Addressing Geographic Disparities in Mental Health Research Participation: A process improvement project

Author: ORCID icon
Shora, Lorie, Nursing Practice - School of Nursing, University of Virginia
Friberg, Elizabeth, School of Nursing, University of Virginia

Background: Large geographic health disparities have been well-documented within many countries, including the United States. Approximately 60 million Americans, about 20% of the total U.S. population, live in rural areas. Rural residents of the U.S. may be less likely to participate in health research due to multiple barriers. This process improvement project evaluated the urbanity and rurality of potential research participants and research participants with the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland over a 5-year period.

Methods: Potential participant and participant zip codes were converted to Rural Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes (1-3 urban, 4-10 rural). These results were compared with U.S. population data.

Results: This analysis included 2836 potential research participants and 184 research participants. The urban residence rate for potential ETPB research participants was 90.5% and the rural residence rate was 8.6%. ETPB research participants had an urban residence rate of 92.3% and a rural residence rate of 7%. The U.S. urban residence rate is 80% and the rural rate is 19.3%. These findings suggest the need for further study of the research recruitment barriers and means to overcome such barriers that exist in rural areas of the U.S.

DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
research recruitment, geographic disparities, rural, rurality
Sponsoring Agency:
National Institute of Mental Health
Issued Date: