Strong Rural Communities Initiative

The purpose of this project is to improve health indicators for selected rural communities in Wisconsin and significantly accelerate establishing collaboration for prevention as the norm, not the exception, throughout rural Wisconsin.


Center for Healthy Communities & Research, Department of Family and Community Medicine,
Medical College of Wisconsin

Langlade County Public Health Department

Manitowoc County Public Health Department

University of Wisconsin--Extension, Waupaca County

Rural Health Development Council

Goals of the Program

  • Promote statewide the critical need for and benefit of collaboration among rural medical, public health, and business partners to increase preventive health services
  • Identify and promote statewide public policies to support collaboration among rural medical, public health, and business partners
  • Facilitate collaboration between the proposed University of Wisconsin Medical School and Medical College of Wisconsin academic partners even if only one application is funded; the proposed non-funded academic partner will continue to participate in the Strong Rural Communities Initiative Screening Committee
  • Evaluate the Strong Rural Communities Initiative as a model to facilitate statewide adoption of multi-sector rural collaboration to increase preventive health services in rural Wisconsin communities
  • Building a Healthier Langlade County Coalition: The main objective this program is to enhance collaborative strategies with partner agencies to increase response to the rising obesity rates in the county by targeting businesses and their employees.
  • Healthiest Manitowoc County 2010: Know your numbers Objectives: The main objective of this proposal is to reduce health risk factors, eliminate health disparities, assure access to primary and preventive care and promote healthy lifestyle in Manitowoc County.
  • Working on Wellness (WOW) in Waupaca County, Wisconsin: The main objective of this proposal is to develop the long-term capacity of cross-institutional teams to provide prevention and health-promotion services to corporate and independent worksite locations.


Langlade County

  • Now in year two, Langlade County's SRCI project is working with six Langlade County businesses, providing and promoting a variety of worksite wellness options.
  • Local fitness facilities worked with the Wellness Coordinator and most have developed group grants.
  • WellFit, the fitness program offered by Langlade Memorial Hospital's Sports Medicine, has been grown

Manitowoc County

  • A Worksite Wellness Network has been formed with 14 local companies participating.
  • In the Fall of 2007, a local resource health guide was developed for distribution.

Waupaca County

  • Working on Wellness (WOW) has begun working with a new segment of the business/private sector-local banks and coffee shops. Eight different community banking institutions and coffee houses started employees and customer health checks with information handouts.
  • Initial WOW educational awareness segments have convinced four major business to invest in HRAs and Internet Surveys.
  • WOW website development will include articles, fact sheets, HRSa and Internet Survey descriptions/examples, business/school wellness plans, grant applications, and examples for wellness promotion and programs
  • WOW has now counseled and supported four model industrial businesses, six school districts, and five commercial/public offerings in seven different communities utilizing the WOW health inventories and wellness resources

Funding Source

Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program

Program Contact

Leslie Patterson