with approximately 170 people to help them receive mental health coverage and healthcare benefits.
Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative
Updated/reviewed November 2016
  • Need: To provide personal development programs to ease isolation and provide resources for farm and rural women of Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative (WRWI) develops self-sustaining women's circles that work to maintain social connections and develop healthy practices in order to break down the isolating effects of rural living.
  • Results: WRWI has worked with rural and farm women in over 60 Wisconsin counties over the last eighteen years, providing services that encourage and build self-esteem, teach skills for coping with change, and create an ongoing support system.
Wisconsin Quality Residency Program
Updated/reviewed July 2016
  • Need: To prepare quality improvement leaders for their roles in small rural hospitals or Critical Access Hospitals.
  • Intervention: A program to teach quality improvement methods, leadership and management skills, and networking support to hospital quality leaders.
  • Results: In the program's first year, it has enrolled 38 participants.
proACTIVE Wellness Initiative
Updated/reviewed May 2016
  • Need: A community wellness behaviors and needs survey indicated a need for worksite wellness in rural Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: A workplace wellness initiative, which promotes healthy lifestyle behaviors, was implemented at 3 Black Rivers Falls businesses by local hospital employees.
  • Results: Employees at every involved worksites experienced health improvements of some kind.

Last Updated: 12/13/2017