Facilitators to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programming
The following factors can facilitate the success of rural health promotion and disease prevention programs:
- Access to local leaders: Local leaders, providers, and community organizations can support health promotion efforts. Local leaders who are recognized within the community can help to increase program buy-in and ownership among participants. “Program champions” can also serve as unofficial leaders and can help increase community buy-in.
- Strong relationships: Forming close partnerships can increase the potential for success. Organizations with similar missions can work together to achieve similar goals, organize local support and community buy-in, and maximize the use and efficient allocation of resources.
- Common social centers: Health promotion and disease prevention programs can use local gathering spots like parks, churches, schools, city centers, and social clubs to reach large numbers of people. Involving participants through these social avenues can build trust in and commitment to the program.
- Flexibility: It may be necessary to adapt programs as they are implemented to address challenges or accommodate local circumstances. Plan ahead, troubleshoot, and maintain flexibility to options while remaining true to the program’s primary purpose.
- Importance of word of mouth: Word of mouth can help establish credibility and trust of rural programs. Use social networking strategies and understanding of community dynamics to spread positive program messages.
Other characteristics of successful rural health programs include using evidence-based models, community engagement, partnerships, sustainability plans, and evaluation. These factors are described in the Rural Community Health Toolkit.