Mission Possible: Addressing Health Disparities in Heart Disease and Stroke Outcomes

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of  death in the united states. The prevalence of heart disease is higher in certain groups of people. These group of people include those associated with poverty and lack of education. Also, people associated with racial and ethnic minorities. Areas such as Southeast, Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, experience a higher prevalence in heart disease because they experience a lower education rate and a higher poverty rate. They also have a hard time accessing health care and community supports. Heart diseases today are characterized by tobacco use, poor diet and lack of physical activity. Public health helps to prevent and reduce tobacco use, improve nutrition, increase opportunities for physical activity. this helps control the rate of heart disease in some populations.

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Health care is broken. Oscar Health thinks Tech can fix it.

America’s healthcare industry is a mess: from confusing regulations to perverse incentives. Meanwhile, Mario Schlosser, the CEO of Oscar Health, has moved from academia and created a company, called Oscar, with Joshua Kushner (brother of Jared Kushner) to try to solve these problems. “The goal of Oscar is to do to health care what Uber did to the taxi industry: use smart digital technology to make everything faster and easier for customers, and then use the data gathered to build radically new services, which can collect more data that leads to new services.” said Schlosser. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has committed roughly $375 million in investments to this digital relief.

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https://www.wired.com/story/oscar-health-ceo-mario-schlosser-interview/

Who doesn’t have health insurance?

There are multiple reasons why some individuals in the US have health insurance and others do not.  Affordability, knowledge of health insurance policies and awareness of need are just some reasons one may or may not have health insurance. To raise public awareness about the social determinants that increase one’s susceptibility to developing heart disease and stroke, in 2014 the CDC released a map of the percentage of adults in the US who are under the age of 65 and are uninsured. This map highlights areas of the country that are severely uninsured compared to areas where almost no one is without health insurance.

To read more about the CDC’s efforts at addressing heart disease and stroke in the US, please visit their website here.

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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Percent of Population Under Age 65 without Health Insurance. Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/maps/sd_insurance.htm

Heat Mapping in GA using GIS

The CDC conducted an interesting case study in which they mapped areas in Georgia that were most at risk to hazardous exposure from climate change. This map includes indicators such as percent of population below poverty level, percent 65 or older living alone, heat event exposure, percent of dialysis patients covered by Medicare, hospital insufficiency and percent impervious surface. To learn more information about how this study was conducted, check out the website here.

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Source: https://health2016.globalchange.gov/populations-concern

GA County Health Rankings

The Georgia Department of Public Health (GADPH) created maps of the health factors and outcomes in all of the counties in Georgia. The list of health factors include health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment. However, there is no mention of any oral health indicators. Health outcomes are defined as length and quality of life. Maps of these indicators and outcomes are helpful to better understand the impact of health issues in various populations. In the map below, the green counties represent health outcomes and the blue counties represent health factors.

Click on the source link below to access more information about GADPH’s state-wide data mapping efforts.

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Source: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/app/georgia/2018/overview#!%2Fgeorgia%2F2018%2Foverview

 

Surveillance of Hepatitis A Outbreaks: State-by-State Counts from 2017-2018

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In the midst of newsworthy Hepatitis A outbreaks in Kentucky, San Diego, and Michigan, this map depicts the number of Hepatitis A incidents across the United States from 2017-2018. The number fluctuations in each state over the last year is alarming considering that there are few national regulations being put into place in the realm of food safety. Catherine Huddle from Food Safety News explains that although the CDC recommends that all children should be vaccinated at the ages of 1 and 2, ” the CDC has not recommended Hepatitis A vaccinations for food service workers” (Huddle, 2018). We can only hope that more information and awareness of Hepatitis A outbreaks can help force a decline in it’s prevalence. For more information of state reported Hepatitis A incidents you can visit the Food Safety News web page.

Locating HPSAs for Dental Care in Georgia using GIS

Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) or Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P) are designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) based on HRSA’s shortage designation criteria. According to HRSA,

“HPSAs may be designated as having a shortage of primary medical care, dental or mental health providers. They may be urban or rural areas, population groups, or medical or other public facilities. MUAs may be a whole county or a group of contiguous counties, a group of counties or civil divisions, or a group of urban census tracts in which residents have a shortage of health services. MUPs may include groups of persons who face economic, cultural or linguistic barriers to health care.”

The HRSA website allows you find health related information using GIS. Information is sectioned by dental, mental and primary health, by state and even county.

Take a look at the map below to see the HPSAs for dental health care in Georgia.

 

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Source: https://datawarehouse.hrsa.gov/topics/shortageareas.aspx