This commentary responds to the recent article by Dr. James et al. on racial and ethnic health disparities in rural America, published in the November 16 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. We applaud Dr. James and colleagues for their important contribution uncovering intra-rural racial and ethnic disparities and build on their paper by discussing potential mechanisms, including structural racism. We also discuss several pragmatic steps that can be taken in research, policy, and practice to address racial and ethnic disparities in rural communities and to work toward health equity for all rural residents.
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