Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Dale Lamb


Rural healthcare has often lagged when compared to those in suburban areas and inner cities. Rural healthcare has often been less effective, lower in quality, and not as accessible. Access to healthcare has been a key factor in life quality and quantity for all. Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, qualitative and quantitative data was collected and analyzed which included the community health needs assessment (CHNA) data from the rural county (RC) and a double-blind survey distributed to organizational members by the partnering organization, the rural hospital (RH). The data identified that access to healthcare is a critical need for RC. Additionally, my set of research-based recommendations met the needs of both internal members of the organization and the community that they serve. This project sought to address the most critical need identified which was to increase access to adequate healthcare for identified and underserved populations in RC, North Carolina. Then, other identified needs such as maternal healthcare (new and expecting mothers) and transportation were also addressed. RH’s programs and services were assessed with the cooperation and support of the president and project host, PRH. Both barriers and research-based recommendations that were specifically aligned to qualitative and quantitative data supported RH in accomplishing its mission and vision. These recommendations included building strong partnerships with organizations that positively impact the identified community health needs and were a key aspect of providing high-quality and accessible healthcare in rural areas. The partnerships directly impacted the implementation of a mobile health unit (MHU) which has been shown to improve access to healthcare in rural areas. MHU’s were also identified to meet a variety of community health needs including transportation. Additional recommendations were provided to support positive internal change. Lastly, this research not only assisted the RH and the RC but has the potential to positively impact other organizations and communities in implementing new programs or adjusting current services to better meet the needs of their rural communities.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License