Spatial Accessibility to Mammography Services in the Lower Mississippi Delta Region States

Whitney E. Zahnd, Sara L. McLafferty, Recinda L. Sherman, Hillary Klonoff-Cohen, Susan Farner, Karin A. Rosenblatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: To characterize spatial access to mammography services across 8 Lower Mississippi Delta Region (LMDR) states. These states include the Delta Region, a federally designated, largely rural, and impoverished region with a high proportion of black residents and low mammography utilization rates. Methods: Using the enhanced 2-step floating catchment area method, we calculated spatial accessibility scores for mammography services across LMDR census tracts. We compared accessibility scores between the Delta and non-Delta Regions of the LMDR. We also performed hotspot analysis and constructed spatial lag models to detect clusters of low spatial access and to identify sociodemographic factors associated with access, respectively. We obtained mammography facility locations data from the Food and Drug Administration and sociodemographic variables from the American Community Survey and the US Department of Agriculture. Results: Overall, there were no differences in spatial accessibility scores between the Delta and non-Delta Regions, though there was some state-to-state variation. Clusters of low spatial access were found in parts of the Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee Delta. Spatial lag models found that poverty was associated with greater spatial access to mammography. Conclusions: The lack of identified differences in spatial access to mammography in the Delta and non-Delta Regions suggests that psychosocial or financial barriers play a larger role in lower mammography utilization rates. Identifying clusters of low spatial access to mammography services can help inform resource allocation. Further, our study underscores the value of using coverage-based methods rather than travel time or container measures to evaluate spatial access to care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-559
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019



  • Mississippi Delta Region
  • geographic information systems
  • mammography
  • spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this