An Analysis of Disparities in Health Status and Access to Health Care in the Appalachian Region

Author(s): Joel A. Halverson
Author Organization(s): Office of Social Environment and Health Research (OSEAHR)/Prevention Research Center

Significant improvements in the overall health of the population in the United States have been realized over the last four decades. In general, improvements in health may be attributable to a combined effect of improved living standards, advancements in medical treatment, improved access to medical care and resources, and increased awareness about health risks in the general population. However improvements in health outcomes have not been realized by all segments of the population and have resulted in significant disparities along a number of dimensions including gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic location.

This study was commissioned by the Appalachian Regional Commission in order to compile standardized, baseline information needed to assess health disparities in the Appalachian Region, to investigate causes of regional and local disparities, and to aid in developing targeted interventions aimed at reducing disparities and improve the overall health of the Region.