County by County Blog

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

Recent research grantees post novel findings

Publication date
October 4, 2023

Between 2021 and 2023, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (CHR&R) funded seven research projects that focused on the structural determinants of health and innovative ways to source, measure and refine CHR&R data. Grantees included the University of Wisconsin, George Mason University, the University of Kansas, Utah State University, the University of Texas at Arlington and the Center for Practical Bioethics. 

Among the recent findings:

  • The University of Wisconsin examined measures of structural racism — such as residential segregation and mortgage discrimination — and their relationship to maternal and child health disparities. Researchers found consistent connections between structural racism and adverse maternal, child and health outcomes for Black individuals. 
  • Researchers from George Mason University evaluated new measures to represent household and social support within counties, including multigenerational households and segregation. They found that multigenerational households had unexpected patterns and relationships to health outcomes and that older minority adults experienced the highest levels of segregation.
  • The University of Kansas looked at how climate change indicators such as drought, extreme heat, extreme cold and natural disasters, interacted with racial inequity to predict patterns of health outcomes in communities. The results revealed significant impacts on population health and equity.
  • Utah State University expanded on disparity index research to look at disparities by sex, race and geography at the household level. Results showed that choices inherent to disparity measurement varied in importance, but that it was essential to account for diversity within geography.
  • Researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington conceptualized the impact of county governance on health and racial/ethnic inequities, then compared findings in unincorporated areas to municipal areas. They discovered that counties with more unincorporated areas had poorer health factors and outcomes and greater health disparities.
  • A research team from the University of Wisconsin looked at the race/ethnicity of residents in different neighborhoods and how the way resources were allocated in each location contributed to inequity in neighborhoods. They showed that wealthy, predominantly white neighborhoods had more activity space and better access to resources.
  • The Center for Practical Bioethics created a democratic deliberation toolkit to advance health equity. The toolkit was designed to create connection and dialogue around civics and to foster social solidarity across race, class and geography. 

Find more information on past research projects.

The 2024 County Health Rankings Research Grant Call for Proposals is now available. Application deadline is November 10, 2023.

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