Rural and Remote Communities

Balancing advantages and disadvantages

In Atlantic Canada, it is impossible to ignore the impact that living in rural and remote communities has on the health and well-being of women and girls, in part because almost half of the population in the region live in rural areas.

ACEWH led and collaborated on many studies of the needs and experiences of women and girls living in rural and remote communities. This work generated new knowledge and helped to raise awareness that living in such areas is significant determinant of health.

Living in rural and remote communities undoubtedly offers many health advantages, including strong support and kin networks that may contribute to economic and social security and to good mental health. But a lack of anonymity in these communities can pose challenges when health care issues are sensitive, as in the case of sexually-transmitted infections, or when individuals simply wish to keep health concerns private. 

At the same time:

  • It is a constant challenge for rural and remote communities to attract and retain health care practitioners.
  • Access to primary and tertiary health care services often involves travelling long distances and transportation may be expensive, inaccessible, or simply non-existent. 
  • Food and fuel costs may also be higher in rural communities, making it more difficult for those on low and limited incomes to afford a healthy diet and adequate shelter during the winter months.

Research and Products

Positive Mental Health Outcomes For Women Experiencing Violence and Abuse In Rural and Remote Areas [PDF - 355 kB]
Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, Rural Research Centre, Transition House Association of Nova Scotia (April, 2011)

Black Women's Health in Rural Communities: Study Results Unveiled [PDF - 277 kB]
Press Release (2007)

Maternity Care in Their Own Communities: A Thing of the Past for Rural Women?
[PDF - 23 kB]
Press Release (2005)

Good Policy, Good Health: An Information and Action Kit for Women in Coastal Communities [PDF - 4.1 MB] (2004)

Voices and Faces: A Qualitative Study of Rural Women and a Breast Cancer Self-help Group via an Audio Teleconferencing Network [PDF - 585 kB]
Jon Church, Vernon Curran, Shirley Solberg (1999)

Caregivers' Support Needs: Insights from the Experiences of Women Providing Care in Rural Nova Scotia [PDF - 276 kB]
Joan Campbell, Gail Bruhm, Susan Lilley (1998)

Rural, Remote and Northern Women's Health: Policy and Research Directions

Complete Summary Report [PDF -  3.6 MB]
Rebecca Sutherns, Marilou McPhedran, Margaret Haworth-Brockman (2004)