You may not notice that there is a large presence of incarcerated settings in rural America. Nearly 40% of state prisons are in rural areas. People who are incarcerated have unique healthcare needs, facing higher rates of mental illness, substance abuse, and chronic illness than the general population. This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio Charles Mathias, Professor and Director of Innovation & Impact Organization at UT Health San Antonio, discusses how rural communities play a role in providing healthcare to incarcerated persons. In our conversation with Charles, we talk about the challenges of healthcare for incarcerated persons and what the future might look like.
“Incarceration is not intended to be a healthcare setting, but they really are the biggest one in many communities when it comes to mental health”
Dr. Mathias is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UT Health San Antonio. His research focuses on improving health outcomes stemming from behavioral health risk and its interaction with community systems. His policy work applies a Culture of Health Framework in promoting solutions for population well-being through cross-sector collaboration. He is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship, Dr. Mathias guides RTTC activities related to strategic communication and health policy.