Rural–urban otolaryngologic observational workforce analysis: The state of Nebraska

Frantzlee LaCrete, Kendra L. Ratnapradipa, Kristy Carlson, Elizabeth Lyden, Jayme R. Dowdall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To analyze the rural–urban access to otolaryngology (OHNS) care within the state of Nebraska. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Counties in Nebraska were categorized into rural versus urban status based upon the 2013 National Center for Health Statistics urban–rural classification scheme with I indicating most urban and VI indicating most rural. The information on otolaryngologists was gathered utilizing the Health Professions Tracking System. Otolaryngologists were categorized based on the county of their primary and outreach clinic location(s). Travel burden was estimated using census tract centroid distance to the nearest clinic location, aggregated to county using weighted population means to determine the average county distance to the nearest otolaryngologist. Results: Nebraska is a state with a population of 1.8 million people unequally distributed across 76,824 square miles, with rural counties covering 2/3 of the land area. Nebraska has 78 primary OHNS clinics and 70 outreach OHNS clinics distributed across 93 counties. More than half (54.8%) of the counties in Nebraska lacked any OHNS clinic. Overall, a statistically significant difference was found when comparing mean primary OHNS per 100,000 population and mean miles to a primary OHNS clinic with Level III counties being 5.17 linear miles from primary OHNS compared to Level V counties being 29.94 linear miles. Conclusion: Overall, a clear discrepancy between rural and urban primary OHNS clinics in Nebraska can be seen visually and statistically with rural Nebraskans having to travel at least 5.5 times farther to primary OHNS clinics when compared to urban Nebraskans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1602-1606
Number of pages5
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • ENT
  • Nebraska
  • OHNS
  • Rural Health
  • access to care
  • health disparities
  • oto
  • otolaryngologist
  • otolaryngology
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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