The Office of Rural and Underserved Programs works in partnership with rural and underserved communities to increase access to health care, reduce health disparities and promote health in rural and underserved communities. Here are some of the ways we work in our communities.
Community Health Assessment
The Office of Rural and Underserved Programs works with the Athens City-County Health Department on numerous projects including the 2019 Athens Community Needs Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan. Sharon Casapulla, Ed.D., M.P.H., developed, distributed and summarized the results of the 2019 Athens community survey, one of the primary data collection tools in the Community Health Assessment. The CHA process gathers primary and secondary data at the community level to identify areas of concern related to health. The results are shared with community stakeholders who are asked to prioritize these concerns. The priorities inform the development of the local Community Health Improvement Plan or CHIP.
Community-Based Health Education
In 2018, in collaboration with the staff of the Athens City-County Health Department, Dr. Casapulla worked with faculty from the OHIO College of Health Sciences and Professions and a RUSP student to develop, implement and evaluate a health education intervention with the clients of the ACCHD Harm Reduction program. The team wrote and received a $10,000 community engagement grant from the Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute at the Heritage College to support the project.
Increasing Access to Care — Delyn Health and Wellness Team
We collaborate with faculty members in the School of Nursing at Ohio University to partner with community members in New Straitsville, Ohio. Since 2015, our office has been working with a group of local residents to achieve their vision of bringing primary care to southern Perry County. We survey residents on their health priorities, raise awareness of local health needs and services, and assist with submitting a collaborative grant proposal.
The Delyn Community Health and Wellness Committee has been working in New Straitsville to refurbish a historic building (pictured above) and transform it into a local medical clinic and social gathering space. RUSP students have been active team members, working to increase access to care in the Little Cities of the Black Diamonds region. Eliza Harper, a Perry County resident from the OHIO School of Nursing, led the team. Representatives from Hopewell Health Center, Hocking Athens Perry Community Actions and Ohio University CHSP Social and Public Health joined New Straitsville Council President Patti Spencer, County EMA Director Rita Spicer and Assistant Fire Chief Tim Warren and Joe Maroon as dedicated community leaders in this effort.