Skip to main content
Rural Health Information Hub

Community Health Workers in Rural Settings – 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.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Health without Borders
Updated/reviewed December 2020
  • Need: To improve the health of communities in the south central region of New Mexico.
  • Intervention: A program was developed to specifically address diabetes prevention and control, behavioral healthcare, and immunization in Luna County.
  • Results: During the program, 1,500 immunizations were distributed, baseline measurements of participants improved, and 935 new patients were seen for behavioral health issues.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Bridges to Health
Updated/reviewed October 2020
  • Need: To reduce barriers to accessing healthcare for immigrant farmworkers in the rural areas of Vermont.
  • Intervention: Bridges to Health uses care coordination and health promoters to reduce barriers to accessing healthcare on an individual level. The program offers targeted technical assistance to address systemic barriers at health access points in areas with high numbers of immigrant farmworkers.
  • Results: Some barriers to accessing healthcare have been reduced or removed for immigrant farmworkers in certain counties.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Prevention through Care Navigation Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed May 2020
  • Need: To reduce the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: Community Health Workers are utilized to create a system of coordinated care in Delta, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties.
  • Results: As of 2018, 2,709 people have been screened for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with many at-risk patients lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1C levels after engaging with a Community Health Worker.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Health Coaches for Care Transition
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To help older patients with chronic conditions learn to manage their illnesses and thereby reduce hospital readmissions in Oconee County, South Carolina.
  • Intervention: Community volunteers trained as health coaches mentor discharged patients with certain chronic conditions, to help them transition from home health care to self-care.
  • Results: Participants had improved health behaviors and reduced readmissions.

Other Project Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy funded by the Health Resources Services Administration ASPIN's Certified Recovery Specialist Program
Updated/reviewed September 2022
  • Need: Improved approach in addressing the behavioral health and primary care disparities of Indiana's underserved rural counties.
  • Intervention: A network was established that trained community health workers (CHW) to be certified health insurance enrollment navigators and provide mental health services.
  • Results: This year, ASPIN trained 230 CHWs, cross-trained 70 behavioral health case managers as CHWs, and 35 individuals in the Indiana Navigator Pre-certification Education.
Rural Libraries and Health Cooperative Agreement
Added May 2022
  • Need: To increase access to healthcare and social services in rural South Carolina via library systems.
  • Intervention: Pilot sites are hiring social workers and community health workers to provide consultations, case management, and referrals.
  • Results: One library's social worker program currently has 62 active clients, and another library screens an average of 215 residents a month.
Disabled Adults Oral Health Initiative
Updated/reviewed April 2022
  • Need: To help rural Maryland adults with disabilities learn more about oral health and access care.
  • Intervention: Health Right community health workers gave educational presentations at agencies serving those with disabilities.
  • Results: From March 2014 to February 2016, educational presentations reached 1,084 adults with disabilities and 344 staff and caregivers, and 256 people received dental treatment.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy La Red Health Center
Updated/reviewed December 2020
  • Need: Meeting the health care needs of the uninsured and underinsured population of Sussex County, Delaware.
  • Intervention: La Red Health Center was created to offer culturally competent primary and preventative care to children and adults, regardless of ability to pay.
  • Results: La Red Health Center (LRHC) serves thousands of residents at four clinical sites, a school-based wellness center and through a collaborative effort with a local senior center.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy NEON Pathways Community Hub
Updated/reviewed July 2020
  • Need: Connect individuals to services that address health barriers.
  • Intervention: A pay-for-outcomes model utilizing Community Health Workers who help provide community members with tools to address needs associated with improving health.
  • Results: Trained Community Health Workers help patients navigate the healthcare and social service systems and provide education about community healthcare resources.
AmeriCorps Community Health Workers Program
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: Chronic diseases, diabetes, and opioid misuse has caused significant health disparities in Ohio and West Virginia.
  • Intervention: A program recruiting AmeriCorps members to serve as community health workers helps bring health services and education to local residents.
  • Results: As a result of the program, community members have reported weight loss, increased physical activity, reduction in medication, and improvements in self-management of chronic diseases.

Last Updated: 9/13/2022