Date of Award

January 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Danielle Poole

Second Advisor

Jill Kelly


The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated healthcare access disparities, especially impacting underserved rural and urban areas. This paper investigates the accessibility of COVID-19 testing centers across Kentucky, focusing on spatial and demographic disparities. Using geospatial techniques, the study comprehensively examines testing site distribution and accessibility challenges to inform strategies addressing healthcare disparities. Adopting an observational cross-sectional design, the study utilizes 2020 US Census tract data to assess testing center accessibility in Kentucky's 120 counties. Geospatial analysis, including GIS techniques, maps testing center distribution, evaluates travel time, and examines demographic influences. Statistical tests explore associations between socio-economic factors and testing accessibility. Findings reveal significant disparities, with a substantial portion of Kentucky's population residing outside testing center service areas. Rural and economically disadvantaged communities are disproportionately affected, encountering barriers like transportation and health insurance inadequacies. Urgent interventions are essential to improve testing accessibility and mitigate disparities. The study emphasizes targeted interventions, including addressing transportation barriers and expanding testing center coverage. Continued research and monitoring are vital to ensuring equitable access to testing and healthcare services.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/07/2026