How Geographic Data Supports Population Health During COVID-19

Jul. 13, 2020

Jessica Kent

Health IT Analytics

Although COVID-19 has spread to communities around the world, as the pandemic wears on it’s clear that the virus has impacted some populations more than others.

Studies have demonstrated the disproportionate effects COVID-19 has had on minority communities, individuals with comorbidities, and older adults. These trends have led researchers to increasingly examine geographic data and pinpoint where to target population health efforts.

“There has been a fair amount of conversation about COVID-19 being an equal opportunity killer. But frankly, that’s just not true,” Helen Dowling, MPH, data in action coordinator for the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, recently told HealthITAnalytics.

“There are communities that are dying at much higher rates than others, and it’s really important that we look at the data, spell it out by race and ethnicity, and focus on how we can improve the communities where these individuals live.”

To better understand where to direct resources, researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine recently developed a city-oriented COVID Local Risk Index. The tool calculates COVID-19 risk down to the hyperlocal, neighborhood level by relying on key health, economic, and social data at the census tract level. The index also allows for comparison of COVID-19 risk across other cities and between neighborhoods.

“While COVID-19 affects every community, we know its harm is disproportionately greater in certain groups, including people of color, those with underlying health conditions, older people, and frontline workers with low incomes,” said Marc N. Gourevitch, MD, MPH, the Muriel G. and George W. Singer Professor of Population Health and chair of the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone, as well as the principal architect of the City Health Dashboard.

Read More

Explore More