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Rural Health Information Hub

Implementation Resources for Health Equity Programs and Initiatives

Rural communities may need specific resources — including legal assistance, meeting support, and funding — when implementing programs that advance health equity.

Legal Assistance for Formalizing Partnerships and Coalitions

Advancing health equity often requires creating cross-sector collaborations and working with community partners. At times, rural communities may need legal assistance to advance or formalize these collaborations. For example, several rural coalitions have incorporated as nonprofits, which allows them to receive and manage their own funding. Rural communities seeking 501(c)(3) status for their coalitions or collaborations may need legal assistance to review applications for tax exemption.

Resources and Space to Support Meetings

Health equity often involves bringing together members of the community and representatives from multiple sectors and organizations. This may require meeting space to allow for regular opportunities for engagement. Considerations for meeting spaces include cost, location, and accessibility. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of virtual meeting platforms like Zoom to facilitate collaboration. However, virtual meetings may be difficult to access for some community members due to lack of broadband access or challenges with navigating technology.

Funding for Engaging Community Members

Communities that experience inequities may face challenges in engaging in health equity initiatives, such as lack of transportation to meetings, lack of childcare, and inability to miss work due to financial or other constraints. Rural communities should consider opportunities to support community members to engage in health equity work, such as by offering stipends or other reimbursements for their time. West Marion Inc. offers stipends for community members to engage in this work, share their lived experiences, and bring their ideas and wisdom to the table.

The Social Determinants of Health Toolkit provides additional resource considerations when implementing rural programs, including funding, transportation, and staff.