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Report Finds Pandemic Worsened Rural Health Disparities

The pandemic has worsened existing challenges in rural areas.

A new report from the SIU Medicine School of Population Science, the SIU Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and several other partners examines the ways the pandemic has impacted rural areas.

Sameer Vohra, founding chair of the population science department, said one of the major recurring themes was a lack of broadband access, which increases a sense of isolation when things move to virtual platforms. It also makes it more difficult for people to work, attend school, and use telehealth during a pandemic.

“That was a problem with both the speed of internet but also that some of our population, especially the aging, didn’t have the requisite skills to sort of use those different kind of learning tools to their maximal benefit,” Vohra said.

The School of Medicine will be hosting a series of town halls to discuss different issues raised in the report. Anyone interested can register on the school’s website.

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