Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-7448-7259

Date of Award

Summer 7-8-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Christine Stauber

Second Advisor

Dajun Dai

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Characterized as a condition that affects the heart or blood vessels, cardiovascular heart disease is the leading cause of death and illness in the United States and globally. This condition disproportionately affects individuals of lower socioeconomic status. The Urban Health Index (UHI) may be utilized to understand health inequities, allowing for more effective resource allocation and targeted community intervention programs.

AIM: The focus of this study is to geographically analyze and characterize socioeconomic conditions to better map and measure health inequalities in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) from 2000 to 2019.

METHODS: A literature review identified the social, physical, and environmental determinants associated with cardiovascular disease. The US Census Bureau database was accessed to obtain the four indicators of interest from the 2000 Decennial Census Summary File 3 (SF3) and the 2010-2015 American Community Survey (ACS). The UHI was utilized to quantify the health inequalities within the CSRA for six timeframes: 2000-2004, 2005-2009, 2010-2014, 2015-2019, 2000-2009, and 2010-2019. In addition, age-adjusted mortality rates of cardiovascular heart disease mirroring the designated timeframes were obtained from CDC Wonder. This allowed for the calculation of Pearson correlation coefficients to understand the association between the resultant index scores and age-adjusted mortality rate of cardiovascular disease.

RESULTS: Bivariate correlation analysis show a strong association between the UHI and age-adjusted mortality rate of cardiovascular disease across all selected timeframes. The spatial distribution of county-level UHI values visualized for the CSRA reflect an improvement observed from 2010-2014. Overall, from 2000 to 2019, there is a decrease in mortality for cardiovascular disease and increase in population health and equity.

DISCUSSION: Although statistically significant correlations were identified with the bivariate analyses, further investigation is necessary due to limitations in data for the indicators of interest. Despite this drawback, the study established the feasibility of using the UHI calculation to visualize and measure health inequities in the CSRA and associations with cardiovascular disease.

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