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Rural Health Information Hub

Criteria and Evidence-Base for Programs in the Rural Health Models and Innovations

What types of programs are included?

The Rural Health Models and Innovations includes programs and interventions that:

  • were conducted in a rural location in the United States.
  • address a rural health topic or issue.
  • are of interest and potential use to other rural communities seeking program ideas.
  • include a program contact person, organization, or other credible source for finding out more about the program.

How much do we know about how well these programs worked?

Rural stakeholders are often required to demonstrate that new programs or initiatives are based on objective evidence that the approach is likely to be successful. Selecting evidence-based approaches can also be useful in competing for limited resources and funding. However, not all rural issues have an evidence-based program example appropriate for replication in the community. Thus, it can also be useful to identify other innovative solutions that are not yet established by evidence.

Each program included in the Rural Health Models and Innovations is identified by the level of evidence* available for the approach.

Category of Evidence Publication of Evidence Number of Locations Results Potential Use
A review study of the approach in a peer-reviewed publication. Approach tried in more than one location or setting. Overall results were positive for the approach, may vary by setting/ location. Useful in all formal contexts.
Effective Reported in a peer-reviewed publication. May include a single location/ setting or multiple. Reported results were positive. Citing in formal project proposals & grant applications when there is a lack of relevant evidence-based research/ programs.
Promising A formal program evaluation was conducted and results are available publicly OR have been confirmed by RHIhub staff and are available on request from the program contact. Typically includes only a single location or setting. Program evaluation shows positive results. Can be used in FORHP grant proposals when there is a lack of evidence-based or effective programs available.

Any projects not labeled as evidence-based, effective, or promising are considered part of this category.

Anecdotal account of a program, without documentation of a formal evaluation. Typically includes only a single location or setting. Program result may be positive (success story), negative (lesson learned), or mixed.
  • Inspiration.
  • Connecting with and learning from others who have attempted to address similar issues.
  • Locating programs applicable to a specific or niche topic, issue, or population.

*Categories adapted from: Brennan, L., Castro, S., Brownson, R.C., Claus, J., & Orleans, CT. (2011). Accelerating Evidence Reviews and Broadening Evidence Standards to Identify Effective, Promising, and Emerging Policy and Environmental Strategies for Prevention of Childhood Obesity. Annual Review of Public Health, 32, 199-223. Article Abstract