SHADAC Expertise

Population Health

Population Health

Population health is an interdisciplinary field of public health research that focuses on the health outcomes, health determinants, and policies that affect a specific group of individuals, or “population.” As much of population health outcomes are the results of determinants of health (e.g., policies, clinical care, public health, genetics, behaviors, social factors, environmental factors, disparities, etc.), population health is closely interwoven with numerous other arenas of public health research in which SHADAC conducts much of our work, such as Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health, Health Coverage and Access to Care, and Health Cost and Affordability.

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.

Relevant SHADAC work includes:

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.

Targeting Justice-Involved Populations through 1115 Medicaid Waiver Initiatives: Implementation experiences of three states
Through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Research in Transforming Health” program, SHADAC researchers are conducting a study to understand how three states—Illinois, Texas, and Washington— are addressing the needs of justice-involved populations through implementation of Section 1115 Medicaid waiver programs. The specific aim of the study is to identify promising practices and lessons learned related to the development, implementation, and management of these innovative behavioral health policies with the purpose of informing policy development in states considering similar 1115 waivers.

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. The profile can be used to support targeted outreach and enrollment activities of health insurance navigators and provide information about the uninsured to policymakers as they develop strategies to reach the remaining uninsured in Minnesota.

Study of the Impact of the ACA Implementation in Kentucky
SHADAC conducted a multi-year study of the Impact of Implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky. Through the project, funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, SHADAC monitored pre- and post-ACA trends in five domains; Health insurance coverage, Access, Costs, Quality, and Health Outcomes.