Public health in Appalachia is a complex area of study. While urban-rural disparities have been a focus of researchers and policy-makers for decades, inequalities continue to grow. During the past two semesters of Honors Thesis Research, the prevalence of disparities between Appalachian college students and non-Appalachian college students at Eastern Kentucky University was brought into question. Through the use of outside sources and surveys amongst current EKU students, this research was conducted to discover not only the challenges that Appalachian college students face, but also what this campus can do to help acknowledge and mitigate the students’ challenges; therefore, increasing their academic achievements, quality of life, and decrease the gap in health disparities between Appalachian and non-Appalachian college students. Certain factors including hometown, total household income, health insurance coverage, health care access, and others were studied in order to examine the differences between Appalachian and non-Appalachian college students. It is now proven by this research study that there is a striking difference between the disparities that Appalachian college students face, as compared to non-Appalachian college students. This research project can help bridge the gap between Appalachian and non-Appalachian college students on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus and beyond.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 4-18-2021


Michelyn W. Bhandari

Mentor Department Affiliation

Health Promotion and Administration

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Health Promotion and Administration

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)