University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center

Current Projects

  • Access to and Use of Midwifery Care for Rural Residents
    Rural obstetric unit closures and health care workforce shortages limit access to care for pregnant rural residents. Our goal is to describe the midwifery workforce in rural communities and at rural hospitals that provide obstetric care, and to assess rural-urban differences in use of midwifery care at the time of childbirth.
    Topics: Hospitals and clinics, Maternal health, Nurses and nurse practitioners, Women, Workforce
  • Addressing Elder Abuse in Rural Areas
    Elder abuse, including financial, physical, and emotional abuse, as well as self-neglect, is widespread and impacts individual and population health outcomes. However, despite the fact that rural residents are older, in poorer health, and more financially vulnerable, little is known about rural/urban differences in the prevalence of and resources to address elder abuse; this project will address those gaps.
    Topics: Aging, Disabilities, Health disparities and health equity, Social determinants of health, Violence and abuse
  • Extent and Coverage of Rural PACE Services
    Supporting independent living and aging in place for rural residents is more important than ever. This project will provide information on the extent and coverage of rural Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) programs, along with insights into the unique challenges and opportunities faced by PACE programs operating in rural areas.
    Topics: Aging, Disabilities, Health disparities and health equity, Healthcare access, Home health, Social determinants of health
  • Geographic and Socio-Demographic Correlates of Medical Debt Among Rural Residents
    Medical debt is widespread and impacts financial well-being and access to care. While research suggests that medical debt is higher among rural residents compared to urban residents, more work is needed to conclusively demonstrate rural/urban differences in medical debt and within-rural risk factors for greater medical debt by geography and socio-demographic characteristics.
    Topics: Health disparities and health equity, Healthcare access, Poverty, Public health, Rural statistics and demographics, Social determinants of health
  • Housing as a Social Determinant of Rural Health
    The purpose of this project is to identify rural/urban and within-rural differences in housing quality and its relationship to health and disability status, especially for individuals living in poverty. We will also identify rural-specific housing issues and innovative policy solutions to address housing challenges in order to improve rural health.
    Topics: Disabilities, Environmental and agricultural health, Health disparities and health equity, Poverty, Public health, Rural statistics and demographics, Social determinants of health
  • Postpartum Morbidity and Mortality and Health Care Utilization in Rural vs. Urban Communities
    Using 2006-2018 data from the National Health Interview Survey linked to the National Death Index through 2019, this project will examine postpartum mortality among rural and urban residents. We will also evaluate differences in health, health care utilization, and barriers to care across rural and urban communities.
    Topics: Health disparities and health equity, Healthcare access, Maternal health, Medicaid and CHIP, Mental and behavioral health, Private health insurance, Social determinants of health, Uninsured and underinsured, Women
  • Ransomware Attacks on Rural Hospitals
    The rise in hospital ransomware attacks threatens to harm patients, especially in rural areas. This project will use a novel dataset to analyze rural/urban differences in how ransomware attacks affect patients and hospitals.
    Topics: Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Emergency medical services (EMS) and trauma, Health information technology, Hospitals and clinics
  • Rural Obstetric Unit Closures
    The goal of this project is to update prior research to include the latest information on the loss of hospital-based obstetric services in rural U.S. counties. This project is important because ensuring obstetric care access and reducing maternal mortality in rural and underserved areas is a key focus of national, state, and local policies.
    Topics: Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Healthcare access, Hospitals and clinics, Maternal health, Women, Workforce
  • Rural-Urban Differences in Domestic Violence as a Contributor to Maternal Morbidity and Mortality
    Using 2016-2020 data from the CDC's Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, this project will assess the prevalence of domestic violence among rural and urban residents who give birth. We will also analyze how screening and support services could be improved to support rural families that experience domestic violence, including during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
    Topics: Maternal health, Social determinants of health, Violence and abuse, Women