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IRHA Health Equity Project: Health Determinants Rural Learning Collaborative

The Iowa Rural Health Association (IRHA) was selected by the Division of Public Health/Iowa Health and Human Services to participate in the Initiative to Address COVID- 19 Health Disparities. IRHA solicited applications from rural communities and organizations who had projects focused on health equity. From these applications, four communities were selected to receive funding through this initiative to support their work.

During the last thirty years, the IRHA has provided a statewide network of rural health providers advocating for rural health care and access to healthy rural communities. IRHA is a non-profit organization, dedicated to the growth and success of the communities it advocates for. We know from experience that time, funding, and resources when shared with rural communities, have impact, and sustainability. Rural residents who are “boots on the ground” know what they need and what is possible.

When the IRHA applied for the Iowa Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities grant, our intent was to identify rural communities and garner our partnership capacity to help support and expand their existing community health efforts.

Throughout the process, the need of peer-to-peer learning was repeatedly identified. IRHA  met frequently with each of the four grantees and provided opportunities for the grantees to share successes and challenges with each other. Within each of the grantee communities, a community team, or coalition was established to guide the grant objectives. When creating these community teams, IRHA worked with grantees to identify potential cross-sector partnerships and ensure all members of the community were being considered in the work. The result of the Health Determinants Rural Learning Collaborative is four successful health equity projects across the state of Iowa. While the projects vary in many ways, each project increased community partnerships, infrastructure, and community knowledge of the social determinants of health.

The IRHA is pleased and proud of the four communities involved in the IRHA Health Equity Project: Health Determinants Rural Learning Collaborative. One page flyers highlighting the work of each of these communities is linked below:
the City of Malvern
Healthy Fayette County
Healthy Henry County
Iowa Specialty Hospital

The grant period has ended for the projects however; the IRHA will continue to support and direct resources to the projects. The Projects will present their story in a Breakout Session at the IRHA October 18 Conference!

The IRHA Friday Update will feature each of the community projects beginning with our Project Overview.

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