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 Forrest hopes grant will help others see differences in health care 



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 population.

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 and death.

“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 insufficient nutrition.

They will also compare the utilization rate of preventative services such as immunization, breast cancer and cholesterol screenings in rural and urban areas.

           The students will conduct a literature review, manage datasets, write a report and possibly present their findings at a conference, Forrest said.

           “Kelly 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.

           The 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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