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Partnerships are important to pooling resources and combining efforts when implementing a new program. It is important to include possible partners from the beginning of the planning process in order to develop mutual goals and shared involvement in the project. Partnerships are important in rural communities for sharing scarce resources, both human and capital.

Possible partners that would benefit a rural program for people with disabilities include:

  • Clinics
  • Larger hospital systems
  • Academic centers/universities
  • University/county extension services
  • Public transportation, or state transit authority
  • Local, county, state health departments
  • Urban planning organizations or architectural companies
  • Health plans
  • Government organizations
  • Multicultural alliances and associations
  • Community organizations
  • Home care organizations
  • Organizations that could bring in disability-specific provider trainings

Local leadership is a crucial partner to implementing a program for people with disabilities in rural communities for many reasons:

  • Leaders can help generate community buy-in.
  • Leaders can help reach partners and fortify commitment.
  • Leaders can create a network to help combine community resources across communities.
  • Leadership is important for overall sustainability.
  • Leadership involvement can lead to sustainability and better long-term outcomes.