By Jill Riepenhoff, Daniela Molina, Jamie Grey and Lee Zurik
In nearly every Appalachian and Delta community, residents die on average before their 78th birthday, which is the average life expectancy in the United States. Health care providers are working on innovative ways to combat the unique disparities in the regions.
The Health Resources and Services Administration classifies geographic areas as medically underserved based on them having too few primary care doctors, a high infant mortality rate, high poverty or a high elderly population.
The Mississippi State Department of Health wants to know why people are apprehensive about receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. They have been gathering data through an online survey that has been ongoing for about a month, but they have extended it to get more participation.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials across the United States have had to break through language, cultural and accessibility barriers in order to reach Black, Asian, Hispanic and Native American communities.
As COVID-19 spreads throughout Mississippi, the Black community still continues to see staggering numbers of fatalities. However, the number of vaccinations seems to stay at a relatively low rate of only 15%, according to the Mississippi State Department of Health.
The Mississippi Delta and Appalachia both fare far worse than the national average in health indicators and outcomes. The project will explore why health disparities exist, with a focus on long term and sustainable solutions.