Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Examine Barriers to Healthcare Access for Hispanic and Latino Immigrants in the U.S. South


Geographic barriers to accessing timely and appropriate primary health care services have been identified as significant social determinants of health that contribute to the growing health inequities among Hispanic and Latino immigrants in the United States. The purpose of this study was to examine the geographic factors that serve as barriers to healthcare access for Hispanic and Latino immigrants in the southern community of Louisville, Kentucky. Accessibility to healthcare services was examined using spatial analysis techniques, a Geographic Information System and geographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Louisville and Jefferson County Information Consortium. Results from this study indicated that physical location, socioeconomic factors, distance, and transportation served as barriers to accessing healthcare services. Findings provide significant implications for future research and policy-based interventions focused on eliminating geographic barriers and promoting social and health equity for the underserved.

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Kentucky Nurses Association.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jean Edward.

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This study was funded by the Kentucky Nurses Foundation Research Grant program.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Edward, J., Biddle, D.J. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Examine Barriers to Healthcare Access for Hispanic and Latino Immigrants in the U.S. South. J. Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 4, 297–307 (2017).

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  • Geographic barriers
  • Healthcare access
  • Hispanic and Latino immigrants