Imagining the Future of Health and Well-Being of Small Communities
Twenty rural hospitals closed their doors in 2020, marking a record year for rural hospital closures in the United States. In the decade between 2010 and 2020, 138 rural hospitals closed across the country. This damaging trend has created gaps in care that can limit or even remove altogether access to health care for residents of rural communities.
In many small towns, the hospital is the largest employer. If it closes its doors, those jobs are eliminated forever — dealing another devastating blow to the community.
Rural Resolve represents the findings of our research initiative that explored how design might make an impact on this crisis. Can new concepts in master planning be a catalyst to transform rural communities in order to mitigate or reverse these trends? Can a reimagined main street be the economic engine that could potentially save thousands of small communities and provide critical access to convenient health services?
How Can Design Improve Rural Healthcare Delivery?
Rural hospital closures are expanding emergency transit times and leaving residents making a two-hour trek to seek medical care. This is devastating to the approximately 60 million people — nearly one in five Americans — who live in rural areas and depend on their local hospitals. Explore these eight ideas that may help reverse this damaging trend.