Over 13 million children live in rural areas and of those 13 million, nearly a quarter live in poverty. NICHQ's Chief Health Officer, Elizabeth Coté, MD, MPA, has treated these children and witnessed first-hand the unique challenges their families face. In this article, she expands on the urgent need to see these children, to understand their challenges, and address the disparities in their health outcomes.
“Rural children in poverty are effectively invisible to decision makers and power structures of society. These are children who don’t live near pediatric hospitals or even their primary care provider. They are children who have fewer opportunities to play at public playgrounds, attend community events or engage with other families—they have fewer opportunities to be seen. So too often, policies and funding are not directed at these children, health systems don’t account for their families’ unique circumstances, and they fall through the cracks. It’s invisibility as much as a lack of resources that leaves these children vulnerable to poor health outcomes.”