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Rural Health Information Hub

Preparedness and Partnerships

Learn about examples of rural communities that worked to improve preparedness and build partnerships to be better able to respond to and recover from natural disasters and public health emergencies.

AUGMENT Tele-ED/EMS: A Telehealth Program to Support Rural Emergency Rooms and Emergency Medical Services in Vermont

AUGMENT Tele-ED/EMS in New York and Vermont

At the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) in 2020, telehealth became a powerful resource for providers to care for their patients while trying to stop the spread of a deadly virus. A well-timed grant at the University of Vermont Medical Center supported rural providers in Vermont by providing telehealth equipment and assistance. The AUGMENT Tele-ED/EMS project uses the hub-and-spoke model to create capacity and access to healthcare services in rural Vermont, with the ultimate goal of supporting a response to a mass casualty incident.

The Big Horn Basin Healthcare Coalition Coordinates Emergency Response Training in Frontier and Remote Areas of Wyoming

Big Horn, Park, Hot Springs, and Washakie Counties, Wyoming

The Big Horn Basin Healthcare Coalition (BHB HCC) coordinates emergency response training across the 4 remote counties it serves in Wyoming: Big Horn, Park, Hot Springs, and Washakie Counties. Partners and stakeholders from different sectors of the community are members within the rural healthcare coalition, including Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), search and rescue volunteers, first responders, and public health and emergency management professionals. In April 2022, the BHB HCC hosted a training exercise for emergency response to a utility explosion and burn patient surge event, which helped responders practice their skills and identify barriers in remote incident management. The unique aspects of emergency response in frontier or remote areas mean that the BHB HCC must practice continuous planning, training, and emergency preparedness.

Environmental Justice and Food Security: Considerations for Community-Engaged Emergency Response from South Carolina's Pilot Project, EJ Strong

Oconee County, South Carolina

Environmental Justice Strong (EJ Strong) is a South Carolina-based pilot project for environmental justice and emergency response that applies a multiple hazard and threat assessment framework to emergency response initiatives in natural, agricultural, environmental, and human-made disasters. EJ Strong has been successfully utilized to address food security concerns in rural communities, such as Oconee County, in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition (VHEPC): Emergency Preparedness and Medical Surge Toolkit

Statewide Service Area

Just as the Vermont Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition (VHEPC) was starting to find its voice in the state, a large-scale, global pandemic tested its capabilities starting in March 2020. The projects VHEPC conducted during the pandemic, including data collection, communication, and the development of a medical surge toolkit, not only provided resources for Vermont but also served as an example for the rest of the country.