FNU Rural and Migrant Health Discussion

Read chapter 21 and 23 of the class textbook and review the attached PowerPoint presentations.  Once done, answer the following questions.

1.  Define and discuss in your own words the definitions and models for disability.

2.  Discuss the difference between illness and disability.

3.  Compare and contrast the characteristics of rural and urban communities.

4.  Discuss the impact of structural and personal barriers on the health of rural aggregates.

Expert Solution Preview

In this response, we will be discussing and providing answers to the questions related to disability, illness, and the impact of structural and personal barriers on the health of rural communities. These questions aim to enhance the understanding of medical college students on these topics and their application in real-life scenarios.


1. Define and discuss in your own words the definitions and models for disability.
Disability refers to limitations in functioning and participation that arise due to impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. In simpler terms, it is a condition that hinders an individual’s ability to carry out everyday tasks and participate fully in society. Disability can encompass physical, sensory, cognitive, and mental health impairments.

Models for disability are conceptual frameworks that help us understand disability from different perspectives. Two commonly used models are the Medical Model and the Social Model of disability.

The Medical Model views disability as an individual’s impairment or deviation from normal functioning. It focuses on diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation to improve functioning and reduce limitations. This model tends to medicalize disability, attributing it solely to an individual’s physical or mental condition.

On the other hand, the Social Model of disability emphasizes the role of societal barriers in disabling individuals. It perceives disability as a result of the interaction between the individual and their environment. According to this model, disabling factors include physical barriers, negative attitudes, and lack of inclusive policies. The Social Model advocates for removing these barriers to promote equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.

2. Discuss the difference between illness and disability.
Illness and disability are two distinct concepts, although they can overlap.

Illness refers to a state of being unwell, with symptoms and signs of a specific disease or condition. It often involves a temporary disruption in a person’s health and can be diagnosed and treated by medical professionals. Illness is typically experienced by individuals with or without disabilities.

Disability, as mentioned earlier, involves long-term limitations in functioning due to impairments, activity restrictions, or participation barriers. Unlike illness, disability is not always caused by a specific disease or condition and does not necessarily have a cure. It is an enduring aspect of an individual’s life, impacting their everyday activities and social participation.

While illness can potentially lead to disability if it causes long-term impairments, disability can exist without an associated illness. It is important to recognize that individuals with disabilities can also experience illnesses like anyone else.

3. Compare and contrast the characteristics of rural and urban communities.
Rural and urban communities have distinct characteristics that can significantly impact the health and well-being of their residents.

Rural Communities:
– Lower population density and spread-out geography.
– Limited access to healthcare facilities and services, including specialists.
– Higher percentage of older adults.
– Limited availability of public transportation.
– Fewer employment opportunities and lower income levels.
– Strong sense of community and social support networks.
– Greater reliance on agriculture and natural resources.

Urban Communities:
– Higher population density and compact geography.
– Greater availability of healthcare facilities and services, including specialists.
– More diverse population, including individuals from different socio-economic backgrounds.
– Better access to public transportation systems.
– More employment opportunities and higher income levels.
– Diverse social networks and support systems.
– Greater availability of recreational facilities, cultural institutions, and educational resources.

4. Discuss the impact of structural and personal barriers on the health of rural aggregates.
The health of rural aggregates, or communities, can be significantly influenced by both structural and personal barriers.

Structural barriers refer to systemic and environmental factors that limit access to healthcare and resources in rural areas. These can include:
– Lack of healthcare facilities and providers, leading to long travel distances for medical care.
– Limited availability of specialized services, resulting in delayed or unmet healthcare needs.
– Inadequate transportation options, making it difficult to access healthcare facilities.
– Insufficient health insurance coverage, resulting in financial barriers to care.
– Limited availability of health promotion and preventive services in rural areas.

Personal barriers, on the other hand, are unique to individuals and can impact their health-seeking behaviors and outcomes. These can include:
– Limited health literacy and awareness of available healthcare services.
– Cultural beliefs and attitudes towards seeking medical care.
– Lack of trust in healthcare providers or fear of discrimination.
– Limited financial resources to afford healthcare services or medications.
– Health-related stigma or fear of being labeled as having a disability or illness.

Both structural and personal barriers can contribute to poorer health outcomes in rural communities, including higher rates of chronic diseases, lower life expectancies, and limited access to essential healthcare services. Addressing these barriers requires a comprehensive approach that includes improving healthcare infrastructure, increasing healthcare access, promoting health literacy, and reducing stigma.

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