Measuring Accessibility to Dental Care in Pennsylvania

Authors: Moira Conway*, Kutztown University, Heather Willever, Kutztown University, Leo Conway*,
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Transportation Geography
Keywords: GIS, dental care, public health, Pennsylvania
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Truman, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Access to dental care is an essential public health need, as oral health can impact a variety of physical conditions. However, accessibility to dental care varies greatly depending on built environment factors and transportation accessibility. This project seeks to spatially analyze the accessibility of dental care to residents in urban, suburban, and rural areas, using the state of Pennsylvania as a case study. Using selected counties in each of the three geographies, this project assesses socioeconomic characteristics of the populations and evaluates measures of accessibility to dental offices, including transportation mode/service availability, distance, time and cost necessary to travel to dental offices. By examining the differences in access between geographic locations of varying densities, specific issues preventing the availability of dental care can be identified, and specific policy recommendations can be developed to improve dental care access. While there has been limited research spatially examining access to dental care, this project builds on a growing body of literature using GIS methods to explore public health issues.

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