Document Type


Graduation Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health

First Committee Member

Edward S. Peters, DMD, SM, ScD

Second Committee Member

Kathleen Brandert PhD, MPH, CHES

Third Committee Member

David W. Palm PhD

Fourth Committee Member

Macarena Garcia, DrPH, MPS, MIS


Acute care organizations face a significant challenge in effectively implementing health equity programs, particularly in rural areas where guidance is often lacking. Despite abundant literature focusing on health outcomes, there remains a noticeable dearth of published data on implementing health equity initiatives. In response to this gap, I present a comprehensive analysis that utilizes readily available, open-sourced data to address this critical issue.

A thorough assessment of the demographic characteristics of acute care facilities within the catchment regions was conducted based on data from reputable sources such as the US Census Bureau, the American Community Survey, and the County Health Rankings. While specific to a New York health system, this research offers a replicable framework that can be adapted with minimal resources to suit various institutional settings.

This approach emphasizes the importance of utilizing performance improvement models and techniques to initiate and sustainably evaluate health equity and access initiatives. By leveraging ubiquitous data sources and adopting a population-targeted approach, institutions can take proactive steps toward reducing health disparities and promoting equitable healthcare delivery, particularly in underserved rural communities.

This research fills a critical gap in the literature and provides actionable insights for acute care organizations seeking to enhance their commitment to health equity. Through strategic implementation and ongoing evaluation, institutions can be pivotal in advancing equitable healthcare practices and improving outcomes for all individuals within their catchment areas.