Earlier this year we solicited innovative research proposals for County Health Rankings Research Grants. These grants serve an important role in strengthening our Rankings methods and increasing their strategic use and impacts. Now we’re excited to share the projects selected for funding through this competitive process:
Considering health and social services spending (Arizona State University)During our last round of research grants, Arizona State University researchers found that higher spending for certain social services led to relative over-performance in health rankings when compared to a community’s wealth – and that additional spending led to improved health rankings four years later. Following up on those findings, ASU’s project will examine the feasibility – and characterize the effects – of incorporating detailed measures for health and social services spending into our Rankings.
A detailed look at our methodology (Harvard University)Researchers from Harvard University will be looking at the methodology behind our Rankings to review the infrastructure and design of how the Rankings are calculated. The review will look at our framework, weighting scheme, and other attributes for possible improvements.
Factoring in the physical environment (Rutgers University)The Rankings incorporate a number of measures to evaluate the physical environment – from air and water quality to the built environment. A team from Rutgers University will develop a variety of physical environment measures from new data sources, and see if measures piloted in New Jersey could be scaled nationwide.
Evaluating education (University of South Carolina)
Building off of the educational and social measures used in the Rankings, researchers from the University of South Carolina will evaluate new county-level measures related to school quality, academic achievement, and other education-related topics. The project will also explore relationships between these measures and health outcomes.