199644 America's Health Rankings as Policy Stimulus

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:30 PM

Elizabeth Walker, MSPH , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Chapel Hill, NC
Thomas C. Ricketts, PhD, MPH , Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
America's Health Rankings have become an important overall measure of the nation's health and a comparative indicator of population health status for states. The rankings have stimulated states and community agencies to modify or implement programs and policies that are designed to improve population health. However, there are emerging trends that require the rankings to be re-assessed: the compression of mortality makes some components, e.g. occupational mortality, of the rankings potentially obsolete. Other trends including rising obesity rates require additional attention. The inability to accurately measure the intensity of public health measures presents another problem for anticipating improvements in health. The relative contribution of prevention versus certain levels of health care delivery challenges us to identify the appropriate inputs for a summary measures of population health. Lastly, the development of genetic and genomic screens and interventions that emphasize both personal choices and environmental controls will present additional future concerns about how to prospectively measure health. This session will describe how those trends have been factored into the Rankings process and how the rankings can then be interpreted by its target audience to help foster more effective policy change. This has been accomplished by expanding the “components of change” model that guides the development of the rankings to give greater emphasis to the two key issues: clinical care and its effects on mortality in later life and genetic and genomic interventions and overall prevention. The policy responses that make use of the Rankings include: 1. Responses to media coverage of first and last place states to highlight state and community level programs to increase visibility and effect; 2. Use in teaching in public health programs to help students learn how to cope with medical attention as they craft management decisions and strategic policy; and 3. Creating locally applicable rankings.

Learning Objectives:
Those attending will understand how the America's Health Rankings have generated policy responses, be able to describe those policy responses, and will be able to assess how they can be used in their own organizations and communities.

Keywords: Federal Policy, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participate in the development of the Americas Health Rankings methodology and I develop summaries and presentations on its impact
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
United Health Foundation state public health rankings Grant funding from UHF funds part of my salary at the University of North Carolina

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.