Rural health disparities in allergy, asthma, and immunologic diseases: the current state and future direction for clinical care and research.
Rural health disparities are well-documented and continue to jeopardize the long-term health and wellness for the millions of individuals who live in rural America. The disparities observed between urban and rural residents encompass numerous morbidity and mortality measures for several chronic diseases and have been referred to as the "rural mortality penalty." Although the unmet health needs of rural communities are widely acknowledged, little is known about rural health disparities in allergies, asthma, and immunologic diseases. Furthermore, the intersection between rural health disparities and social determinants of health has not been fully explored. In order to achieve a more complete understanding of the factors that perpetuate rural health disparities, greater research efforts followed by improved practice and policy are needed that account for the complex social context within rural communities rather than a general comparison between urban and rural environments or focusing on biomedical factors. Moreover, research efforts must prioritize community inclusion throughout rural areas through meaningful engagement of stakeholders in both clinical care and research. In this review, we examine the scope of health disparities in the rural United States (U.S.) and the impact of social determinants of health. We then detail the current state of rural health disparities in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology. To close, we offer future considerations to address knowledge gaps and unmet needs for both clinical care and research in addressing rural health disparities.
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