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Bibliography Tag: rural health

Hart et al., 2005

Hart, L. G., Larson, E. H., & Lishner, D. M.; “Rural definitions for health policy and research;” American Journal of Public Health, 2005, 95(7), 1149-1155; DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.042432.


The term “rural” suggests many things to many people, such as agricultural landscapes, isolation, small towns, and low population density. However, defining “rural” for health policy and research purposes requires researchers and policy analysts to specify which aspects of rurality are most relevant to the topic at hand and then select an appropriate definition. Rural and urban taxonomies often do not discuss important demographic, cultural, and economic differences across rural places-differences that have major implications for policy and research. Factors such as geographic scale and region also must be considered. Several useful rural taxonomies are discussed and compared in this article. Careful attention to the definition of “rural” is required for effectively targeting policy and research aimed at improving the health of rural Americans. FULL TEXT

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2014

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; “Health Disparities in Rural Women;” Committee Opinion, 2014, 586.


Rural women experience poorer health outcomes and have less access to health care than urban women. Many rural areas have limited numbers of health care providers, especially women’s health providers. Rural America is heterogeneous where problems vary depending on the region and state. Health care professionals should be aware of this issue and advocate for reducing health disparities in rural women. FULL TEXT

Bloom et al., 2012

Bloom, T. L., Bullock, L. F., & Parsons, L.; “Rural pregnant women’s stressors and priorities for stress reduction;” Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 2012, 33(12), 813-819; DOI: 10.3109/01612840.2012.712087.


Rural residence and maternal stress are risk factors for adverse maternal-child health outcomes across the globe, but rural women have been largely overlooked in maternal stress research. We recruited low-income, rural pregnant women for qualitative interviews to explore their stress exposures during pregnancy, reactions to stress, and priorities for stress reduction. We also used quantitative measures (Perceived Stress Scale, Center for Epidemiologic Studies of Depression Scale-Revised, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian, Lifetime Exposure to Violence Scale) to describe stress exposures and reactions. We interviewed 24 pregnant rural women from a Midwestern US state, who were primarily young, white, partnered, and unemployed. Women’s predominant stressor was financial stress, compounded by a lack of employment, transportation, and affordable housing options; extended family interdependence; small-town gossip; isolation/loneliness; and boredom. Quantitative measures revealed high levels of global perceived stress, violence exposure, and symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder among the sample. Women most commonly reported that employment and interventions to increase their employability would most effectively decrease their stress, but faced numerous barriers to education or job training. Tested maternal stress interventions to date include nurse-case management, teaching women stress management techniques, and mind-body interventions. Pregnant women’s own priorities for stress-reduction intervention may differ, depending on the population under study. Our findings suggest that rural clinicians should address maternal stress, violence exposure, and mental health symptoms in prenatal care visits and that clinicians and researchers should include the voices of rural women in the conceptualization, design, implementation, and evaluation of maternal stress-reduction interventions.

Blewett et al., 2004

Blewett, Lynn A., Casey, Michelle M., & Call, Kathleen T.; “Improving Access to Primary Care for a Growing Latino Population: The Role of Safety Net Providers in the Rural Midwest;” Health Services Safety Net, 2004, Summer 2004.


Context: Many rural Midwestern communities are experiencing rapid growth in Latino populations with low rates of health insurance coverage, limited financial resources, language and cultural differences, and special health care needs. Purpose: We report on 2-day site visits conducted in 2001 and 2002 in 3 communities (Marshalltown, Iowa; Great Bend, Kansas; and Norfolk, Nebraska) to document successful strategies to meet Latino health care needs. Methods: We interviewed key informants to identify successful community strategies for dealing with health care access challenges facing the growing Latino population in the Midwest. Findings: Interventions have been developed to meet new demands including (1) use of free clinics, (2) school health programs, (3) outreach by public health, social services and religious organizations, and (4) health care providers’ efforts to communicate with patients in Spanish. Strain on safety net services for Latinos is due in part to a complicated and unstable mix of public and private funds, a large but overtaxed volunteer provider base, the dependence on a limited number of community leaders, and limited time for coordination and documentation of activities. Conclusions: We suggest the development of a Rural Safety Net Support System to provide targeted funding to rural areas with growing immigrant populations. Federal community health center support could be redirected to new and existing safety net providers to support the development of a safety net monitoring system.

Casey et al., 2004

Casey, Michelle M., Blewett, Lynn A., & Call, Kathleen T.; “Providing Health Care to Latino Immigrants: Community-Based Efforts in the Rural Midwest;” American Journal of Public Health, 2004, 94(10), 1709-1711; DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.94.10.1709.


We examined case studies of 3 rural Midwestern communities to assess local health care systems response to rapidly growing Latino populations. Currently, clinics provide free or low-cost care, and schools, public health, social services, and religious organizations connect Latinos to the health care system. However, many unmet health care needs result from lack of health insurance, limited income, and linguistic and cultural barriers. Targeted safety net funding would help meet Latino health care needs in rural communities with limited resources.  FULL TEXT

Askelson et al., 2020

Askelson, N., Ryan, G., Pieper, F., Bash-Brooks, W., Rasmusson, A., Greene, M., & Buckert, A.; “Perspectives on Implementation: Challenges and Successes of a Program Designed to Support Expectant and Parenting Community College Students in Rural, Midwestern State;” Maternal Child Health Journal, 2020, 24(Suppl 2), 152-162; DOI: 10.1007/s10995-020-02879-6.


OBJECTIVES: Expectant and parenting students (EPS) at community colleges are an underserved and often under-resourced group. In a rural, Midwestern state, the department of public health was awarded the Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF) grant to assist this population. This paper outlines the results of the implementation evaluation and offers suggestions for programs and evaluators working with this population in the community college setting.

METHODS: We conducted a multicomponent evaluation utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods. Evaluation activities included tracking activities/services, surveys and interviews with participants, and interviews with community college staff implementing grant activities. The research team calculated frequencies for quantitative data and coded qualitative data for themes.

RESULTS: Data from the community colleges and students’ self-reports revealed that EPS most commonly received concrete support from the program, often in the form of stipends or gift cards. Students reported that concrete support was beneficial and helped to relieve financial stress during the semester. Students’ major barriers to participation were lack of knowledge about the program and busy schedules that prevented them from accessing PAF services. Staff reported that difficulty identifying EPS and the short one-year project period were major implementation challenges.

CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: We recommend that community colleges work to identify EPS, use fellow EPS to recruit program participants, and implement programming that works with the students’ schedules.


Mwangi and Constance-Higgins, 2017

Mwangi, E. Wairimu, & Constance-Huggins, Monique; “Intersectionality and Black Women’s Health: Making Room for Rurality;” Journal of Progressive Human Services, 2017, 30(1), 11-24; DOI: 10.1080/10428232.2017.1399037.


Black women have poorer health compared to their White counterparts in a range of health outcomes, including breast cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and heart disease. The health disparities literature has largely treated women as a monolithic group, assuming that health practices and treatments are equally applicable and effective for all women. This approach, which places too much emphasis on gender, risks masking the unique experiences of various women based on other social categories. This article argues that in order to advance Black women’s health, an intersectionality approach should be incorporated into health research and practice. This approach, however, should go beyond the usual intersection of race and gender to include rurality. The article builds this argument on the fact that Black women living in rural areas have unique experiences that intersect with their gender, race, and class status. Benefits for embracing the intersectionality approach are discussed

Luke et al., 2021

Luke, A. A., Huang, K., Lindley, K. J., Carter, E. B., & Joynt Maddox, K. E.; “Severe Maternal Morbidity, Race, and Rurality: Trends Using the National Inpatient Sample, 2012-2017;” J Womens Health (Larchmt), 2021, 30(6), 837-847; DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2020.8606.


BACKGROUND: Severe maternal morbidity is related to maternal mortality and an important measure of maternal health outcomes. Our objective was to evaluate differences in rates of severe maternal morbidity and mortality (SMM&M) by rurality and race, and examine these trends over time.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: It involves the retrospective cohort study of delivery hospitalizations from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2017 from the National Inpatient Sample. We identified delivery hospitalizations using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification diagnosis and procedure codes and diagnosis-related groups. We used hierarchical regression models controlling for insurance status, income, age, comorbidities, and hospital characteristics to model odds of SMM&M.

RESULTS: The eligible cohort contained 4,494,089 delivery hospitalizations. Compared with women from small cities, women in the most urban and most rural areas had higher odds of SMM&M (urban adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.09, 95% confidence interval [1.04-1.14]; noncore rural aOR 1.24 [1.18-1.31]). Among White women, the highest odds of SMM&M were in noncore rural counties (aOR 1.20 [1.12-1.27]), while among Black women the highest odds were in urban (aOR 1.21 [1.11-1.31]) and micropolitan areas (aOR 1.36 [1.19-1.57]). Findings were similar for Hispanic, Native American, and other race women. Rates of SMM&M increased from 2012 to 2017, especially among urban patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Women in the most urban and most rural counties experienced higher odds of SMM&M, and these relationships differed by race. These findings suggest particular areas for clinical leaders and policymakers to target to reduce geographic and racial disparities in maternal outcomes.

Harris et al., 2015

Harris, DE, Aboueissa, N Baugh, & Sarton, C; “Impact of rurality on maternal and infant health indicators and outcomes in Maine;” Rural and Remote Health, 2015, 15(3278).


INTRODUCTION: Rural residents may face health challenges related to geographic barriers to care, physician shortages, poverty, lower educational attainment, and other demographic factors. In maternal and child health, these disparities may be evidenced by the health risks and behaviors of new mothers, the health of infants born to these mothers, and the care received by both mothers and infants.

MEHTODS: To determine the impact of rurality on maternal and child health in Maine, USA, 11 years of data (2000–2010) for the state of Maine from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) project were analyzed. PRAMS is a national public health surveillance system that uses questionnaires to survey women who had delivered live infants in the previous 2–4 months. Using a geographic information system, each questionnaire response was assigned a rurality tier (urban, suburban, large rural town, or isolated rural community) based on the rural–urban commuting area code of the town of residence of the mother. Results from the four rurality tiers were compared using the survey procedures in Statistical Analysis Software to adjust for the complex sampling strategy of the PRAMS dataset. Means (for continuous variables) and percentages (for categorical variables) were calculated for each rurality tier, along with 95% confidence intervals. Significant differences between rurality tiers were tested for using F-tests or χ2 tests. If significant differences between rurality tiers existed (p<0.05), specific tiers were judged to be different from each other if their 95% confidence intervals did not overlap.

RESULTS: A total of 12 600 mothers responded to the PRAMS questionnaire during the study period. Compared to mothers from more urban areas, rural mothers were younger (10.5% of mothers from isolated rural areas were teenagers compared to 6.2% of mothers from urban areas), less well educated, less likely to be married, and more likely to live in lower income households (39.6% of isolated rural mothers had household incomes ≤US$20 000/year vs 28.8% of urban mothers). Rural mothers had higher prepregnancy body mass indexes (BMIs; average BMI 26.1 for isolated rural women vs 25.3 for urban women) and were more likely to smoke but less likely to drink alcohol (both before and during pregnancy). Compared to mothers from more urban areas, rural mothers were not sure they were pregnant until a later gestational age but received prenatal care just as early and were just as likely to receive prenatal care as early as they wished. There were no differences among rurality tiers in Caesarean section rates, rates of premature births (<37 weeks gestation), or rates of underweight births (<2500 g). However infants born to rural mothers were less likely to be breastfed (52.9% of isolated rural vs 60.9% of urban infants breast fed for ≥8 weeks).

CONCLUSIONS: These results show that, while rural women face significant demographic and behavior challenges, their access to prenatal care, the care they receive while pregnant, and the outcomes of their pregnancies are similar to those of urban women. These results highlight areas where focused pre-pregnancy and prenatal education may improve maternal and child health in rural Maine.

Villapiano et al., 2017

Villapiano, N., Iwashyna, T. J., & Davis, M. M.; “Worsening Rural-Urban Gap in Hospital Mortality;” Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 2017, 30(6), 816-823; DOI: 10.3122/jabfm.2017.06.170137.


BACKGROUND: One out of every 5 Americans live in rural communities. Rural Americans have higher rates of early and preventable deaths outside of the hospital than their urban counterparts. How rurality relates to hospital mortality is unknown. We sought to determine the association between rural versus urban residence and hospital mortality.

METHODS: This is a retrospective observational study of 4,412,942 nonmaternal, nonneonatal hospitalizations in 2008, and 3899,464 nonmaternal, nonneonatal hospitalizations in 2013 using all-payer, all-age data from the National Inpatient Sample of the Health care Cost and Utilization Project. Using multivariable logistic regression, we report the association between rural versus urban location of residence and hospital mortality, adjusting for chronic disease burden, age, income, and insurance status.

RESULTS: The unadjusted probability of hospital mortality for urban patients decreased from 2.51% (95% CI, 2.40 to 2.62) in 2008 to 2.27% (95% CI, 2.22 to 2.32) in 2013 (P < .001). Hospital mortality did not change for rural patients over this same time period (2008: 2.66% [95% CI, 2.57 to 2.74], 2013: 2.66% [95% CI, 2.60 to 2.72]; P = .99). Adjusting for covariates accounted for the rural-urban hospital mortality difference in 2008 (rural: 2.13% [95% CI, 2.05 to 2.21], urban: 2.11% [95% CI, 2.02 to 2.20]; P = .67), but did not fully explain the difference in 2013 (rural: 1.92% [95% CI, 1.87 to 1.97]; urban: 1.76% [95% CI, 1.72 to 1.80], P < .001), resulting in 8416 excess deaths among hospitalized patients from rural areas.

CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: In 2013, patients living in rural areas of the United States had a greater probability of hospital mortality than their urban counterparts. Explaining excess rural hospital deaths will require further attention to the patient, community, and health system factors that distinguish rural from urban populations. FULL TEXT

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