The health of rural Americans matters for our nation overall. More than one in every seven Americans lives in a rural place, and rural regions play a vital role in the U.S. economy. Rural residents, in general, are disadvantaged by place—facing geographic barriers to services, resources, and opportunities. Within rural areas, low-income people are doubly disadvantaged by place and class, and low-income rural people of color are multiply disadvantaged by place, race, and class.
This report, produced in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco, assists those working to improve health, well-being, and equity in rural America. It is directed not only to those working in public health or healthcare, but also to those working in other fields—such as rural development, community development, housing, and education—that powerfully shape health.
While the challenges to achieving health equity in rural America are formidable, it is heartening that so many promising efforts—such as the examples presented in the full report—are now underway in many regions of the country. These examples reflect important assets of rural communities that provide rich soil in which innovations can be conceived and flourish.
Consensus around the definition of health equity can help bridge divides and foster productive dialogue among diverse stakeholder groups.
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