HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Rural and Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Veteran Health Disparities: A Population-Based Study

Article

The health service ecology varies considerably across urban-rural divides for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) veterans, which may place rural AIAN veterans at high risk for poor health outcomes. Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2011 and 2012 data for its detailed race information, we employed adjusted multinomial logistical regression analyses to estimate differences in health outcomes among rural AIAN veterans (n=1,500) and urban AIAN veterans (n=1,567).

Abstract

We used rural White (n=32,316) and urban White (n=59,849) veteran samples as comparators. No statistically significant differences between urban and rural AIAN veterans’ health outcomes were found. Urban AIAN veterans were 72% more likely to report financial barriers to care compared to urban White veterans (P=.002); no other healthcare access differences were found. Compared to their White veteran counterparts, both urban and rural AIAN veterans were significantly more likely to report poorer physical and mental health across an array of outcomes. Overall, rural and urban AIAN veterans’ health outcomes were similar, but both groups suffered compromised health compared to that of both rural and urban White veterans. The findings identified key areas for improving and innovating care for both rural and urban AIAN veterans.

Full Reference

Kaufman, C. E., Asdigian, N. L., Running Bear, U., Beals, J., Manson, S. M., Dailey, N., Bair, B., & Shore, J. H. (2020). Rural and Urban American Indian and Alaska Native Veteran Health Disparities: a Population-Based Study. Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities, 7(6), 1071–1078. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-020-00730-w