November 14, 2017
View the Rural Health Information Hub updates.
November 9, 2017
The Latest on Rural Health from the CDC. In the latest edition of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Rural Health Series, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined differences in occupational exposure to vapor-gas, dust, and fumes between a cohort of rural and urban adults in Iowa. While previous studies have focused exclusively on agricultural workers, this study assessed airborne occupational exposures in other types of jobs in rural settings as well. COPD is one of the leading causes of death, and the American Thoracic Society estimates that 15% of COPD cases can be attributed to occupational exposures. The findings of this report, which show that rural workers – including those who have never farmed – are more likely than urban workers to have high occupational exposures, allow for further exploration of interventions needed to reduce respiratory conditions related to work.
New Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 62% of rural counties do not have a Diabetes Self-Management Education program. For 2018, the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule is expanding the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP), an evidence-based lifestyle change curriculum shown to prevent type 2 diabetes among beneficiaries with prediabetes. Organizations in health care and community settings can implement the CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program and, after enrolling as a MDPP supplier, may receive Medicare reimbursement for their services beginning April 1, 2018. The National Institutes of Health explains the importance of screening for prediabetes and provides resources and referrals to support patients in this effort.
Help NIH Understand Rural Pregnancy. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) PregSource research project aims to improve national maternity care by getting first-hand accounts of the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and early parenthood. NIH plans to identify specific challenges facing subgroups of women, such as women with disabilities or those living in rural areas. Women have no hospital obstetric services in as many as 45% of rural counties, and recent research shows the losses continue. More information may help researchers and policymakers better address this access problem. Rural health care providers may also consider implementing model programs to improve their prenatal and obstetric care. Providers and researchers may also be interested in the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau challenge competition offering $375,000 in prizes to innovators who develop low-cost technologies to improve prenatal care in remote and medically underserved areas.
NIH Health Disparities Research Centers. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced five-year funding for 12 centers of excellence focused on research, training, and community engagement to reduce health disparities. Each of these specialized centers will emphasize at least one of several populations facing social disadvantages, including marginalized racial and ethnic groups, people from less privileged socioeconomic situations, and residents of underserved rural communities. The two centers focusing on rural populations are the Arkansas Center for Health Disparities at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, focused on chronic disease risk factors, and the new Transdisciplinary Research, Equity, and Engagement Center for Advancing Behavioral Health at the University of New Mexico, focused on behavioral health.