Integrating Primary Care Practices and Community-based Resources to Manage Obesity: A Bridge-building Toolkit for Rural Primary Care Practices

Why Was This Guide Developed?

Managing and treating obesity is particularly challenging for primary care practices. Although evidence suggests the potential for improving eating and physical activity behaviors by effectively linking primary care practices and community resources, establishing such linkages may be especially challenging in rural areas, where limited availability of and access to services may compound standard barriers.

In 2010 the Oregon Rural Practice-based Research Network (ORPRN) received funding from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality for research into "Integrated Primary Care Practices and Community-based Programs to Manage Obesity." Over a 2-year period we worked with eight primary care practices and community-based health coalitions in four rural Oregon communities to:

  1. Evaluate local clinic and community factors necessary to develop sustainable linkages between primary care and community resources for obesity management.
  2. Design, implement, and evaluate a participatory process using practice facilitation and community-health development principles to achieve these linkages.

We used the findings from this 2-year process to develop this toolkit to help other primary care clinics that want to improve linkages with community-based resources for obesity management. This process highlights strategies to build on the ties that often already exist in rural areas. Although our process is tailored to rural settings, we anticipate that many of the strategies will be beneficial for urban practices and communities to consider. This toolkit offers key steps in our process, providing tools and recommended steps that we encourage you to adapt to fit your local setting.

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Page last reviewed May 2014
Internet Citation: Integrating Primary Care Practices and Community-based Resources to Manage Obesity: A Bridge-building Toolkit for Rural Primary Care Practices : Why Was This Guide Developed?. May 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/prevention-chronic-care/improve/community/obesity-pcpresources/obpcp-why.html