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Rural Health Information Hub

Chronic Disease in Rural America – Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Effective Examples

Franklin Cardiovascular Health Program (FCHP)
Updated/reviewed February 2022
  • Need: To develop sustainable, community-wide prevention methods for cardiovascular diseases in order to change behaviors and healthcare outcomes in rural Maine.
  • Intervention: Local community groups and Franklin Memorial Hospital staff studied mortality and hospitalization rates for 40 years in this rural, low-income area of Farmington to seek intervention methods that could address cardiovascular diseases.
  • Results: A decline in cardiovascular-related mortality rates and improved prevention methods for hypertension, high cholesterol, and smoking.
HoMBReS
Updated/reviewed February 2022
  • Need: To reduce the risk of HIV/STDs among Latino men living in rural regions of the United States.
  • Intervention: Soccer team leaders are elected and trained as lay health advisors to promote sexual health education among team members.
  • Results: Program participants report an increase in HIV testing, an increase in condom use, and an increase in awareness of how to prevent the transmission of HIV.
The Pacific Care Model: Charting the Course for Non-communicable Disease Prevention and Management
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: The U.S. Associated Pacific Islands (USAPI) needed an efficient, effective, integrated method to improve primary care services that addressed the increased rates of non-communicable disease (NCD), the regional-specific phrase designating chronic disease.
  • Intervention: Through specialized training, multidisciplinary teams from five of the region's health systems implemented the Chronic Care Model (CCM), an approach that targets healthcare system improvements, uses information technology, incorporates evidence-based disease management, and includes self-management support strengthened by community resources.
  • Results: Aimed at diabetes management, teams developed a regional, culturally-relevant Non-Communicable Disease Collaborative Initiative that addresses chronic disease management challenges and strengthens healthcare quality and outcomes.
Community-Based Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program
Updated/reviewed February 2021
  • Need: More evidenced-based chronic lower respiratory disease management options for rural Appalachia patients, where lung disease rates are among the highest in the country.
  • Intervention: Implementation of outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation programs in 2 Federally Qualified Health Centers and a Critical Access Hospital in West Virginia.
  • Results: Improved health outcomes for patients with chronic lower respiratory disease, including those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy funded by the Health Resources Services Administration New Mexico Mobile Screening Program for Miners
Updated/reviewed December 2020
  • Need: To increase access to medical screening for miners in New Mexico.
  • Intervention: A mobile screening clinic with telemedicine capability screens miners for respiratory and other conditions.
  • Results: In a survey, 92% of miners reported their care as very good, while the other 8% reported it as good. The program has expanded to three other states.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration NC-REACH: NC-Rurally Engaging and Assisting Clients who are HIV positive and Homeless
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: Provision of medical care access and follow-up for rural North Carolina HIV patients with mental health, substance abuse, and unstable housing/homelessness challenges.
  • Intervention: Medical home staff model expanded to a care coordination program with a core Network Navigator and Continuum of Care Coordinator assisting with medical, behavioral health, and basic life needs.
  • Results: To date, the program has advanced three aspects of medical home patient care for this target population: provided further understanding of the spectrum of homelessness, including "hidden" homelessness; implemented outreach with creation of new community partnerships and a community housing coalition; and integrated medical care and behavioral health care for HIV.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Health Coaches for Hypertension Control
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: A cost-effective approach to help rural patients with hypertension learn to manage their condition.
  • Intervention: Community volunteers trained as health coaches provided an 8-session hypertension management training program to hypertension patients older than 60, with an optional supplemental 8 sessions focused on nutrition and physical activity.
  • Results: Just 16 weeks after the program, participants had improved systolic blood pressure, weight, and fasting glucose, greater knowledge of hypertension, and improved self-reported behaviors.
Strong African American Families-Teen Program
Updated/reviewed April 2019
  • Need: There is a lack of interventions that addresses teenager behavioral problems, particularly for rural African American adolescents.
  • Intervention: Rural, locally trained leaders administered five 2-hour meetings for teenagers and their primary caregivers. Trainings focused on reducing risks that prevent positive development, specifically sexual risk-taking that can lead to HIV and other STIs.
  • Results: Teens reported reduced conduct problems, depressive symptoms, and substance abuse. Families were strengthened, and SAAF-T reduced unprotected intercourse and increased condom efficacy.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Medical Advocacy & Outreach's Telehealth Services
Updated/reviewed November 2018
  • Need: Rural Alabama residents with HIV/AIDS face stigma, poverty, and transportation barriers, limiting their access to expert HIV/AIDS healthcare.
  • Intervention: Medical Advocacy & Outreach utilizes telemedicine to remove these barriers and offers cost-effective care to rural patients living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Results: This telehealth network has expanded to reach rural patients in 12 Alabama counties. Patients are staying engaged due to its convenience and cost-effective nature.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy One Community Health's Wellness Programs
Updated/reviewed October 2017
  • Need: Difficulties obtaining healthcare access to treat diabetes and obesity for low-income and Spanish-speaking residents of Oregon and Washington's Columbia River Gorge area.
  • Intervention: A local healthcare facility developed wellness programs using bilingual community health workers to provide education and support that improves diets, physical activity, and teaches stress management.
  • Results: Many participants in the wellness programs have maintained or lost weight and have seen reductions in their cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Vegetable vouchers, cooking classes, and budgeting education has also helped patients afford healthy food.

Last Updated: 2/24/2022