Project Title

Obstacles Encountered by Rural Communities in Healthcare

Academic department under which the project should be listed

Social Work & Human Services

Faculty Sponsor Name

Darlene Rodriguez- Schaefer

Project Type

Event

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 15% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas. However, addressing and confronting these challenges have their obstacles. As part of HS3600: Program Development and Evaluation, our research team sought to explore if, how, and when the health of Douglas County residents was impacted because of the rural nature of their community. We specifically examined focus group data from Cobb Douglas Public Health Community Health Assessment (2017−2021). Our thematic analysis of the data indicates, there As a result of the study, it was shown to be a strong correlation between geographical location being a barrier to having limited access to healthy nutrition and healthcare options. Focus group participants had difficulties setting up and attending appointments as the distance from their home to the healthcare facilities was greater than they would have liked. Moreover, As well as the residents resorting to unhealthy eating habits as they were more affordable and within physical proximity. reach. Based on this data, we reviewed academic and grey literature to determine if local experiences matched researched in other local contexts. This appears to be the case. In light of COVID-19, we know that these obstacles have been exacerbated, thus we have some recommendations for our local public health agencies to consider when working with rural communities. We will share our report of findings and recommendations with Cobb and Douglas Public Health as they embark on the community health assessment (2023−2027).

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Obstacles Encountered by Rural Communities in Healthcare

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 15% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas. However, addressing and confronting these challenges have their obstacles. As part of HS3600: Program Development and Evaluation, our research team sought to explore if, how, and when the health of Douglas County residents was impacted because of the rural nature of their community. We specifically examined focus group data from Cobb Douglas Public Health Community Health Assessment (2017−2021). Our thematic analysis of the data indicates, there As a result of the study, it was shown to be a strong correlation between geographical location being a barrier to having limited access to healthy nutrition and healthcare options. Focus group participants had difficulties setting up and attending appointments as the distance from their home to the healthcare facilities was greater than they would have liked. Moreover, As well as the residents resorting to unhealthy eating habits as they were more affordable and within physical proximity. reach. Based on this data, we reviewed academic and grey literature to determine if local experiences matched researched in other local contexts. This appears to be the case. In light of COVID-19, we know that these obstacles have been exacerbated, thus we have some recommendations for our local public health agencies to consider when working with rural communities. We will share our report of findings and recommendations with Cobb and Douglas Public Health as they embark on the community health assessment (2023−2027).