Report Data Shows Health Disparities Are Worse in North Carolina’s Rural Communities
NC Department of Administration’s Secretary Machelle Sanders will present the 2019 Status of Women in North Carolina: Health and Wellness Report on the main campus of Vance-Granville Community College on Thursday, July 18, 2019, 11am. This report is the second of four to be released by the NC Department of Administration’s Council for Women & Youth Involvement in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research to bring awareness to key issues affecting the lives of women in North Carolina.
The Status of Women in North Carolina: Health and Wellness Report provides detailed data analysis on North Carolina women and health issues relating to chronic disease, physical and sexual health, access to health care and sexual assault. Secretary Sanders will join Vance-Granville students, staff as well as area hospital affiliates to offer insight and a platform to discuss the current health disparities among women in North Carolina, particularly in rural communities.
Data from the report shows that, while progress has been made in North Carolina since the inaugural release of the 2013 Status of Women in North Carolina report, there is still work to be done.
“We’re seeing improvements in women’s health but not for everyone. Many women face health challenges and barriers to health care, especially in our rural counties,” said Secretary Machelle Sanders. “Improving the health of women strengthens families, communities and our entire economy, and this report underscores the need to close the health insurance coverage gap.”
Key findings from the report include:
- North Carolina ranks 11th highest in infant mortality and 9th highest in stroke mortality among women – and the problem is even worse in rural counties.
- North Carolina’s mortality rates for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and breast cancer, among other diseases, have decreased since the 2013 report.
- In North Carolina, more than one-third of women (35 percent) have experienced at least one type of intimate partner violence (IPV) and more than 35 percent of North Carolina women report having experienced some form of aggression or control by an intimate partner.
- Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, North Carolina ranks in the middle or bottom on indicators of health and wellness. North Carolina’s best ranking is for heart disease mortality (27th out of 51) and its worst is for AIDS diagnoses (44th).
- There are wide disparities in North Carolina women’s disease mortality rates by race and ethnicity. The heart disease rate among Black women in North Carolina is more than three times higher than the rate of Hispanic women, the racial and ethnic group with the lowest rate. Black women also have a rate of breast cancer mortality that is more than three times higher than the rate for Hispanic women.
Data from the report points out the need to increase access to health insurance and health care by expanding Medicaid, as championed by Governor Roy Cooper. More than 70 percent of North Carolina’s counties are rural, and 57 percent of the state’s workforce is comprised of women. Closing the health insurance coverage gap would bring $4 billion into the state’s economy, create thousands of jobs and expand access to health care for 500,000 people. This will bring tens of thousands of new jobs, help rural hospitals stay open, and ensure that North Carolinians are healthier.
“Women’s health issues impact all of us, no matter our gender, region or race. This report is an important resource for decision makers, grantmakers and advocates and can help bring needed attention and action to make North Carolina the best place for women and families,” said NC Council for Women & Youth Involvement Director Mary Williams-Stover.
Vance-Granville Community College is one of the first of many regional visits to be conducted across the state this year to discuss report findings and hear local community input on the status of women in our state.
In 2018, the NC Council for Women & Youth Involvement released the Status of Women in NC report on Earnings & Employment. Future reports over the next two years will focus on poverty and opportunity, and political participation. More information is available at ncadmin.nc.gov/statusofwomennc2019.
Source: NC Department of Administration