Forum Session

Getting Real: Data Sources, the Evidence Base, and Strategies for Improving the Health of Communities
September 24, 2010


Michele J. Orza, ScD & Jessamy Taylor, MPP


Both the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provide substantial new resources for communities to look beyond health care to improve their health status. But working on the personal, social, and environmental determinants of health can be easier said than done.  This session explored the data sources available for communities to understand their health status and measure their progress, the evidence base for effective community-based interventions, and the experience of several communities in developing and implementing strategies for improving their health.


David Kindig, MD, PhD, Senior Advisor, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, Emeritus Professor of Population Health Sciences and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine; Shawna Mercer, PhD, Director, Guide to Community Preventive Services, Chief, Community Guide Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Lillian Rivera, PhD, Administrator, Miami-Dade County Health Department; Mary Kushion, Health Officer, Central Michigan District Health Department

Slides from the presentations by Dr. Kindig, Dr. Mercer, Dr. Rivera, and Ms. Kushion are available for download.

Related Materials

For additional information on the topics discussed, see University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “County Health Rankings”; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “Community Health Status Indicators” and "Community Health Data Initiative"; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Guide to Community Preventive Services”; and Preventing Chronic Disease, 7, no. 4 (July 2010) and 7, no. 5 (September 2010)

See also these related Forum resources: "Focus on Reform: Public Health Provisions" (Forum Session, June 25, 2010); "Governmental Public Health: An Overview of State and Local Public Health Agencies" (Background Paper 77, August 18, 2010); "Transforming Health Care Delivery: Insights from the New Orleans Safety Net" (Forum Session, April 16, 2010); "Resilience and Renaissance: Efforts to Rebuild a Healthier New Orleans" (Site Visit, May 26–28, 2009); "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Examining the Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Health" (Forum Session, March 14, 2008); "High Hopes: Public Health Approaches to Reducing the Need for Health Care" (Background Paper No. 78); "Unusual Suspects: Focusing on Nonmedical Determinants to Improve the Nation's Health" (Forum Session, November 5, 2010); and "Health Impact Assessments: What, Why, How, Who, Where?" (Forum Session, December 3, 2010).

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