The Innovations Fund

Phases: 2019, 2021

Coalition Catalyst: Building Health Equity in Montana

Project Description:



The Montana Center to Advance Health Through Nursing (MT CAHN) aims to advance health equity by involving two nurse leaders on the newly formed Montana Health Equity Task Force. This task force was created to influence policy and guide programs that will improve health equity for Montanans, and the nurse leaders will provide a nursing lens and act as a liaison for the state’s nursing community supporting local level, health equity-focused strategies. Additionally, the nurse leaders will utilize the Campaign for Action’s Health Equity Toolkit to help develop and deliver a health equity track at the MT CAHN Nursing Summit in June 2022.



The Montana Action Coalition’s “Reaching Rural” project developed an online learning community for rural, frontier, and tribal nurses who are Native American and representing the tribal communities in Montana. The initiative provided continuing education and professional leadership development with a focus on topic areas that incorporate Culture of Health and health equity principles, including chronic disease prevention and control, adverse childhood experiences, effects on health and trauma-informed care, mental health and substance abuse, interprofessional practice, integrated behavioral health management and practice, rural health leadership, building cross-sector collaborations, and health equity.

Summary of completed project

In collaboration with the Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Health Education, the Montana Action Coalition utilized an online learning management system to provide space for discussion and dialogue in a learning community. “Reaching Rural” was an easily accessible online community that connected nurses from rural, frontier and tribal areas to support their work in leadership and building a Culture of Health. During the project, additional partnerships were created with:

  1. the Montana University System Institute for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice (MUS IPE Institute) to extend IPE-related content and training opportunities for nurses and students;
  2. the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council Epidemiology Center (RMTEC) to assist in the development of partnerships and relationship with tribal health, tribal public health, and Indian Health Service; and
  3. the Montana Health Care Foundation to provide access to Integrated Behavioral Health content and connection to the National Center for Behavioral Health for additional trainings. Approximately 25 nurses participated in the courses.


The “Reaching Rural” project was the first online resource community for nurses working in rural, frontier and tribal areas of Montana. Because of new partnerships formed during the project, there has been an expansion of the training sessions and online modules offered and plans continue for upcoming school years.