Jan. 18, 2007
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Forrest hopes grant will
help others see differences in health care
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – A Slippery Rock
University faculty member and two undergraduates will use a $49,896
grant from the state’s Center for Rural Pennsylvania to study
differences in healthcare accessibility and health behaviors in
rural and urban communities.
Kimberly Forrest, associate professor health and
safety, and community health majors Kelly Bonus of Bethel Park and
Melissa Woodall of Slippery Rock, hope their findings result in
policy changes that address filling healthcare gaps, said Forrest,
who applied for the grant.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania
has one of the nation’s largest rural populations – a
population that from 1990 to 2000 grew faster than the urban
The team will analyze healthcare data compiled by
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor
Surveillance System program, a state-based survey used to monitor
health behaviors associated with leading causes of health problems
“These data show that populations in rural
areas have less access to hospitals, less access to physicians and
clinics, but little is known about the frequency of health
conditions, chronic disease risk, and utilization of preventive
services in rural areas,” Forrest said.
Forrest said the group would examine differences
in the prevalence of obesity, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular
disease, hypertension, as well chronic disease or injury risk
factors such as smoking, alcohol use, physical inactivity and
They will also compare the utilization rate of
preventative services such as immunization, breast cancer and
cholesterol screenings in rural and urban areas.
students will conduct a literature review, manage datasets, write a
report and possibly present their findings at a conference, Forrest
and Melissa will be involved in every stage of this project, giving
them an opportunity to apply classroom learning to real-world
research,” she said.
Harrisburg-based Center for Rural Pennsylvania is a legislative
agency for rural policy within the state General Assembly. The
center works to sustain rural communities by awarding grants,
publishing data and sponsoring forums on rural issues.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s
premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University
provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that
intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced
educational and learning opportunities that make a positive
difference in their lives.
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