When Elizabeth Crouch finished her doctorate in policy studies, she didn’t even realize there was a research field devoted to rural health. Ten years later, the associate professor in the Arnold School of Public Health has been recognized by the National Rural Health Association with its 2023 Outstanding Researcher Award.
The award recognizes Crouch’s work examining health disparities among rural and other vulnerable populations — from adverse childhood experiences to Medicare utilization in older adults. She is particularly interested in the positive and adverse experiences faced by the more than 10 million children living in rural America.
The focus on childhood issues and early childhood care is important, she says, because those experiences can carry over into adult physical and mental health.
“It’s being able to tell that full story of what people are experiencing, and what kids are experiencing,” Crouch says. It gets into the social determinants of health — what do kids and families need in rural America? That’s my big passion.”