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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

East Tennessee: Publishes on Poverty and Health

Dr. Kate Beatty, Interim Director of Research for the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health’s Center for Rural Health Research, has authored an article in the Southern Medical Journal.  The article, “Poverty and Health in Tennessee,” examines the effects of poverty on health among the 95 counties of Tennessee.

Dr. Beatty is also an assistant professor in the College’s Department of Health Services Management and Policy. Dr. Randy Wykoff, Dean, and Ms. Olivia Egen, student in the Doctor of Public Health program, are co-authors along with Dr. John Dreyzehner, former Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health.

Differences in county-level health outcomes vary dramatically by income level, even when those counties are located within the same state.  At a time in U.S. history when life expectancy is declining for the first time in decades and the gap between the rich and poor is widening, a better understanding of the relationship between poverty and health is essential to addressing the health challenges faced by the people of Tennessee.

The researchers ranked all of the counties of Tennessee by 5-year median household income, from the wealthiest to the poorest. The counties were divided into quintiles, from wealthiest to poorest, to reflect the general impact of wealth on health.

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