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Supporting Healthy Communities

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Many rural, LGBT, and older adult communities have inadequate resources to address their unique health needs. It’s essential that these communities leverage their limited resources in the most effective way.

Alana Knudson, Program Area Director,
Rural Health Co-Director, Walsh Center
for Rural Health Analysis

Rural Communities
NORC researchers are at the center of national efforts to build healthier rural communities. We recently released A Guide for Rural Health Care Collaboration and Coordination, which discusses how safety net providers—including health centers, rural health clinics, critical access hospitals, and public health departments—can work together instead of competing with one another and duplicating services.

LGBT Communities
In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health, with support from the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, selected NORC to develop an innovative, social media-based recruitment and data collection project. Called the Survey of Today’s Adolescent Relationships and Transitions (START), the study was designed to improve HIV prevention and early intervention programs.

We recruited gay, bisexual, and questioning males age 13-18 and transgender youth age 13- 24 with Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Concurrent with the START survey, our partners at The Fenway Institute, who work to make life healthier for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons and people living with HIV/AIDS, conducted focus groups with racially and sexually diverse minority youth, as well as professional adults who work with them. We developed two webinars that address the unique needs of sexual and gender minority youth, as well as a self-assessment tool that measures a school’s level of LGBT inclusivity and provides strategies to increase inclusivity.

As the population ages, U.S. drivers’ dependence on private cars poses safety and transportation problems. To help address this issue, NORC and ITNAmerica, an organization that supports lifelong mobility for seniors, are conducting a three-year study for the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control that explores the potential of rideshare services to improve the mobility of older adults.

We found that seniors across the country have access to almost 1,000 nonprofit and for-profit rideshare services, which they rely on not only for health care appointments but also shopping, working, volunteering, and going to the hairdresser.

We also found that geographic location affects the availability of rideshare services. Urban seniors have more transportation options than their suburban and rural counterparts, and may be more likely to use nonprofit rideshare services where and when they are available.