189177 Assessment of County-Level Factors that Contribute to Environmental Injustice and Health Disparities

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 9:15 AM

Sacoby Wilson, MS, PhD , Institute for Families in Society, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Mahasin S. Mujahid, MS, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, University of Michgian, Ann Arbor, MI
Malo A. Hutson, PhD , City & Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
The objective of this research is to examine the contribution of ecologic features of the built and social environments to environmental injustice, population health and environmental health disparities. Using a new ecological framework, we seek to understand the role that environmental conditions play in driving the health of human ecological systems, population health and health disparities in the United States.

Social and environmental conditions act as constraints that shape how new conditions emerge as ecologic salutogens (factors that support health) or ecologic pathogens (factors that create negative health such as quality of life impacts and health disparities). We built a national database of ecologic salutogens and pathogens at the county level for 1990 to 2006. This dataset contains information on ecologic salutogens (i.e., health-promoting factors) such as grocery stores, parks, green space, medical facilities, social service organizations; ecologic pathogens (i.e., health-negating factors) such as fast food restaurants, liquor stores, urban blight, unhealthy transportation networks, hazardous air pollution emissions, toxic waste sites, health variables including life expectancy, infant mortality, percent low birthweight, crime-related mortality, injury mortality, cancer mortality, and compositional data (segregation, race/ethnicity, and SES).

We have employed Geographic Information Systems (GIS), regression analysis, and other analytical methods to assess the relationship between ecologic salutogens and pathogens and population health indicators across counties with varying levels of segregation, racial/ethnic populations, and SES. We will present results from these analyses and discuss the implications of this work for urban planning and public health to address environmental health disparities.

Learning Objectives:
To describe an ecological framework used to study and address environmental justice and health issues To understand variation in the distribution of positive and negative ecologic features of the environment across race/ethnicity and SES To understand the relationship between the distribution of positive and negative ecologic features of the environment and health outcomes at the county level To learn how GIS can be used to develop novel indicators of environmental health

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am trained as an environmental health scientist and am performing research to understand the linkages between ecologic features of the environment and environmental injustice and health disparities
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.