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Assessing community strengths and needs within rural municipalities in Allegheny County, PA

Ericson, Rhianna Gillian (2023) Assessing community strengths and needs within rural municipalities in Allegheny County, PA. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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While the United States is home to some of the world’s most famous cities, over 46 million people, or 1 in 5 people, live in a rural community in the United States. Rural residents often face more barriers to receiving quality and specialized healthcare due to a lack of rurally-located facilities and increased transportation burden, as compared to residents living in more urbanized areas. An estimated 12.99% of Allegheny County, PA residents live in a rural designated municipality. The overall goal of this study was to identify strengths and needs within rural communities in Allegheny County to elucidate ways in which the Allegheny County Health Department can support communities’ health access, equity, and social determinants of health. To achieve this, we performed community strength and risk assessments of a representative sample of 17 of the 39 rural municipalities in Allegheny County, PA, including conducting windshield tours of each community for qualitative data collection and utilizing multiple open-source data resources for quantitative data collection. We utilized Microsoft Excel to conduct descriptive statistical analyses, comparing strength and risk assessment data between rural municipalities, as well as against Allegheny County, Pennsylvania state, and United States data, in order to contextualize municipality findings and to elucidate the public health significance of the trends that emerge from these strength and risk assessments. Each rural community in this study proved to have unique cultures, lifestyles, and community strengths, but also faces distinct challenges to community health and well-being. These findings will act as a roadmap for these communities and the Allegheny County Health Department to create initiatives tailored to rural communities in the county.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ericson, Rhianna Gillianrge10@pitt.edurge100000-0001-6208-8907
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis advisorReadal, Melaniemelanie.readal@alleghenycounty.usUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberShaffer, John R.john.r.shaffer@pitt.edujrs51UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberSokol, Jamie A.jsokol@pitt.edujsokolUNSPECIFIED
Date: 4 January 2023
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 8 December 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 79
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Human Genetics
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: social determinants of health, Allegheny County Health Department, rural health
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 16:15
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2023 16:15


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