Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Rural Adults: A Pilot Intervention Study Using Registered Nurse/Community Health Worker Teams

Patrik L Johansson, Sheri A. Rowland, Paula Sue Schulz, Leeza Struwe, Luciana Hebert, Grant Brueggemann, Lani Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction programs led by a nurse/community health worker team are effective in urban settings. This strategy has not been adequately tested in rural settings. Objective A pilot study was conducted to examine the feasibility of implementing an evidence-based CVD risk reduction intervention adapted to a rural setting and evaluate the potential impact on CVD risk factors and health behaviors. Methods A 2-group, experimental, repeated-measures design was used; participants were randomized to a standard primary care group (n = 30) or an intervention group (n = 30) where a registered nurse/community health worker team delivered self-management strategies in person, by phone, or by videoconferencing. Outcomes were measured at baseline and at 3 and 6 months. A sample of 60 participants was recruited and retained in the study. Results In-person (46.3%) and telephone (42.3%) meetings were used more than the videoconferencing application (9%). Mean change at 3 months differed significantly between the intervention and control groups for CVD risk (-1.0 [95% confidence interval (CI), -3.1 to 1.1] vs +1.4 [95% CI, -0.4 to 3.3], respectively), total cholesterol (-13.2 [95% CI, -32.1 to 5.7.] vs +21.0 [95% CI, 4.1-38.1], respectively), and low-density lipoprotein (-11.5 [95% CI, -30.8 to 7.7] vs +19.6 [95% CI, 1.9-37.2], respectively). No between-group differences were seen in high-density lipoprotein, blood pressure, or triglycerides. Conclusions Participants receiving the nurse/community health worker-delivered intervention improved their risk CVD profiles, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein levels at 3 months. A larger study to explore the intervention impact on CVD risk factor disparities experienced by rural populations is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-271
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2023


  • cardiovascular disease
  • community health workers
  • health disparities
  • mHealth
  • rural health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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