225080 All aboard? “Counting” determinants of health with communities before and after light rail transit construction

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 9:30 AM - 9:45 AM

Sara Dunlap, MPH , Environmental Health, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN
Tannie Eshenaur, MPH , Environmental Health, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN
James Kelly, MS , Environmental Health, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN
Jill Korinek, BA , Environmental Health, Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, MN
The proposed Central Corridor Light Rail transit system linking Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN has the potential to promote redevelopment and impact public health in surrounding communities. To track broad environmental changes affecting public health, Minnesota Department of Health's (MDH) Healthy Communities Count! project used “Counts” to establish baseline measures.

Purpose of the Work: MDH's project goals are to educate communities about the determinants of health, provide communities with tools to assess local health status, and promote public health and investments in brownfield redevelopment.

Methods: Two types of counts were used. Local groups created “Community Counts” by identifying neighborhood health concerns. MDH developed “Core Counts” to measure factors along the entire corridor, including healthy food access, asthma hospitalizations, lead abatements, and brownfields. MDH obtained data for “Counts” from the US Census, environmental health, health statistics, and municipal datasets. MDH also held meetings and workshops with community groups, local environmental health, and state and local health promotion programs to collect information for “Counts”. Staff created GIS maps, fact sheets, and MDH webpages to convey health information. Results and Implications:Incorporating local input in GIS maps and fact sheets increased trust of communities in the project process. The project also disseminated information for community groups to use in planning and health promotion activities.

Recommendations:Steps for continued success of the project include transferring data collection strategies to communities for re-analysis after construction of LRT. MDH can also establish a network of experts to help guide community groups through identifying and re-measuring counts.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
1.Compare two strengths and weaknesses of “Community” versus “Core” counts 2.Describe three ways how health information empowers community groups to promote physical changes in the environment 3.List additional potential “Core” or “Community” counts to assess determinants of health in underrepresented communities.

Keywords: Community Health Assessment, Geographic Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have been an integral part of program development to improve community health promotion capacity and responsible for data analysis and GIS mapping.
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.