OBJECTIVES: Interorganizational collaboration aimed at community health improvement is an expectation of local public health systems. This study assessed the extent to which such collaboration occurred within one state (Wisconsin), described the characteristics of existing partnerships, and identified factors associated with partnership effectiveness. METHODS: In Stage 1, local health department (LHD) directors in Wisconsin were surveyed (93% response rate). In Stage 2, LHDs completed self-administered mailed surveys for each partnership identified in Stage 1 (85% response rate). Two-level hierarchical logit regression methods were used to model relationships between partnership and LHD variables and partnership outcomes. Data from 924 partnerships associated with 74 LHDs were included in the analysis. RESULTS: Partnerships most frequently addressed tobacco prevention and control, maternal and child health, emergency planning, community assessment and planning, and immunizations. Partnering was most frequent with other government agencies, hospitals, medical practices or clinics, community-based organizations, and schools. Partnership effectiveness was predicted by having a budget, having more partners contributing financially, having a broader array of organizations involved, and having been in existence for a longer period of time. A government mandate to start the partnership was inversely related to successful outcomes. Characteristics of LHDs did not predict partnership effectiveness. CONCLUSIONS: Financial support, having a broader array of partners, and allowing sufficient time for partnerships to succeed contribute to partnership effectiveness. Further study-using objective outcome measures-is needed to examine the effects of organizational and community characteristics on the effectiveness of local public health system partnerships.
Why does living in a disadvantaged neighborhood predict poorer mental and physical health? Recent research focusing on the Southwestern United States suggests that disadvantaged neighborhoods favor poor health, in part, because they undermine sleep quality. Building on previous research, we test whether this process extends to the Midwestern United States. Specifically, we use cross-sectional data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a statewide probability sample of Wisconsin adults, to examine whether associations among perceived neighborhood quality (e.g., perceptions of crime, litter, and pleasantness in the neighborhood) and health status (overall self-rated health and depression) are mediated by overall sleep quality (measured as self-rated sleep quality and physician diagnosis of sleep apnea). We find that perceptions of low neighborhood quality are associated with poorer self-rated sleep quality, poorer self-rated health, and more depressive symptoms. We also observe that poorer self-rated sleep quality is associated with poorer self-rated health and more depressive symptoms. Our mediation analyses indicate that self-rated sleep quality partially mediates the link between perceived neighborhood quality and health status. Specifically, self-rated sleep quality explains approximately 20% of the association between neighborhood quality and self-rated health and nearly 19% of the association between neighborhood quality and depression. Taken together, these results confirm previous research and extend the generalizability of the indirect effect of perceived neighborhood context on health status through sleep quality.
Sleep; Sleep quality; Neighborhood context; Neighborhood quality; Self-rated health; Depression; Wisconsin; USA
Child maltreatment has been linked to negative adult health outcomes; however, much past research includes only clinical samples of women, focuses exclusively on sexual abuse and/or fails to control for family background and childhood characteristics, both potential confounders. Further research is needed to obtain accurate, generalizable estimates and to educate clinicians who are generally unaware of the link between childhood abuse and adult health. The purpose of this project is to examine how childhood physical abuse by parents impacts mid-life mental and physical health and to explore the attenuating effect of family background and childhood adversities.
We analyzed population-based survey data from 2,800 middle-aged men and women in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study using self-reported measures of parental childhood physical abuse, mental health (depression, anxiety, anger), physical health (physical symptoms and medical diagnoses), family background, and childhood adversities.
Parental physical abuse was reported by 11.4% of respondents (10.6% of males and 12.1% of females). In multivariate models controlling for age, sex, childhood adversities, and family background, childhood physical abuse predicted a graded increase in depression, anxiety, anger, physical symptoms, and medical diagnoses. Childhood physical abuse also predicted severe ill health and an array of specific medical diagnoses and physical symptoms. Family background and childhood adversities attenuated but did not eliminate the childhood abuse/adult health relationship.
In a population-based cohort of middle-aged men and women, childhood physical abuse predicted worse mental and physical health decades after the abuse. These effects were attenuated by age, sex, family background, and childhood adversities, but not eliminated.
Childhood abuse; Physical abuse; Symptoms; Diagnoses; Mental health
There is limited epidemiological research that provides insight into the complex web of causative and moderating factors that links housing conditions to a variety of poor health outcomes. This study explores the relationship between housing conditions (with a primary focus on the functional state of infrastructure) and common childhood illness in remote Australian Aboriginal communities for the purpose of informing development of housing interventions to improve child health.
Hierarchical multi-level analysis of association between carer report of common childhood illnesses and functional and hygienic state of housing infrastructure, socio-economic, psychosocial and health related behaviours using baseline survey data from a housing intervention study.
Multivariate analysis showed a strong independent association between report of respiratory infection and overall functional condition of the house (Odds Ratio (OR) 3.00; 95%CI 1.36-6.63), but no significant association between report of other illnesses and the overall functional condition or the functional condition of infrastructure required for specific healthy living practices. Associations between report of child illness and secondary explanatory variables which showed an OR of 2 or more included: for skin infection - evidence of poor temperature control in the house (OR 3.25; 95%CI 1.06-9.94), evidence of pests and vermin in the house (OR 2.88; 95%CI 1.25-6.60); for respiratory infection - breastfeeding in infancy (OR 0.27; 95%CI 0.14-0.49); for diarrhoea/vomiting - hygienic state of food preparation and storage areas (OR 2.10; 95%CI 1.10-4.00); for ear infection - child care attendance (OR 2.25; 95%CI 1.26-3.99).
These findings add to other evidence that building programs need to be supported by a range of other social and behavioural interventions for potential health gains to be more fully realised.
The goal of Wisconsin Health Sciences IAIMS initiative (WI-IAIMS) is to enhance coordination through improved communication while preserving local control of information resources. The proposed aims of the project are to strengthen the organizational, technical and informatics infrastructure to support the health science research, teaching and service needs of the University of Wisconsin. The two-year planning initiative identified that successful solutions for an IAIMS in Wisconsin must adhere to the unique aspects of UW-Madison and state of Wisconsin training and research environment. Therefore, WI-IAIMS will be in line with a management philosophy that endorses local investment and control of information technology resources, educational programs that rely on numerous clinical training sites, and a commitment by the UW Health Science schools to expand research activities to better include and be responsive to the citizens of the state.
Background: In 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) Member States passed a World Health Assembly resolution that identified the following five priority areas for research and pilot projects on climate change and human health: health vulnerability, health protection, health impacts of mitigation and adaptation policies, decision-support and other tools, and costs of health protection from climate change.
Objectives: To assess the extent to which recently published research corresponds to these priorities, we undertook a scoping review of original research on climate change and human health. Scoping reviews address topics that are too broad for a systematic review and commonly aim to identify research gaps in existing literature. We also assessed recent publication trends for climate change and health research.
Methods: We searched for original quantitative research published from 2008 onward. We included disease burden studies that were specific to climate change and health and included intervention studies that focused on climate change and measured health outcomes. We used MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science databases and extracted data on research priority areas, geographic regions, health fields, and equity (systematic differences between advantaged and disadvantaged social groups).
Discussion: We identified 40 eligible studies. Compared with other health topics, the number of climate change publications has grown rapidly, with a larger proportion of reviews or editorials. Recent original research addressed four of the five priority areas identified by the WHO Member States, but we found no eligible studies of health adaptation interventions, and most of the studies focused on high-income countries.
Conclusions: Climate change and health is a rapidly growing area of research, but quantitative studies remain rare. Among recently published studies, we found gaps in adaptation research and a deficit of studies in most developing regions. Funders and researchers should monitor and respond to research gaps to help ensure that the needs of policymakers are met.
climate change; environmental policy; health policy; public health; world health
The California Health Interview Survey, the largest state health survey in the United States, uses community-based participatory research principles to develop each cycle. Other large-scale health surveys rarely include participatory research approaches. Every 2 years, the California Health Interview Survey generates state and local population-based data on health insurance coverage, access to health care, chronic disease prevalence and management, health behaviors and disease prevention, and other health issues in California. The survey is used for policy and program development, advocacy, and research.
The development of the California Health Interview Survey involves more than 145 people from more than 60 state and local policymaking bodies, public health agencies, advocacy groups, research organizations, and health care organizations. They participate as volunteers in an advisory board, on technical advisory committees, and in work groups that interact with California Health Interview Survey research staff in an accountable advisory process that shapes survey topics, measures, and sample design and determines languages selected for translation. Survey results and data are provided to the communities involved in the survey.
California Health Interview Survey data have been widely used by local, state, and national public health leaders, policymakers, advocates, and researchers to improve access to health insurance and health care services and to develop and target prevention programs for obesity and chronic illnesses.
The California Health Interview Survey participatory research model has been an effective approach to planning and implementing a health survey and should be considered by developers of other large health surveys.
Health research is crucial to understand a country’s needs and to improve health outcomes. We conducted a scoping review and analysis of existing health data in Timor-Leste to identify the health research priorities of the country. Published and unpublished health research in Timor-Leste from 2001 to 2011 that reported objectives, methods and results were identified. Key findings were triangulated with data from national surveys and the Health Management Information System; 114 eligible articles were included in the analysis, the leading topics of which were communicable (malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases and dengue) and non-communicable (eye and mental health) diseases. There were 28 papers (25%) on safe motherhood, child health and nutrition, of which 20 (71%) were unpublished. The review of national indicators showed high infant, under-five and maternal mortality rates. Burden of disease is greatest in young children, with respiratory infections, febrile illnesses and diarrheal disease predominating. There is poor access to and utilization of health care. Childhood malnutrition is an important unresolved national health issue. There are several obstacles leading to under-utilization of health services. The following topics for future health research are suggested from the review: nutrition, safe motherhood, childhood illness (in particular identifying the causes and cause-specific burden of severe respiratory, febrile and diarrheal diseases) and access to and use of health services.
Timor-Leste; East Timor; Health management information system; Health research
To characterize state and local health agency relationships with health information exchange organizations.
There is growing interest in leveraging available health information exchange (HIE) infrastructures to improve public health surveillance (1). The Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health Act and Meaningful Use criteria for electronic health record (EHR) systems are among the factors driving the development, adoption and use of HIEs. HIEs deliver or make accessible clinical and administrative data as patients are admitted, discharged, and transferred across hospitals, clinics, medical centers, counties, states and regions (2). While several HIE infrastructures exist (3), there is little evidence on the engagement in HIE initiatives by state and local health agencies.
An online survey of state and local health officials was conducted in six states where HIEs were known to be present. Half of the states were funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to engage public health agencies in HIE activities; the other half received no such funding. A total of 143 officials were invited to participate; 73 (51%) responded. The survey asked respondents about their agencies awareness, engagement, and data exchange with HIEs. The survey further asked agencies about their perceptions of barriers and challenges to public health engagement with HIE organizations.
Just 25% of agencies had a formal relationship, typically created through a memorandum of understanding or data usage agreement, with at least one nearby HIE. The majority (54%) of agencies either had no relationship (20%) or only an informal relationship (34%) with an HIE. The remaining agencies (18%) reported that no HIE existed in their jurisdiction. Agencies in states that had received CDC funding for HIE engagement were more likely (14 versus 2) to be formally partnered with an HIE.
Few public health agencies are formally engaged in HIE. Financial costs, human resources, and concerns regarding privacy/security were the top cited barriers to broader engagement in HIE. For public health to be an active participant in and reap the benefits of HIE, greater investment in state and local public health informatics capacity, including human resources, and education regarding HIE privacy and security practices are needed.
Health Information Exchange; Electronic Laboratory Reporting; Public Health Surveillance; Public Health Informatics
Obesity and smoking represent the leading preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. This study compared the prevalence of obesity among smokers seeking cessation treatment (n = 1428) versus a general population (n = 4081) of never smokers, former smoker, and current smokers. Data from treatment-seeking smokers in the Wisconsin Smokers’ Health Study (WSHS) and individuals who completed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-06 were pooled and obesity rates and other health characteristics were compared. The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher among WSHS treatment-seeking smokers (36.8%) versus NHANES current smokers (29.6%), but the obesity rates of WSHS treatment-seeking smokers did not differ from NHANES former smokers (36.5%) or never smokers (36.5%). Treatment-seeking smokers were more likely to be female and to have higher educational attainment compared to NHANES participants. Analysis of health characteristics revealed treatment-seeking smokers had higher levels of dietary fiber and vitamin C and lower blood levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting glucose compared to NHANES current smokers. Results suggest that treatment-seeking smokers may have a different health profile than current smokers in the general population. Health care providers should be aware of underlying heath issues, particularly obesity, in patients seeking smoking cessation treatment.
Local public health departments (LHDs) in the United States have been encouraged to collaborate with various other community organizations and individuals. Current research suggests that many forms of active partnering are ongoing, and there are numerous examples of LHD collaboration with a specific organization for a specific purpose or program. However, no existing research has attempted to characterize collaboration, for the defined purpose of setting community health status priorities, between a defined population of local officials and a defined group of alternative partnering organizations. The specific aims of this study were to 1) determine the range of collaborative involvement exhibited by a study population of local public health officials, and, 2) characterize the patterns of the selection of organizations/individuals involved with LHDs in the process of setting community health status priorities.
Local health department officials in North Carolina (n = 53) responded to an exploratory survey about their levels of involvement with eight types of possible collaborator organizations and individuals. Descriptive statistics and the stochastic clustering technique of Self-Organizing Maps (SOM) were used to characterize their collaboration.
Local health officials vary extensively in their level of collaboration with external collaborators. While the range of total involvement varies, the patterns of involvement for this specific function are relatively uniform. That is, regardless of the total level of involvement (low, medium or high), officials maintain similar hierarchical preference rankings with Community Advisory Boards and Local Boards of Health most involved and Experts and Elected Officials least involved.
The extent and patterns of collaboration among LHDs with other community stakeholders for a specific function can be described and ultimately related to outcome measures of LHD performance.
Markets for Medicare HMOs (health maintenance organizations) and supplemental Medicare coverage are often treated separately in existing literature. Yet because managed care plans and Medigap plans both cover services not covered by basic Medicare, these markets are clearly interrelated. We examine the extent to which Medigap premiums affect the likelihood of the elderly joining managed care plans.
The analysis is based on a sample of Medicare beneficiaries drawn from the 1996–1997 Community Tracking Study (CTS) Household Survey by the Center for Studying Health System Change. Respondents span 56 different CTS sites from 30 different states. Measures of premiums for privately-purchased Medigap policies were collected from a survey of large insurers serving this market. Data for individual, market, and HMO characteristics were collected from the CTS, InterStudy, and HCFA (Health Care Financing Administration).
Our analysis uses a reduced-form logit model to estimate the probability of Medicare HMO participation as a function of Medigap premiums controlling for other market- and individual-level characteristics. The logit coefficients were then used to simulate changes in Medicare participation in response to changes in Medigap premiums.
We found that Medigap premiums vary considerably among the geographic markets included in our sample. Measures of premiums from different insurers and for different types of Medigap policies were generally highly correlated across markets. Our models consistently indicate a strong positive relationship between Medigap premiums and HMO participation. This result is robust across several specifications. Simulations suggest that a one standard deviation increase in Medigap premiums would increase HMO participation by more than 8 percentage points.
This research provides strong evidence that Medigap premiums have a significant effect on seniors' participation in Medicare HMOs. Policy initiatives aimed at lowering Medigap premiums will likely discourage enrollment in Medicare HMOs, holding other factors constant. Although the Medigap premiums are just one factor affecting the future penetration rate of Medicare HMOs, they are an important driver of HMO enrollment and should be considered carefully when creating policy related to seniors' supplemental coverage. Similarly, our results imply that reforms to the Medicare HMO market would influence the demand for Medigap policies.
Medigap; Medicare managed care; premium effect on enrollment decisions; HMOs; Medicare
Rationale for study
Vital registration is generally lacking in infrastructurally weak areas where health and development problems are most pressing. Health and demographic surveillance is a response to the lack of a valid information base that can provide high-quality longitudinal data on population dynamics, health, and social change to inform policy and practice.
Design and measurement procedures
Continuous demographic monitoring of an entire geographically defined population involves a multi-round, prospective community study, with annual recording of all vital events (births, deaths, migrations). Status observations and special modules add value to particular research areas. A verbal autopsy is conducted on every death to determine its probable cause. A geographic surveillance system supports spatial analyses, and strengthens field management.
Population and sample size considerations
Health and demographic surveillance covers the Agincourt sub-district population, sited in rural north-eastern South Africa, of some 70,000 people (nearly a third are Mozambican immigrants) in 21 villages and 11,700 households. Data enumerated are consistent or more detailed when compared with national sources; strategies to improve incomplete data, such as counts of perinatal deaths, have been introduced with positive effect.
A major health and demographic transition was documented over a 12-year period with marked changes in population structure, escalating mortality, declining fertility, and high levels of temporary migration increasing particularly amongst women. A dual burden of infectious and non-communicable disease exists against a background of dramatically progressing HIV/AIDS.
Potential and research questions
Health and demographic surveillance sites – fundamental to the INDEPTH Network – generate research questions and hypotheses from empirical data, highlight health, social and population priorities, provide cost-effective support for diverse study designs, and track population change and the impact of interventions over time.
Agincourt; demographic surveillance system; DSS; geographic information system; rural; South Africa; verbal autopsy; vital registration
Health surveys are an important source of population-based data in much of the developing world. Unfortunately, sample surveys often take more time to plan, process, and analyze than is practical, given the information needs of the local decision-makers. Rapid survey methodology (RSM) has been developed to permit health professionals to answer quickly questions about the health status and activities of people at the community level. These answers may be necessary for determining program priorities or for monitoring program activities. Rapid surveys are meant to supplement, rather than replace, information derived from existing sources of vital and health statistics data. RSM combines sample survey methods with contemporary software used in portable, battery-powered microcomputers. The ability to do rapid surveys in developing countries also requires knowledge of how to use appropriate computer hardware and software and how to apply cluster sampling theory in the local environment. RSM was used for the first time in Hlegu Township, Burma, to conduct a health survey of young children. The survey team started the field work on May 4, 1987. Four days later, while still in the field, the data were processed and rapidly analyzed by portable microcomputers for presentation to the local township medical officer and his staff. Within 10 days of starting the field work, we issued a detailed 50-page report of the study findings. This paper provides (a) a description of the components of rapid survey methodology, including the sample survey method, computer hardware, and computer software; (b) the general requirements for portable computer hardware in less developed regions of the world; (c) the procedures for doing a rapid survey; and (d) a summary of our experiences with RSM in Burma.
To measure and assess health outcomes and quality of life at the national level, large-scale surveys using multiple vendors to gather health information is becoming the norm. This study evaluates the ability of multiple survey vendors to gather and report data collected as part of the 1998 Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (HOS).
Four hundred randomly sampled completed mailed surveys were chosen from each of six certified vendors (N = 2397) participating in the 1998 HOS. The accuracy of the data gathered from the vendors was measured by creating a "gold standard" record for each survey and comparing it to the final record submitted by the vendor.
Overall rates of agreement were calculated, and ranged from 97.0% to 99.8% across the vendors.
Researchers may be confident that using multiple vendors to gather health outcomes information will yield accurate data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides biomonitoring data in the United States as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Recently, Statistics Canada initiated a similar survey — the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS). Comparison of US and Canadian biomonitoring data can generate hypotheses regarding human exposures from environmental media and consumer products. To ensure that such comparisons are scientifically meaningful, it is essential to first evaluate aspects of the surveys' methods that can impact comparability of data. We examined CHMS and NHANES methodologies, using bisphenol A (BPA) as a case study, to evaluate whether survey differences exist that would hinder our ability to compare chemical concentrations between countries. We explored methods associated with participant selection, urine sampling, and analytical methods. BPA intakes were also estimated to address body weight differences between countries. Differences in survey methods were identified but are unlikely to have substantial impacts on inter-survey comparisons of BPA intakes. BPA intakes for both countries are below health-based guidance values set by the US, Canada and the European Food Safety Authority. We recommend that before comparing biomonitoring data between surveys, a thorough review of methodologic aspects that might impact biomonitoring results be conducted.
NHANES; CHMS; bisphenol A; intake; biomonitoring; methodological comparison
This article outlines a program of applied research and development known as Housing for Health that, over the period 1999–2012, targeted health-related improvements in housing for Indigenous householders in communities across regional and remote Australia. In essence, the program focuses on measuring the functionality of key appliances and structures (we term this “health hardware”) against clear criteria and ensuring identified faults are fixed.
Detailed survey and assessment of all aspects of housing was undertaken, particularly focusing on the function of health hardware. All results were entered into a database and analyzed.
The results demonstrate extremely poor initial performance of the health hardware. A key finding is that attention to maintenance of existing houses can be a cost-effective means of improving health outcomes and also suggests the need to superintend the health-conferring qualities of new infrastructure. We briefly outline the early foundations of the Housing for Health program, major findings from data gathered before and after improvements to household amenities, and our efforts to translate these findings into broader policy.
These data demonstrate that simply injecting funds into housing construction is not sufficient for gaining maximum health benefit.
Indigenous housing; environmental health; Australia
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is among the most common sexually transmitted pathogens in the United States and worldwide. HSV has a high incidence of undetected cases. In addition, there is no treatment, and there is a lack of knowledge why disparities among populations exist. Research studies suggest that fat tissue may participate in body's immune responses, and the impact of obesity on susceptibility to HSV1 infection is not clear. The purpose of this study was to examine whether obesity is a risk factor for HSV1 infection using a large sample from the general population.
This cross-sectional study used data from the National Health and Examination and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2007–2008. Variables, gender, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, education, poverty level, and diabetes represented potential confounders and were included in analyses. The two-tailed Pearson's chi square, student's t test, and a multiple logistic regression analysis were applied to evaluate associations using a significance value of p≤0.05. Adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence interval represented the degree of these associations. The prevalence of HSV1 infection in US population between 20 and 49 years old was 60.3% (n = 1,536). In this study, having a BMI classified as the obese group (BMI 30–39.9) was significantly associated with HSV1 infection before [unadjusted OR = 1.74 (95% CI 1.20–2.51), p = 0.006] and after controlling for socio-demographic factors [adjusted OR = 1.50 (95%CI 1.06–2.13)], p = 0.026]. This association was stronger than three already established risk factors of age, female gender, and poverty level.
This study provides evidence that obesity may play a role in the susceptibility to HSV1 infection. Findings from this study suggest that obesity should be considered when designing preventive measures for HSV1 infection. These results may also explain why some people acquire HSV1 infections and some do not. Further, these findings may justify an increased emphasis on the control and prevention of HSV1 transmission and other pathogens in overweight and obese populations.
Lead-contaminated house dust is a major source of lead exposure for children in the United States. In 1999–2004, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected dust lead (PbD) loading samples from the homes of children 12–60 months of age.
In this study we aimed to compare national PbD levels with existing health-based standards and to identify housing and demographic factors associated with floor and windowsill PbD.
We used NHANES PbD data (n = 2,065 from floors and n = 1,618 from windowsills) and covariates to construct linear and logistic regression models.
The population-weighted geometric mean floor and windowsill PbD were 0.5 μg/ft2 [geometric standard error (GSE) = 1.0] and 7.6 μg/ft2 (GSE = 1.0), respectively. Only 0.16% of the floors and 4.0% of the sills had PbD at or above current federal standards of 40 and 250 μg/ft2, respectively. Income, race/ethnicity, floor surface/condition, windowsill PbD, year of construction, recent renovation, smoking, and survey year were significant predictors of floor PbD [the proportion of variability in the dependent variable accounted for by the model (R2) = 35%]. A similar set of predictors plus the presence of large areas of exterior deteriorated paint in pre-1950 homes and the presence of interior deteriorated paint explained 20% of the variability in sill PbD. A companion article [Dixon et al. Environ Health Perspect 117:468–474 (2009)] describes the relationship between children’s blood lead and PbD.
Most houses with children have PbD levels that comply with federal standards but may put children at risk. Factors associated with PbD in our population-based models are primarily the same as factors identified in smaller at-risk cohorts. PbD on floors and windowsills should be kept as low as possible to protect children.
dust lead; housing; lead; National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; NHANES
Reducing mental health disparities among underserved populations, particularly African American elders, is an important public health priority. The authors describe the process and challenges of developing a community/academic research partnership to address these disparities.
The authors are using a Community-Based Participatory Research approach to gain access to underserved populations in need of depression treatment. The authors identify six stages: 1) Collaborating to Secure Funding; 2) Building a Communications Platform and Research Infrastructure; 3) Fostering Enduring Relationships; 4) Assessing Needs/Educating about Research Process; 5) Initiating Specific Collaborative Projects (meeting mutual needs/interests); and 6) Maintaining a Sustainable and Productive Partnership. Data from a needs assessment developed collaboratively by researchers and community agencies facilitated agreement on mutual research goals, while strengthening the partnership.
A community/academic-based partnership with a solid research infrastructure has been established and maintained for 3 years. Using the results of a needs assessment, the working partnership prioritized and launched several projects. Through interviews and questionnaires, community partners identified best practices for researchers working in the community. Future research and interventional projects have been developed, including plans for sustainability that will eventually shift more responsibility from the academic institution to the community agencies.
To reach underserved populations by developing and implementing models of more effective mental health treatment, it is vital to engage community agencies offering services to this population. A successful partnership requires “cultural humility,” collaborative efforts, and the development of flexible protocols to accommodate diverse communities.
Community partnerships; depression; community-based participatory research
Despite the increased use of ecological models in health behavior research, multilevel influences on health behaviors in rural, low-income people, an aggregate at high risk for sedentary behavior and inadequate diets, have been examined in few studies.
To describe influences on physical activity and diet in low-income, rural adults.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews in a convenience sample of 137 low-income Anglo and Latino adults recruited from two rural Wisconsin counties. The survey included questions on health behaviors, self-efficacy, barriers, social support, and community environments. Self-report data on physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake were categorized into outcome variables of meets recommendation or does not meet recommendation. Latent class cluster analysis was used to identify clusters of participants with similar influences on health behaviors, and cluster membership was used as an independent variable in logistic regression of physical activity and diet outcomes.
Fifty-two percent of participants met a recommendation for physical activity, but only 8% met their MyPyramid recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake. Participants in the Moderate Self-Efficacy/High Safety cluster were significantly more likely than those in the Low Self-Efficacy/Moderate Safety cluster to meet a recommendation for physical activity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.65). For healthy diet, participants in the Low Barriers cluster were significantly more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables (OR = 4.13) than those in the High Barriers cluster.
People with healthier behaviors were distinguished from those with less healthy behaviors by higher levels of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community supports. Results support the importance of multilevel approaches to promoting healthy lifestyles in rural, low-income adults.
low-income; rural population; health behavior
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a rampantly growing epidemic in the United States, affecting nearly 10% of the adult population. Studies have shown that higher levels of Total Bilirubin (TBili) convey a protective effect with regard to cardiovascular risk. In this study, we will examine the relationship between TBili level and prevalence of DM to discern whether a similar relationship exists.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a comprehensive survey performed regularly to evaluate the overall health and nutrition status of the United States population. For the purpose of this study, we combined NHANES data collected between 1999 and 2006. Totally 15,876 eligible participants were selected after excluding all patients younger than twenty years, those with a history of abnormal liver function tests, or those who disclosed a history of liver disease. The data collected on these individuals was adjusted for demographic characteristics, as well as risk factors for DM, and was analyzed via multivariate logistic regression, using SAS proc survey methodology.
After age adjustment, increased TBili was associated with 26% reduction in diabetes risk (OR 0.74, 95% CI 0.64 - 0.88). Multivariate analysis, adjusting for all diabetes risk factors assessed, confirmed this association (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.67 - 0.95).
Our results show that a higher level of serum TBili is associated with odds of having a lower incidence of DM. This finding supports the hypothesis that the antioxidant nature of TBili, demonstrating a protective effect with regard to the risk of stroke, atherosclerosis, and vasculitis in prior research, also extends to DM risk. Furthermore, research has shown that higher levels of TBili increase glucose mobilization into the cells, leading to more efficient, biologic glucose utilization. There is no doubt that the beneficial effect of TBili is multifactorial; thus further investigation is warranted.
Bilirubin; Diabetes; Antioxidant; Protective
Background and Aim
Housing programmes in indigenous Australian communities have focused largely on achieving good standards of infrastructure function. The impact of this approach was assessed on three potentially important housing-related influences on child health at the community level: (1) crowding, (2) the functional state of the house infrastructure and (3) the hygienic condition of the houses.
A before-and-after study, including house infrastructure surveys and structured interviews with the main householder, was conducted in all homes of young children in 10 remote Australian indigenous communities.
Compared with baseline, follow-up surveys showed (1) a small non-significant decrease in the mean number of people per bedroom in the house on the night before the survey (3.4, 95% CI 3.1 to 3.6 at baseline vs 3.2, 95% CI 2.9 to 3.4 at follow-up; natural logarithm transformed t test, t=1.3, p=0.102); (2) a marginally significant overall improvement in infrastructure function scores (Kruskal–Wallis test, χ2=3.9, p=0.047); and (3) no clear overall improvement in hygiene (Kruskal–Wallis test, χ2=0.3, p=0.605).
Housing programmes of this scale that focus on the provision of infrastructure alone appear unlikely to lead to more hygienic general living environments, at least in this study context. A broader ecological approach to housing programmes delivered in these communities is needed if potential health benefits are to be maximised. This ecological approach would require a balanced programme of improving access to health hardware, hygiene promotion and creating a broader enabling environment in communities.
Housing; Indigenous health; crowding; hygiene; child; housing infrastructure; health policy; ecological approach; aboriginal populations; environmental health; policy development; public health FQ
The Centre for Data Linkage (CDL) has been established to enable national and cross-jurisdictional health-related research in Australia. It has been funded through the Population Health Research Network (PHRN), a national initiative established under the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). This paper describes the development of the processes and methodology required to create cross-jurisdictional research infrastructure and enable aggregation of State and Territory linkages into a single linkage “map”.
The CDL has implemented a linkage model which incorporates best practice in data linkage and adheres to data integration principles set down by the Australian Government. Working closely with data custodians and State-based data linkage facilities, the CDL has designed and implemented a linkage system to enable research at national or cross-jurisdictional level. A secure operational environment has also been established with strong governance arrangements to maximise privacy and the confidentiality of data.
The development and implementation of a cross-jurisdictional linkage model overcomes a number of challenges associated with the federated nature of health data collections in Australia. The infrastructure expands Australia’s data linkage capability and provides opportunities for population-level research. The CDL linkage model, infrastructure architecture and governance arrangements are presented. The quality and capability of the new infrastructure is demonstrated through the conduct of data linkage for the first PHRN Proof of Concept Collaboration project, where more than 25 million records were successfully linked to a very high quality.
This infrastructure provides researchers and policy-makers with the ability to undertake linkage-based research that extends across jurisdictional boundaries. It represents an advance in Australia’s national data linkage capabilities and sets the scene for stronger government-research collaboration.
Data linkage; Infrastructure; Population; Health; Research
Interest in monitoring the quality of health care in the United States has increased in recent years. However, the policy objectives associated with collecting this information are constrained by the limited availability of timely and relevant data at a reasonable cost. Online data-collection technologies hold the promise of gathering data directly and inexpensively from large, representative samples of patients and consumers. These new information technologies also permit efficient, real-time assessment in such areas as health status, access to care, and other aspects of the care experience that impact health outcomes.
This study investigates the feasibility, validity, and generalizability of consumer online surveys to measure key aspects of health care quality in the United States.
Surveys about the health and health care experiences of a general adult population and of adults with diabetes were administered online and by telephone. The online survey drew from a sample frame of nearly 1 million consumers and used a single e-mail notification. The random-digit-dial methodology included 6 follow-up calls. Results from the online sample were compared to the telephone sample and to national benchmark data.
Survey responses about quality of care collected using online and telephone methods were commensurate once they were weighted to represent the demographic distribution of the 2000 United States Census. Expected variations in health and health care quality across demographic and socioeconomic groups were largely observed, as were hypothesized associations among quality indicators and other variables. Fewer individuals were required to be contacted to achieve target sample sizes using online versus telephone methods. Neither method yielded representative cohorts of nonwhite individuals.
Conclusions about the level and variations in health care quality in the United States are similar using data collected in this study compared to data collected using other telephone-based survey methods. As is typical for national telephone surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, stratified sampling and weighting of survey responses is necessary for results to be generalizable. Online methods are more appropriate for understanding health care quality than for conducting epidemiologic assessments of health in the United States.
Quality of health care; data collection; Internet; health care surveys; consumers