SHADAC Expertise

Population Health

Population Health

Population health research focuses on the health outcomes, health determinants, and policies and programs that affect a specific group of individuals, or “population.” SHADAC researchers often conduct population health research by geographic levels, most often for states, but also offer technical assistance to state researchers and policy analysts who might be interested in looking at population health by county or city. Other examples of SHADAC’s population health expertise focus around studies of health disparities for a particular measure based on race or ethnicity, income level, or education level and assessments of state health information exchange policies.

Related SHADAC work
Click on any title below to learn more about the project.

Internet Access Measures the Impact of the Digital Divide and COVID-19
The lack of equitable access to broadband internet services across all households has been an issue of concern among health care experts even prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, the problem of digital divide was studied in terms of barriers to health plan application and enrollment during the rollout of the newly developed online health insurance marketplace. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, lack of access to broadband internet services has also emerged as a potential challenge to efforts to respond to the coronavirus; not only in preventing individuals from accessing the real-time information they need surrounding COVID-19, but also in lost chances for utilization of telemedicine services, ability to work remotely, keeping pace with an e-learning curriculum, or to help mitigate the dangers of social isolation while practicing social distancing. SHADAC researchers explore the variation in access to broadband internet across states, and reveal disparities by income, rurality, coverage, and disability status.

BRFSS Spotlight Series
This three-part infographic series from SHADAC focuses on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, an annual telephone survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that collects data from respondents across all 50 states and D.C. regarding health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Our analysis focused on health behaviors—smoking and e-cigarette use, binge drinking, and obesity— for adults (age 18 and older) and, when appropriate or particularly relevant, included breakdowns by race/ethnicity and educational attainment. These measures are available on SHADAC's State Health Compare.

Suicide Rates on the Rise: State and National Trends and Variation in Suicide Deaths from 2000 to 2018
Death rates from suicide in the United States have been increasing at an alarming pace, rising from 10.4 to 14.2 per 100,000 people from 2000 to 2018 (an increase of 37 percent). As part of an analysis aiming to shed more light on this growing public health concern, SHADAC researchers have produced two issue briefs that provide high-level information regarding trends in suicide deaths from 2000 to 2018. Each brief presents historical context for the troubling recent acceleration in the rise of suicide rates and mortality in the United States, and examines trends in suicide-related mortality across the nation and states, and among specific population subgroups.

Minnesota’s Uninsured Profile and Interactive Map
A resource, created by SHADAC with essential guidance from the advisory board of MNsure navigators and policymakers and supported by a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, was developed as part of “Minnesota’s Uninsured and the Communities in Which They Live,” a project designed to both support targeted outreach and enrollment activities of health insurance navigators, and provide information about the uninsured to Minnesota policymakers as they develop strategies to reach the remaining uninsured in Minnesota. This profile and interactive map provide rates and counts of the uninsured in Minnesota at the ZIP code (i.e., Census-defined ZIP code), county, economic development region, legislative district (senate and house), and state level. It compares characteristics of the total population to the uninsured population within a select community. 

Assessment of State Health Information Exchange Policy
On behalf of the Connecticut Health Foundation, SHADAC authored a policy brief exploring the launch of a new statewide health information exchange (HIE)—called the “Health Information Alliance”— in Connecticut. In addition to providing context for the state’s new HIE, the brief also offers an overview of the current landscape in Connecticut related to information exchange and describes opportunities and potential obstacles going forward, such as the need for robust provider participation, provision of incentives to ensure participation, and the development of a long-term funding and patient engagement strategy. To inform this work, SHADAC researchers conducted a review of select national and state literature and organized interviews with key stakeholders both in Connecticut and in other states that are further along with statewide HIE efforts, with the goal of helping policymakers and those interested in patient care and population health understand where the state is today, what’s coming, and what to consider for success.