Project updates, commentaries, events and news about health across the nation from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps team.

Research grants will explore local health data, how our rankings impact communities

Thursday, July 9, 2015
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Earlier this year, we released a call for applications for research grants to help strengthen and evaluate our Rankings. The County Health Rankings Research Grants aim to use quantitative analyses of Rankings data or results; propose refinement of current methodology used in the Rankings model; or study the quantitative or qualitative impact of the Rankings.

Nearly 70 institutions and researchers submitted proposals, and we wanted to share a little about the work to be done by the five groups awarded funding:

  • Arizona State University will incorporate county-area financial information from all governmental entities within a local county in order to assess public investments that may bear directly and indirectly on our Health Outcomes and Health Factors scores.
  • Drexel University will collect and analyze qualitative data from counties that experienced a meaningful change in rank to explore how, and by whom, the Rankings are used when a county’s rank changes.
  • Washington University in St. Louis and the Missouri Hospital Association will develop sub-county-level measures of population health using data that are available at the ZIP code level for Missouri counties. It will also evaluate the relationship between existing county-level health information in the Rankings and separate county-level health data derived from sub-county methodologies.
  • The New York Academy of Medicine will use big data analytics (machine learning data mining techniques) to identify clusters of counties with various levels of population health outcomes and combinations of measures/factors associated with better or worse outcomes; identify different pathways through which decision-makers and leaders can target interventions and design programs to improve health outcomes; and generate practical rules that can be used to predict future health outcomes if certain health factors are improved.
  • Washington State University and Clemson University will investigate the role of county-level health factors in predicting individual well-being outcomes in response to economic stressors (such as unemployment and underemployment, economic deprivation, job insecurity, and perceived financial adequacy).

The grants are underway and go through June 2016.