Improving Health Among Rural Americans (IPHARM)

RHI Profile of the Week

Improving Health Among Rural Americans (IPHARM)

Improving Health Among Rural Americans (IPHARM) is a project that focuses on increasing access to preventative health care services for rural and frontier Montanans. This project provides these health care services in many ways, such as providing health screening services, serving as rural ambulatory care practice site for health professional students, and providing geriatric wellness education and testing. Service sites include community health centers, urban Indian health clinics, senior centers, community health fairs, employer screening events, reservation areas, migrant worker health clinics, and Hutterite colonies.
Health professional students and university faculty travel to various locations to provide care for those who lack geographic or financial access to preventative health screening. The major educational facilities, partners, and funders who participate in this program include:

  • University of Montana College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences
  • Skaggs School of Pharmacy
  • School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
  • School of Social Work
  • School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
  • Montana State University School of Nursing
  • Native American Center of Excel-lence
  • Missoula Urban Indian Health Center
  • Montana Food Bank Network
  • Montana Geriatric Education Center
  • HRSA

The locations who have benefited from this program so far are Helena, Libby, Huntly, Troy, Dillon, Lincoln, Ennis, Dutton, Stanford, Big Timber, Libby, Yaak, Missoula, Butte, Rocky Boy, Browning, Fort Peck, Florence, Chinook, Polson, and many other communities.
IPHARM is the only known program in the United States that utilizes health professional students and university faculty to travel to communities in need of these services. Another major achievement of this program is that it provides preventative screening to thousands of residents each year in more than 50 communities.
Pharmacy and other health professional students who grew up in rural communities have been great ambassadors, and those who participate find it very rewarding to go to communities where students grew up and to watch the mutual pride between the student and community. This highly attributed to IPHARM’s success.
According to Donna Beall, University of Montana College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences,“Community engagement is vital to success.”
If you are interested in participating in this program, you can schedule a health screening event by visiting the IPHARM website link: 

Evidence-Based Resources

Preventive care is the most important step you can take to manage your health. Many of the top risk factors leading to illness and premature death are preventable. By receiving preventative care, you are making a decision to take responsibility for your health and quality of life. It is easier to make healthy lifestyle decisions when you have the information and guidance of your health care provider, and you can control the risk factors​ for many of the leading causes of death.
Below is a list of resources that give a further explanation to the kinds of services IPHARM provides.