Resource Library

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The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.

 

COVID-19: Racial and Geographic Disparities in Maine

February 14, 2022 – General – COVID-19, JTGF Funded, Racial Equity, Rural

Prepared for the John T. Gorman Foundation by the Carsey School of Public Policy in the fall of 2021, this analysis breaks down the economic, health, and social impacts of COVID-19 for different populations and regions across Maine, and highlights possible contributing factors between disparities.

Creative blends of funding bring supportive and affordable housing to rural markets

November 29, 2021 – Families, SeniorsCOVID-19, Housing, Rural

As the pandemic continues to put pressure on the housing market and limit available shelter space, some rural communities are seeing homelessness become more visible. Community leaders note the “hidden” nature of rural homelessness, often manifesting in households “doubling up,” and say the perennial rural challenges of sparse funding and low population density complicate relief efforts. An overview from Affordable Housing Finance Magazine describes developer efforts in California, Maryland, and Florida to close those housing gaps by bringing affordable and supportive housing to rural spaces.

Economic Research Service finds rural America losing population

November 18, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Racial Equity, Rural

The Economic Research Service has released its Rural America at a Glance report for 2021, finding that the rural population shrank by 0.6 percent between 2010 and 2020. The authors find that the decline has been driven by losses in rural counties designated as persistently poor, where the population has dropped by 5.7 percent. In the meantime, urban populations grew by 8.8 percent, and even persistently poor urban places, by 5.8 percent. Analysis of pandemic-era measures show that rural places have experienced more infections per 100,000 residents than urban places, and rural vaccination rates trail urban rates by more than 10 percentage points. While job loss has recovered in both types of places, rural residents in persistently poor places are disadvantaged by their lower broadband connectivity rates. Finally, the paper shows that persistently poor rural counties are twice as racially diverse as their nonpoor rural counterparts. Between population loss, low broadband connectivity, and disproportionately pandemic impacts, the report’s findings suggest that rural Black, Latinx, and American Indian residents face a nexus of economic challenges.

COVID-era remote patient monitoring supports at-home care for rural residents

July 14, 2021 – SeniorsCOVID-19, Health, Mental Health, Rural

In response to the pandemic, a Midwestern health system created a remote patient monitoring program that allows health care providers to monitor and advise patients without requiring an emergency room visit. The program includes vital-sign-monitoring equipment and a tablet equipped with video communication software, which only requires a cell signal and not internet access. Although the program was created to reduce hospital crowding and in-person exposures in the pandemic, providers find that not only do patients appreciate home-based care, providers are also able to more quickly identify changes in patient status given the ongoing monitoring. The additional benefit of easy check-ins also eases anxiety and loneliness among older adults living alone. #covid-19 #rural #mentalhealth #health

Early evidence suggests four-day school weeks don’t meet all their aims

July 12, 2021 – Young Children, Older YouthCOVID-19, Education, Rural

Four-day school weeks have become increasingly common in rural places, with 662 districts in 24 states using this model pre-pandemic. To ease remote learning implementation and reduce costs, the COVID-19 pandemic increased adoption of this model both in and out of rural areas, with the aim of reducing budgetary issues, attracting teachers, and improving student attendance. While there is some evidence that teachers view the model as a benefit, there are minimal budgetary savings or attendance improvements. Little evidence exists on the implications for student achievement, but early data from Oklahoma and Oregon suggests outcomes depends on how learning time is structured. One major downside to a four-day school week is in reduced access to school-based services, like childcare, physical activity, and school-meal programs that students and families rely on during the typical work-week. #covid-19 #education #rural

Evidence-based program strengthens multiple dimensions of senior wellbeing

July 8, 2021 – SeniorsHealth, Rural

The Rural Health Information Hub presents a summary of the StrongPeople™ programs, which have been under evaluation since 1994. The affiliated programs equip community-based health educators to lead classes on exercise, dietary skills, and civic activity to expand options for healthy living activities among older adults, particularly in rural places. Each element of the program has a substantial evidence base, with measurable improvements in physical activity, weight, strength, physical function, pain, depression, and other indicators among older adult participants. Companionship among group members is cited as a particularly favored element among participants. Interested community leaders can purchase training materials, then offer the programming to community members at typically low costs. #health #rural

COVID further strains rural health safety net amid growing rural health and resource risks

July 7, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Health, Racial Equity, Rural

A healthcare analytics firm, the Chartis Group, has released a paper reporting on its ongoing data collection on rural health conditions and health care resources in light of the pandemic. The work identifies a pre-existing fragility in rural health care resources, with 138 rural hospital closures in the past decade, and 453 more vulnerable to closure. The authors note that rural places at risk of prolonged pandemic effects and those at risk of high hospital closures share key characteristics, including high rates of uninsurance and greater shares of residents with chronic illness. #covid-19 #rural #racialequity #health

“Remote work won’t save the heartland”

June 24, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Rural, Workforce

Enabled by more available remote work options, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred both employees and employers to flee cities in favor of more rural locations. Yet a new post from Brookings finds that rather than redistributing economic opportunity evenly nationwide, most companies are simply relocating to secondary tech hub cities like Austin, Denver, and Nashville, rather than to rural communities of the heartland. The post suggests that for rural places to meaningfully benefit from the “new” work landscape, the focus should be on building skilled and diverse workforces and work opportunities in authentic and expanding sectors, supported by robust policy and infrastructure investments that can support workers and their families. #covid-19 #workforce #rural

Covid infections and deaths drop to lowest rates in a year

June 8, 2021 – SeniorsCOVID-19, Rural, Vaccination

New COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining in rural counties, and in all Maine counties except Somerset, cases are under 100 per 100,000 residents – the lowest they have been since the pandemic started. These numbers continue to decline with vaccination uptake and more people spending time outside, where the virus is less likely to infect others. While rural COVID-19-related death rates are declining, they still remain disproportionately higher than in urban counties. This is in part due to rural places’ greater shares of older adults and people with chronic illnesses, along with lower vaccination rates in rural counties. #covid-19 #vaccinations #rural

N.H. announces plan to combat pandemic-era learning losses, prioritizes broadband access in rural areas

June 8, 2021 – Young ChildrenCOVID-19, Education, Rural

The New Hampshire Department of Education received $350 million from the American Rescue Plan to be allocated towards local schools and education needs. The NH DOE distributed 90 percent of these funds to school districts based on population size and poverty levels. The state has discretionary power over the remaining 10 percent ($35 million). The NH DOE’s plan for these discretionary funds is to help students get back on track after any learning losses from this past year. #covid-19 #education #rural

Rural Health Information Hub collects ideas for bringing telehealth to rural areas

April 28, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Rural

The Rural Monitor reports on various strategies to enhance telehealth access in rural places with limited broadband.#covid-19 #rural #health

Rural COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining, although rural vaccination rates lag urban rates

April 27, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Rural

For the week of April 18-24, rural new COVID-19 infection rates declined by almost 15 percent in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties. Similarly, the number of weekly rural deaths also fell by over 10 percent, reaching the lowest point since mid-July 2020. The weekly rate of new infections in rural areas was 97 per 100,000 residents, lower than the urban new infection rate of 127 per 100,000 residents. States with clusters of “red-zone” counties with high numbers of new infections include Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, southern New York, and New Hampshire. #covid-19 #rural