people who live in rural areas

Success Stories

training community health workers to offer Chronic Disease Self-Management Program workshops in rural communities.

In the mostly rural state of Kentucky, more than one million adults, or over 30% of the state’s adult population, have arthritis. The Kentucky Department of Health’s Arthritis Programexternal icon, funded by CDC, is partnering with the Homeplace program at the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health to train community health workers to offer Chronic Disease Self-Management Program workshops in rural communities.

In the heart of the United States, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Arthritis Program offers Chronic Disease Self-Management Program workshops in five rural counties in the northeast corner of the state. These counties have some of the highest rates of arthritis in the state, affecting up to 1 in 3 people in the hardest hit areas. With limited resources and long distances to travel, some health clinics provide transportation for their patients to attend the workshop each week, making it easier to receive services.

CDC funded Utah DHS Arthritis program to partner with community organizations to offer a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program known as “Living Well,”

To the west in Utah, approximately 408,000 adults or 20% of the state’s adult population have arthritis. Of those adults with arthritis, 45% are limited in their everyday activities because of the disease. Those in rural and frontier settings often have significantly less access to healthcare services. The Utah Department of Health’s Arthritis Program, funded by CDC, currently works with community organizations—HealthInsight, Intermountain Healthcare, and the Central Utah Department of Health—to offer a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program known as “Living Wellexternal icon,” which maintains a web portal where residents can easily register for and learn more about the workshops.

Related Health Topics: Arthritis, Health Behaviors

A child using an inhaler

In implementing its home visitation program, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services used a Task Force recommendation from The Community Guideexternal icon for home-based, multi-trigger, multi-component environmental interventions that support children and adolescents with asthma. CDC awarded the agency funding for a quality improvement plan, which referenced the Task Force recommendation. Within one month of implementation, the proportion of children in the program who experienced asthma-related symptoms dropped from 23% to 7%.

Related Health Topics: Child Health

Cancer Screening
Doctor talking to a patient

In rural South Carolina the risk of cancer-related death is a complex public health problem. The St. James-Santee Family Health Center launched the Black Corals program to increase cancer screening among women. The Community Guideexternal icon served as a resource to help the program dramatically increase breast and cervical cancer screenings in their community.

Related Health Topics: Cancer

training community health workers to offer Chronic Disease Self-Management Program workshops in rural communities.

Variant flu infections, which are human infections with influenza (flu) viruses that normally circulate in swine (pigs) but not people, can occur each year in the United States. Many variant flu infections occur in children and often are associated with exposure to infected pigs or their environments at large agricultural fairs. In order to educate children and teens about variant flu and the actions that they can take to protect themselves and prevent the spread of flu between pigs and people, CDC collaborated with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)external icon and 4-H National Headquartersexternal icon within USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)external icon to create a graphic novel called the Junior Disease Detectives: Operation Outbreak. The graphic novel and its associated educational content is intended for children and teens who show or have contact with pigs, or who may visit agricultural fairs or animal pettings zoos, as well as for formal educational use in K-12 classrooms across the country. CDC hopes the graphic promotes youth interest in science as well as public and animal health, and that it inspires the next generation of real-life disease detectives. The graphic novel is available for free download at and as an eBook from Apple iTunesexternal icon.

Be a Disease Detective 4-H Exploration Days

The Influenza and Zoonoses Education among Youth in Agriculture (Youth in Ag) program is a successful collaboration between CDC, USDA, CSTE, Land-grant universities, and state and local governments that aims to reach millions of rural youth and their families who are at a higher risk of exposure to swine (variant) influenza and other zoonotic diseases. Michigan is one of four states that has received funding since 2014. Through this program, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)external icon and Michigan State University (MSU) Extensionexternal icon have created and distributed tens of thousands of educational materialsexternal icon to rural youth through 4-H including a “Zoonotic Disease Educational toolkit”. The materials engage youth directly with in-person courses such as the “Be a Disease Detective” Exploration Days. Additionally, MDHHS and MSU have hosted 46 events such as regional meetings themed “Be Healthy at the Fair” to engage local agricultural stakeholders throughout Michigan. Successful human and animal health partnerships developed through the Youth in Ag program facilitated a rapid response to agricultural fair-associated cases of swine (variant) influenza H3N2v in people in Michigan and Ohio in 2016.

Related Health Topics: Vaccines

Physical education
Soccer coach going over a stragity

In Illinois, concerns of rising obesity rates led policymakers to write a plan for state standards that enhance physical education in schools based on evidence-based intervention strategies from The Community Guideexternal icon. The plan requires regular fitness testing in every school, as well as curriculum development. More than 800 teachers from 300 school districts have been trained to implement the related standards.

Related Health Topics: Health Behaviors

Seat belts and child safety seats
Soccer coach going over a stragity

Child safety seat use increased by 34% on the Yurok Tribe Reservation, four years after starting Buckle Up Yurok (BUY), a motor vehicle injury prevention program developed by the California Rural Indian Health Board. In 2010, the Board received a CDC grant to launch BUY. The grant required the program to use motor vehicle injury prevention strategies from The Community Guideexternal icon. Program coordinator Danielle Lippert says, “The [Task Force’s] findings helped us choose interventions that we could be confident were effective.”

Related Health Topics: Motor Vehicle Safety

Page last reviewed: November 16, 2018