Healthy Hoosier Communities

Healthy Hoosier Communities

Together with community leaders, we have prioritized population health issues to promote the well-being of people in our region, including substance use disorder, obesity and diabetes, infant mortality, tobacco use, mental health, and chronic disease.

The center collaborates with Grand Challenge: Addictions and Grand Challenge: Precision Health Initiative teams, the School of Social Work master's program with a focus on addictions and mental health in rural communities, and the School of Public Health, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Dentistry on health promotion initiatives and healthcare professional development in Indiana. 

Description of the video:

[On-screen text] Fighting chronic illness in Orange County, Indiana

[Abby Keith, Junior, IU School of Nursing] So, going into the experience I really didn't know what to expect, especially going to a rural area for me was a little different, because that's not the kind of setting that I grew up in. I wasn't really used to it, but once we started, I realized that a lot of it was just, you know, talking to people and helping them as best you can and it was a really great experience.

[On-screen text] In a first-ever collaboration with the IU Center for Rural Engagement, nursing students are conducting home visits with chronically ill patients to gain real-world experience under the guidance of Dr. Greg Carter and Paoli community partner, Dr. Yolanda Yoder.

[On-screen text] The experience

[Abby Keith, Junior, IU School of Nursing] We would take the drive down to Paoli, and first we would all meet together and so then we would kind of set our goals for the day, and discuss each of our patients and what we think the best course of action is, and discuss that as a group. 

[Dr. Greg Carter] We had a patient that had chronic pain, severe chronic pain.
His depression was overriding that and he's like I can't deal with this depression. I do think it's tied to the lack of employment, isolation, anxiety. It's tied to all those things.

[On-screen text] Once a crossroads for buffalo and pioneers alike, Orange County still holds on to its rural roots.

[Emma Sullivan, Junior, School of Nursing] Well I actually come from a rural community, and I grew up on a farm and I plan on like staying in that area because I do feel like it is underserved and people don't understand that way of life sometimes. So I plan to work with the rural community.

[On-screen text] Going into it, I thought the patients wouldn't necessarily be closed-minded, but set in their ways. I felt like there wasn't a lot I could help with...but I was proved wrong. I was able to get my patient's meds changed. He had a more positive outlook when I was done. It felt like I did something good. -Emma Sullivan

[On-screen text] Paoli, 45 miles south of Bloomington, faces healthcare barriers shared by many rural U.S. communities. These include poverty, restricted access to employer-sponsored healthcare, and a higher prevalence of conditions like diabetes and chronic pain and a high patient-to-physician ratio.

[Emma Sullivan, Junior, School of Nursing] The best thing was like working with the physicians. They had a lot of good things to say about each other, like they understood where they came from whether it was a lower socioeconomic status or just the health problems in general. They wanted each other to be better.

[Abby Keith, Junior School of Nursing] I really enjoy the sense of community that there that everyone cared for each other's well-being. I thought that was really nice to see. One of the things I like about nursing is that there are so many different avenues that you can go down for it, so public health is a major interest of mine and that clinical really solidified that for me. I do think I want to work with more rural populations and underserved areas.

[Emma Sullivan, Junior, School of Nursing] Working with the IU Center for Rural
engagement, it has opened my eyes and made me realize that the rural community does need more doctors, nurses, social workers, to work with them. It's made a positive impact.

[On-screen text] For more information, visit

Rural Nursing Initiative

The Center for Rural Engagement and the IU School of Nursing is partnering with Southern Indiana Community Health Care to conduct home visits for patients with chronic illnesses. For their clinical experience, students in Assistant Professor Greg Carter’s class are helping patients with diabetes test their A1C values, learn how to improve their health, and evaluate the safety of their home.