Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

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.


Strategies for optimizing COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in rural places

December 28, 2020 – Families

Rural health care experts describe the challenges of distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to rural residents and some strategies to optimize the process. Key challenges include the temperature requirements for storing and shipping vaccines, which many rural hospitals are unable meet. Vaccines are also often sent in large batches—975 doses in the case of the Pfizer vaccine—which are difficult for small institutions to manage and distribute quickly. The Moderna vaccine offers a more suitable minimum order of 100 doses. Authors suggest several ways to support rural hospitals, including providing smaller batch options, making sure rural counties have specific communication plans to provide information to residents, involving rural nonprofit health organizations in information dissemination, and allowing community pharmacies to also offer the vaccine (particularly important given rural hospital closures). #covid-19 #rural

Rural weekly COVID-19 death rates continue to set records

December 14, 2020 – Families

The Daily Yonder continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties throughout the United States. The week of December 6–12 brought both a record-breaking number of new cases (220,554) and deaths (3,818) in rural counties. The weekly death rate in rural areas (8.3 per 100,000) continues to be much higher—almost double—that of urban areas (4.5 per 100,000). On a more positive note, the rate of growth in new COVID-19 cases was more modest than previous weeks, hopefully a sign that cases will start to level off. #covid-19 #rural

COVID-19 patients may develop anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder

November 19, 2020 – Families

The Daily Yonder reports on new research published in the Lancet that investigated mental health outcomes of COVID-19. While the uncertain atmosphere created by the pandemic has likely increased the risk of mental health problems generally, the authors also found that one in five COVID-19 patients develop mental health issues within 90 days of their recovery. These mental health issues include depression, anxiety, insomnia, as well as, notably, post-traumatic stress disorder. The mental health implications of the pandemic are even more troubling for rural areas where access to mental health care and providers is often quite limited. #covid-19 #mentalhealth #rural

Recommendations to strengthen equity in vaccine delivery

November 19, 2020 – Families

A newly available analysis in Health Affairs identifies specific actions that federal policy should consider when attempting to ensure equity in vaccine dissemination and uptake. The authors identify especially low existing vaccine uptake rates among rural and Latinx/Hispanic populations. And in a survey on vaccination willingness, Black survey respondents reported an especially low willingness to receive a COVID vaccine when ready (data collected before vaccines were approved and made available). The authors suggest that diverse clinical trials, transparent trial and uptake data, eliminating out-of-pocket costs, and engaging state-level working groups to identify good communication strategies for underserved groups are all important efforts to achieving a more equitable vaccination infrastructure. #covid-19 #racialequity

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in rural areas continue to break records

November 17, 2020 – Families

As the pandemic accelerates, rural areas are seeing rapid growth in new cases. For the eighth week in a row, the number of weekly new COVID-19 cases in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties has broken the previous record. For the most recent week, November 8-14, there were 195,795 new cases in rural counties. The Daily Yonder now estimates that 86 percent of rural counties are in the red zone (having a weekly infection rate of 100+ new cases per 100,000 population). This most recent week also reported a record number of deaths in rural counties at 2,026 deaths. #covid-19 #rural

Research on seniors in rural areas finds isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity

November 16, 2020 – Seniors

New research from Indiana University finds that isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity among older adults in rural areas. Data were collected via public convenings and a survey of 5,000 households in lower income census tracts in four rural counties of Indiana. Results showed that seniors living alone felt less motivated to prepare balanced meals and found less enjoyment in eating. Seniors who lived and ate with family members or ate in congregate settings reported higher enjoyment of meals, a diffused (and therefore decreased) burden of food acquisition, and increased motivation to eat better. These results are especially salient, given additional findings that the share of seniors feeling isolated has risen steeply, from 7 percent pre-pandemic to 61 percent at present. Findings also echo many previous studies in noting that SNAP and other nutrition programs that require paperwork or travel present barriers to participation. Researchers suggest that a ride-share network could be a cost-effective way to enhance seniors’ access to food sources and programs, although safe implementation in times of social distancing is complicated. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural

Local library provides support and social connection to veterans

November 4, 2020 – Families

In the rural town of Randle, Washington, the Mountain View Timberland Regional Library has worked throughout the pandemic to support veterans. Before the pandemic, the library had started a teleservices program for veterans called the Veteran Connection Café, which provided professional assistance with benefits like healthcare and pensions. Although that program could not continue once the pandemic began, the library has been offering contactless services over the phone. Veterans can also borrow Chromebooks and use the library WiFi in the parking lot, since the building is closed. #covid-19 #rural

Urgent Action Needed to Address Children’s Unmet Health Care Needs During the Pandemic

October 22, 2020 – General

It has become increasingly clear that the pandemic has had dramatic spillover effects on receipt of health care services unrelated to the coronavirus. In this brief from the Urban Institute, we review the evidence on children’s unmet health care needs during the pandemic and identify promising strategies to address these gaps, as well as barriers to widespread implementation of these strategies. We find large declines in childhood vaccinations in 2020 compared with prior years and serious concerns about children’s access to specialized therapies and mental health services. Children of color, children with special health care needs, children in families with low incomes or members with limited English proficiency, and children in rural areas face higher risks of unmet health care needs. We also find that health care providers have implemented several strategies to encourage receipt of needed care during the pandemic, including telehealth options, mobile clinics, pharmacist-administered vaccines, and expanded school-based services. But limitations in funding, access to internet or internet-enabled devices, and interpretation and translation services can prevent widespread and successful adoption of these strategies.Thus, more coordinated, publicly funded, and focused efforts to reduce children’s unmet needs are urgently needed. State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and the private managed-care plans that cover many children in these programs, have both policy tools and financial resources that could help address the declines in preventive care receipt among their child enrollees. Targeted federal funding to underresourced providers and communities and more concerted efforts to incorporate children’s health needs into policies for both in-person and virtual education would also be beneficial. Without these efforts to address children’s needs and reduce long-standing inequities, racial and socioeconomic disparities in children’s health and health care access will likely widen as the pandemic continues. #racialequity #covid-19

Can new forms of parent engagement be an education game changer post-COVID-19?

October 21, 2020 – General

Brookings reports while there are many schools and organizations around the globe that have long practiced and advocated for teaching and learning approaches that employ innovative pedagogies and put student agency at the center, they have until now remained the exception rather than the norm. The question is: will the COVID-19 pandemic help change that? In particular, will parents’ recent insight into their children’s learning be a new driver for change? Many parents from rural communities in Botswana and India to urban centers in the United States and the United Kingdom have seen up close—and likely for the first time—inside the black box of classroom activities. Will parents’ unprecedented exposure to children’s education shape their beliefs about what a good education looks like over the long term? #covid-19 #education

Rural daily rate of new COVID-19 cases surpasses all-time metropolitan high

October 15, 2020 – Families

Metropolitan (urban) counties set a record at the end of July, with the highest daily rate of new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people hitting 21.3. Heading into August, metropolitan new infection rates decreased as rural rates increased. By the end of August, rural counties were consistently adding new infections at a faster rate than their metropolitan counterparts. This trend continued into September, bringing a new grim milestone in mid-October: the new infection rate of rural counties has now surpassed the metropolitan peak. As of October 15, the rural daily rate of new infections was a record-breaking 24.0 and continues to trend upward. #covid-19 #rural

Solar-powered mobile hotspots bring internet to rural Virginia for remote learning

October 15, 2020 – Older Youth

Rural stakeholders continue creative provision of internet hotspots to support remote learning into the new school year. The Daily Yonder reports that school officials in rural Louisa County in Virginia initially used hotspots on school buses but struggled to secure a consistent power source. To address this, the school district’s technology director proposed mobile solar-powered hotspots. These “Wireless on Wheels” units cost around $3,000 apiece to create and are designed to continue running even on cloudy days. #covid-19 #rural #education

Mississippi Delta food relief providers share lessons learned in the pandemic

October 1, 2020 – Families

A new publication posted through the Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi describes findings from 33 phone interviews of food pantry and charitable food organization representatives in the Mississippi Delta region. The authors suggest that barriers to providing adequate food assistance are important, but that those barriers are not specific to food providers. Challenges include limited quantities of PPE, widespread job and income loss in the community, lack of adequate mental health support in the community, concern about sustainable operations after federal relief programs end, loss of supports usually provided through schools, and general challenges of rural infrastructure. The providers identified the importance of building on existing networks to increase “visibility and effectiveness” of social service agencies, expanding internet access by siting computers with Wi-Fi for (safe) public use, and establishing alternate food sourcing methods, including through direct-from-farm and online models to reduce transportation barriers for distribution and consumer purchase. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #mentalhealth #rural