184186 Mapping social determinants to enhance health inequities

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 11:10 AM

Patricia G. Bray, PhD , Health Charities, St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities, Houston, TX
Jane Peranteau, PhD , St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities, Houston, TX
Thomas F. Reynolds, PhD , School of Public Health Institute for Health Policy, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Houston, TX
Background: The World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health is releasing a new report this year as a call to action for a global movement to find and ameliorate the causes of social inequities. One of the tools we have employed in ten years of utilizing a community-based research approach is to include social and economic indicators of health as a measure of disadvantage in a comprehensive geographic information system. These indicators have been geocoded at the census tract level for analysis with other measures. Objective/Purpose: The purpose has been to identify more robustly the underserved in sub-county areas of a very large urban city and surrounding areas. Methods: Using primary and secondary data, we have combined indicators such as poverty, uninsured rates, race/ethnicity and mortality to assist in the identification of the underserved. Additionally, we have included specific classes of resources, such as safety net clinics, licensed child care centers, schools and health care services. All of these indicators are presented on interactive maps and accessed through targeted portals, such as the Project Safety Net portal. Results: The results have included increased knowledge and awareness about the underserved in a major US city, leading to increased access to health care, enhanced capacity and more empowered community residents. By using a social determinants approach, selected neighborhoods can be identified as disadvantaged, thus helping to prioritize needed public health interventions, and in turn, leading to a more just health system. Discussion/Conclusions: Targeted GIS portals can be implemented to assist public health planners, providers and the interested public to achieve a more equitable health system, as proposed by the WHO.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand how GIS can accommodate a social determinants approach to community-based research. 2. Explain how a GIS-social determinants approach can lead to a more robust analysis of health inequities. 3. Discuss how the benefits of using a GIS-social determinants approach can assist public health advocates in achieving a more just health system.

Keywords: Social Inequalities, Community Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in health care for 25 years, public health for 15 years, have a PhD in Public Health, currently do community-based research and teach at the University of Texas School of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.