The ETSU/NORC Rural Health Equity Research Center’s mission is to develop strategies and recommendations for policy makers, rural healthcare providers and rural communities to mitigate the individual and community-level impacts of substance use disorder (SUD), improve access to healthcare and social services, and ultimately, to ensure health equity for rural populations.
Research staff work to create policy solutions that are responsive to challenges rural communities face in addressing SUD and rural health care and social service issues, including workforce shortages, lack of transportation, long wait times for appointments, payment and reimbursement challenges, social service availability, limited specialty services, and limited rural-focused research to understand rural population health needs. Underpinning all of the center’s work is the recognition of strengths and assets within rural communities, and strategies focused on leveraging community strengths to address rural health challenges. The ETSU/NORC Rural Health Equity Research Center builds on a history of successful collaboration between the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Addiction Science Center, ETSU’s Center for Rural Health Research, and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. This partnership bridges NORC’s long history of rural health research and evaluation and ETSU’s commitment to honor its rural heritage.