The Potential for Intersectoral Collaboration in Addressing Rural Health Needs
Pheley, Paula Jean
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Individual health as a function of community health is influenced by behavior and genetics, built, natural and social environments, healthcare infrastructure, and public and private policy. People living in rural America, and their communities, face disproportionate challenges to health. Rural residents are characterized as older, sicker, and poorer than their urban counterparts. Rural communities struggle with economic instability, inadequate healthcare infrastructure, geographic isolation, and scarcity of resources at individual and community levels. It is assumed that these combined personal and community challenges make it more difficult to address issues of health. Intersectoral collaboration is identified as a tool successfully employed in tackling similarly difficult, multifactorial problems of environment and community planning. This paper explores the potential for intersectoral collaboration on the ability of rural communities to positively impact the health of their residents. Literature identifying the social construct of health, interrelated determinants of health, and theory of collaboration is presented. The current state of collaboration is highlighted through representative examples of existing efforts. Finally, barriers and benefits to the development of rural community collaborations are presented with recommendations for ongoing research in the design of intersectoral collaboration and support to enhance the development and continuance of rural collaborations to improve and maintain health.
- Masters Theses