WV HEALTHLINK: Mapping Primary Health Care Disparities in the Mountain State

Authors: Insu Hong*, West Virginia University, Jamison Conley, West Virginia University , Bradley Wilson, West Virginia University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Applied Geography, Rural Geography
Keywords: primary healthcare, spatial disparity, accessibility, web mapping, rural
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Uneven geographic access to primary health care in West Virginia is a contributing factor to health disparities in the Mountain State. West Virginia’s unique topography, settlement patterns, as well as economic and demographic transition over the past two decades have resulted in a complicated patchwork of primary health care infrastructure and services for rural residents. As numerous scholars in geography, anthropology, and public health argue, the growing spatial disparities in access in rural areas have resulted in the emergence of “health care deserts” where basic medical care is out of reach for residents within a short distance from their home. To ensure an equitable health future for West Virginia (WV) residents our health care institutions and frontline medical professionals will need effective tools to understand and confront the spatial, social and institutional determinants that shape resident access to primary health care.
To address this situation, a research team at West Virginia University formed, and we have developed a sound method for determining accessibility on both spatial and socio-economic grounds, built a comprehensive inventory of primary healthcare sites in the state of West Virginia, and completed an analysis of spatial and socio-economic accessibility that we have converted into a web map application for use by the Rural Health Initiative.

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