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Rural Health Information Hub

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.

Promising Examples

Tomah Hearing Loss Prevention Outreach

Updated/reviewed November 2023

  • 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 an annual tractor pull event.
  • Results: Between 2014 and 2019, the audiology team distributed more than 16,000 pairs of earplugs; attendees were receptive to the hearing loss prevention education provided by the team.

Other Project Examples

Wisconsin Rural Women's Initiative

Updated/reviewed November 2023

  • 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 67 counties, providing services that encourage and build self-esteem, teach skills for coping with change, and create an ongoing support system.

Scenic Bluffs Community Health Center Help Team

funded by the Health Resources Services Administration

Updated/reviewed October 2023

  • Need: To help inform western Wisconsin residents about their health insurance options and local programs to support their healthcare needs.
  • Intervention: The Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers' Help Team offers free services for community members facing barriers to accessing healthcare, such as transportation, language, cost, and insurance, among other social factors.
  • Results: In 2022, nearly 1,300 people received support and guidance from the Help Team regarding programs, resources, and health insurance enrollment. In total, 201 individuals were enrolled in health insurance.

Implementation of a Nursing Veterans' Initiative to Transform Education (INVITE)

funded by the Health Resources Services Administration

Updated/reviewed August 2023

  • Need: To support rural veterans pursuing a career in nursing.
  • Intervention: The INVITE program improved the curriculum and reworked admission requirements to better support veteran students' experiences in the College of St. Scholastica undergraduate nursing program.
  • Results: The number of veterans pursuing nursing has more than doubled since program implementation, and all students have reported an increased interest in serving rural communities.

Wisconsin Tribal Elder Food Box Program

Added June 2023

  • Need: To address food insecurity and limited access to healthy foods among Indigenous elders living in tribal nations in Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: The Tribal Elder Food Box Program distributes biweekly boxes filled with culturally relevant, locally-sourced meat, produce, and shelf-stable foods to elders in all 11 federally recognized tribal nations in Wisconsin – 10 of which are located in rural areas.
  • Results: In 2022, the program distributed 24,400 boxes and purchased a majority of food products from Indigenous producers and growers.

Farm Assessment and Rehabilitation Methods (FARM) Program

Updated/reviewed February 2023

  • 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: Since 2009, the FARM Program has helped over 3,500 farmers continue to farm, resume farming, or find an alternative agricultural occupation.

Wisconsin Collaborative for Rural Graduate Medical Education

Updated/reviewed October 2022

  • Need: Primary care physicians in the rural areas of Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: A GME collaborative was created that provides leadership, technical assistance, and support for expanding rural graduate medical education in Wisconsin.
  • Results: The collaborative expanded rural graduate medical education opportunities which now include over 20 rural training programs. There are several residencies and fellowship opportunities in specialties ranging from family medicine to surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, and more.

Wisconsin Early Education Shared Service Network

Updated/reviewed October 2022

  • Need: Throughout the state of Wisconsin, childcare services are closing rapidly, with staffing and finance issues as the main causes.
  • Intervention: In Wisconsin's Monroe and Vernon Counties, a collaborative that focuses on addressing key childcare access issues has come up with a creative solution. The Wisconsin Early Education Shared Services Network allows childcare providers to pool staff, resources, and services while receiving support for business and educational operations.
  • Results: As of September 2022, 25 child care programs in Monroe and Vernon Counties have joined WEESSN and more are considering. Joining has allowed child care providers to focus their time, finances, and energy on the children they serve.

Fostering Futures in Menominee Nation

Updated/reviewed August 2022

  • 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 94% since 2008.

Rescue Divas EMT Recruitment

Updated/reviewed June 2022

  • Need: Increased number of emergency medical technicians in rural northern Wisconsin.
  • Intervention: Creation of a program, Rescue Divas, for middle school girls to spark interest in emergency medical services careers.
  • Results: Post-participation results demonstrate the camp increases interest in an emergency medical services career.

Last Updated: 11/30/2023