Collaboration Details

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Title of Collaborative Activity:

Health Outcomes Among Children & Families Living in Rural Communities

Description of Collaborative Activity:

This trans-agency conference brought together a panel of community members and experts from NIH Institutes and Centers, federal agencies, and organizations to identify gaps in research that address emerging differences between health outcomes for children and families living in rural communities compared to those in urban areas. Access to care and services remains a critical issue for improving the health of individuals who live in rural and underserved areas. A growing body of evidence supports the concept that a rural place of residence is associated with poor health outcomes and risky health behaviors. Further, multiple reports (e.g., Rural Healthy People 2010) have documented several unmet health needs of children living in rural communities. These children are reportedly less physically active and have higher rates of tobacco use, overweight/obesity, and dental caries than their urban counterparts. Further, differences in health behavior and outcomes can be exacerbated by poverty and low educational attainment within families living in rural areas. Although the NICHD currently supports research focused on overweight/obesity outcomes within this population, there is a need for collaborative research to fully understand the impact of all these health indicators on the long-term health of children living in rural areas. Additional research is also needed to further understand the barriers and challenges associated with the use of technological advances (e.g., telemedicine, telepsychiatry) to improve the quality-of-life of those living in rural areas. The initiative also addresses the Federal Interagency Health Equity Team (FIHET) goal of strengthening and broadening leadership for addressing health disparities at all levels by providing a model for the collaboration of federal agencies around common goals.

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