Public health

Current Projects

  • A Chartbook of Rural Population Health
    This project creates a chartbook of population health for rural areas. This resource is designed to allow policymakers and practitioners to better understand rural-urban disparities across a wide variety of population health indicators.
    Research center: North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center
    Topics: Health disparities and health equity, Public health
  • An Innovative Approach to Targeting Rural Communities in Public Health Funding
    The Centers for Disease Control launched a new initiative to address COVID-19 related health disparities and to advance health equity among underserved and at-risk populations. This effort included state funding to address the needs of rural communities. This project is designed to better understand this initiative and its impact on rural health.
    Research center: Southwest Rural Health Research Center
    Topics: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Health disparities and health equity, Healthcare financing, Public health
  • Assessing Geographic Variability in Key Indicators of Water Quality and Air Quality: A Comparison of Urban vs. Rural Communities
    The purpose of this project is to compare air and water quality indicators across U.S. Census tracts specifically focusing on rural vs. urban differences.
    Research center: Rural and Minority Health Research Center
    Topics: Environmental and agricultural health, Health disparities and health equity, Public health, Social determinants of health
  • Following the Money: Do Block Grant Resources Reach Rural Communities?
    This project will apply a mixed methods design to describe the distribution of block grant resources from federal agencies through states to the local level in rural and non-rural communities in the United States. Findings could guide federal agencies and policy makers to develop strategies to more effectively target block grant resources to ensure that the needs of vulnerable rural populations are addressed.
    Research center: Rural Health Equity Research Center
    Topics: Health services, Healthcare financing, Public health, Rural statistics and demographics
  • Out-of-Pocket Spending Among Privately Insured Rural and Urban Residents
    Out-of-pocket spending for healthcare services has been on the rise as deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements among the privately insured increase. This study compares rural and urban out-of-pocket healthcare spending to identify whether rural residents have been disproportionately affected by this trend.
    Research center: Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Topics: Healthcare access, Healthcare financing, Private health insurance, Public health, Uninsured and underinsured
  • Rural Health Access: Affordability and Barriers to Care
    Rural-urban comparisons of healthcare access and affordability predate many policy reform efforts aimed at increasing access and decreasing costs—ongoing concerns of rural families. This study will use national health survey data to examine rural-urban differences in access to medical care, access to insurance, and affordability of care.
    Research center: Maine Rural Health Research Center
    Topics: Health disparities and health equity, Health reform, Health services, Healthcare access, Healthcare financing, Private health insurance, Public health, Social determinants of health
  • Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) penetration in rural vs. urban healthcare settings in the U.S.
    This study will include an analysis of 2018/2019 Medicare, Medicaid and Commercial claims to compare the penetration of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) and its different components in rural compared to urban healthcare settings. Within the overarching analysis, the study team will examine the type of interventions conducted within the SBIRT framework stratified by provider type, healthcare setting, and rural and urban provider ZIP codes. Findings will be analyzed within the context of county-level substance use rates, historical enactment of state SBIRT billing codes, overdoses, and alcohol poisoning-based hospital admissions contrasting trends in SBIRT administration with a proxy for community need.
    Research center: Rural Health Equity Research Center
    Topics: Chronic diseases and conditions, Health promotion and disease prevention, Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare, Mental and behavioral health, Private health insurance, Public health, Substance use and treatment