Gitlin is the dean emerita of the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
_Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili
DiMaria-Ghalili is the associate dean for Interprofessional Research and Development at the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
The number of older Pennsylvanian adults living in poverty with poor access to health care stands to worsen, according to a 2021 report by AARP Pennsylvania and Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. The report explores how geographic, racial/ethnic and economic factors are combining to restrict health care services throughout the state.
Health inequities are most acute among those living in rural and low resourced areas of the state, and among underrepresented populations who lack access to health care, experience digital divide and contend with health care workforce shortages.
The study draws on interviews with key stakeholders statewide, a comprehensive literature review and analyses of state health databases.
“Not only do we need more health professionals and direct care workers, we need to prepare the health care workforce to be culturally competent and capable of addressing age-related health care issues.”
-Laura Gitlin, dean emerita of the College of Nursing and Health Professions
Currently, about 40% of Pennsylvanians are 50 and older, with nearly 19% over the age of 65. Those older adults live predominately in rural areas and are white with low household income. By 2040, however, Pennsylvania will experience exponential growth in its aging population, led by the southeastern part of the state, which is the most populous and diverse region.
“Our research shows that gaps in access to health care and internet will only continue to grow as Pennsylvania’s population becomes older and with the increase in number of low-income adults living in the southeastern part of the state,” says Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, associate dean for Interprofessional Research and Development at the College of Nursing and Health Professions.