Stay Up-to-Date With Exciting New Developments of the Healthy Places Index®
The Healthy Places Index® and Healthy Places Index®: Extreme Heat Edition have been part of the many exciting new projects and policies aiming to promote racial and health equity. This page keeps users up to date on the latest developments through HPI in the News, Case Studies, Webinars, and Academic Literature. Check out more below!
The Utah Healthy Places Index (Utah HPI), a joint project between the Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Public Health Alliance,) and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is being honored with the 2023 Chronic Disease Innovator Impact Award by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). The Chronic Disease Innovator Award is given to a state, tribal, or territorial Chronic Disease Unit that demonstrates an innovative approach to reducing the burden of chronic disease prevention and control. This prestigious recognition highlights the powerful role the Healthy Places Index and its iterations play in improving health in underserved communities, cementing its reputation as a leading model of health innovation nationwide. Developed by the Public Health Alliance, the California Healthy Places Index (HPI) has emerged as a cornerstone in community health promotion — directing over $4.2 billion in equitable investments and influencing over 300 cross-sector policies and programs throughout California. When Utah expressed interest in a custom version of the HPI, the Public Health Alliance swiftly rose to the occasion. Leveraging our established HPI platform, we collaborated with DHHS to develop a version tuned to the unique community conditions that impact health in the state. This provides Utah’s policymakers, academic researchers, and community leaders with unparalleled insights into health disparities and areas primed for transformative change. With the help of the Public Health Alliance, DHHS created training guides, and within nine months of its launch, 1,800 people were trained to use the Utah HPI.
"Through the Utah HPI, we've showcased that the HPI model's tailored approach to health equity can drive significant community health improvements. The success of HPI and its suite of products in both California and Utah highlights the promise of state-specific HPIs in advancing health equity nationwide. What sets HPI apart is its customizable and adaptable framework. Our experience with Utah has refined our approach to crafting state-adjusted HPIs. Our goal with HPI is to forge a healthier future, one state at a time,” said Helen Dowling, MPH, Director of Data Initiatives, the Public Health Alliance of Southern California.
Through tools like the HPI, we're reminded that beneath data points lie stories of communities and the promise of a healthier, more equitable tomorrow. We look forward to seeing how the Utah HPI continues to evolve and foster change in the future!
To learn more visit the Cision PR Newswire.
September 29, 2023
The Los Angeles Times features the Healthy Places Index Extreme Heat Edition (HPI: EHE) in an article that discusses the growing trend of Californians moving inland for more affordable housing, only to confront escalating extreme heat. Drawing on the HPI: EHE, the article paints a stark climate picture for places like Contra Costa County, which is expected to experience an average of 71 extreme heat days annually between 2035 and 2064. Similarly, San Joaquin County braces for about 121 days, with temperatures soaring above 90 degrees each year in the same period. The LA Times extended the insights from HPI: EHE by cross-referencing them with data from the California Association of Realtors. The resulting analysis underscored a telling connection between housing prices and projected heat. It found pricier counties are less likely to face searing heat projections, while more affordable areas are disproportionately impacted. The analysis also singles out six counties, including Lassen, where affordable housing coincides with fewer expected extreme heat days each year. The piece calls attention to a critical policy gap: the need to harmonize California's housing affordability strategies with its climate action plans. It points out that affordable housing continues to be prioritized in areas most susceptible to extreme heat, even as the state's population is predicted to rise in the heat-vulnerable Central Valley but decline in cooler coastal cities. The article discusses that Californians relocating to hotter, inland communities will need more than affordable housing. They'll require amenities like robust tree cover, efficient heating and cooling systems, and readily available neighborhood cooling centers for emergencies. This journalistic application of HPI: EHE underscores that it is a powerful tool for informing analyses and pinpointing communities at the most significant risk from heat events. HPI: EHE not only informs crucial conversations but has the power to inform policy decisions in various sectors, including housing, to address the intersection and implications of social determinants of health and climate change on public health.
To read the full report visit the Los Angeles Times. This story also ran in The Seattle Times and Star Beacon.
Researchers from the University of California's Nutrition Policy Institute used the HPI to study the effects of changes in SNAP-Ed programs before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. They wanted to understand if a neighborhood's "healthiness," as measured by its HPI score, influenced how these educational programs on nutrition changed during the pandemic compared to the year prior. The study reveals that neighborhoods with lower HPI scores, indicating less healthy conditions, saw bigger reductions in aspects of SNAP-Ed programs. The findings show areas already struggling during the pandemic—with issues like limited healthcare access and disproportionate overcrowded housing—experienced more significant cuts in programs to teach people about healthy eating and obesity prevention.
Using the HPI not only propelled research but added context to these findings, illustrating that communities already facing health inequities saw even greater reductions in critical educational programs on nutrition. This use case highlights the HPI's efficacy for evaluating interventions' success over time and identifying program areas that need improvement. It also emphasizes the importance of considering a community's overall health and well-being when implementing programs like SNAP-Ed, especially during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings point to the urgent need to focus public health efforts on less healthy and under-resourced communities, especially in the face of current and emerging public health crises.
To read the full report visit ScienceDirect
Modesto Sound, a nonprofit music studio located in Modesto, California, has been awarded $255,000 by the Kern Dance Alliance's KDA Creative Corps grant. This grant will support a new podcast project, the California Audio Roots, aimed at promoting health equity and improving the living conditions of individuals residing within the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index (HPI.)
Focusing on populations facing ongoing marginalization, the podcast will uplift stories to foster social justice and stimulate community engagement by addressing and exploring solutions for prevalent community issues.
Modesto Sound is a proud recipient of the Creative Corps Pilot Program, an initiative by the California Arts Council that’s allocating $60 million for community-driven artistic projects. The program is designed to tackle the health disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, by prioritizing funding for art projects in communities that are in the lowest quartile of the HPI to promote civic engagement. Presently, Modesto Sound has engaged 20 contributors for the podcast series and intends to increase this number to approximately 80 participants. Each participant will be rewarded with $150 for their contributions. The podcast series will be aired on local community radio stations and will also be made accessible on the Modesto Sound website, SoundCloud, and Spotify.
To read the full story visit YahooNews or The Modesto Bee
UCLA Luskin Center students published a report titled "Turning Down the Heat: Addressing Heat Inequities of Frontline Communities in Los Angeles." The report utilizes the Healthy Places Index Extreme Heat Edition (HPI EHE) and other tools, such as focus groups and surveys, to assess natural hazards and extreme heat risks in the city. The report notes Los Angeles is rated by FEMA as the city with the highest risk of natural hazards, especially extreme heat linked to climate change, while communities of color and low-income households face greater impacts due to historical injustices like redlining, resulting in unfair distribution of resources to combat extreme heat. Students developed equitable heat policy recommendations and strategies to enhance resilience in vulnerable Los Angeles communities. Recommendations include expanding green spaces, providing at-home heat adaptation resources, distributing shade structures and water access equitably, improving communication on heat adaptation resources, implementing community ambassador programs, enhancing workplace heat training accessibility, and expanding resilience centers. The report also suggests steps to improve equity within existing policies and programs, while addressing disparities faced by historically marginalized communities due to climate change and natural hazards.
Read the full report at escholarship.org
San Benito County Clerk-Recorder-Elections and Costanoan Indian Research Inc. join the list of 23 Central Coast organizations awarded $140,000 grants by the Central Coast Creative Corps (CCCC) Program. This program is an extension of the California Arts Council's Creative Corps Pilot Program, which is funding collaborations between organizations and artists on year-long artistic projects. These projects focus on key issues, including climate resilience, public health, civic engagement, and social justice. The selection process required the use of the Healthy Places Index (HPI), to help identify artists and organizations from communities ranked in the lowest quartile of the HPI. This targeted approach ensures that funds reach the state’s most underserved communities, underscoring HPI’s role as an equitable resource distribution tool. By driving funding decisions, the HPI facilitated accessibility for first-time grantees, small-budget organizations, and entities new to the arts and culture arena. This utilization of HPI demonstrates its critical role in helping agencies quantify community conditions and social determinants of health to strategically prioritize investments in underserved communities.
Read the full story at SanBenito.com
Sixty artists from San Diego and Imperial counties are set to receive $2.6 million in grants from the California Creative Corps Pilot Program. These grants will fund artistic projects aimed at fostering civic engagement and addressing critical issues like social justice, public health, and climate change preparedness. Creative Corps, the first program of its kind in the U.S., was established in response to inequities exacerbated by the pandemic. Its $60 million in one-time general funds will be spread among 58 counties to empower non-profits and artists to collaborate on artistic projects that promote health equity while strengthening the arts workforce. Far South/Border North, a program of the city of San Diego, is administering the Creative Corps grant program in the region. To qualify for grants, applicants must prove their significant ties with communities that fall in the lowest quartile of the HPI, which indicates less healthy community conditions compared to the rest of California. Impressively, more than three-quarters of the selected grantees in San Diego and Imperial counties live or work in communities within the HPI's lowest quartile and represent a wide range of diverse artistic practices.
Grant Oliphant, the CEO of the Prebys Foundation, praised the grantees, stating, "Artists offer a priceless viewpoint on the pressing health, climate, and democracy challenges that are defining our era and will shape our collective future. We're thrilled to support them in this endeavor.”
Creative Corps underscores the vital role of HPI in directing equitable investments and programs that cultivate powerful, healthy communities.
To learn more visit, KNSD, Times of San Diego, KGTV or Bollyinside
In response to the closure of Southside Park Pool last summer, Sacramento residents are advocating for equitable investment strategies and prevention plans to deter future public amenity shutdowns. The city is optimistic about reopening Southside Park Pool by the summer of 2024, yet the ongoing closure deprives the surrounding neighborhood of a public pool. The article discusses the critical role that public pools play in fostering physical and mental health within communities while mitigating the health risks associated with extreme heat due to climate change, particularly for nearby communities like Alder Grove and Marina Vista. The Healthy Places Index is cited in the article to highlight the ongoing disparities in neighborhoods affected by the pool's closure. According to the HPI, approximately 39% of residents in the Southside Park Pool area live at or below the poverty level. This contrasts with the North Natomas Aquatics Complex's area, a $40-million facility where only 15% of residents live at or below the poverty line. The article explores the historic context of local governments in the U.S. refraining from constructing pools in low-income or redlined neighborhoods. This fact coupled with HPI insights emphasizes the pressing need to direct equitable investments toward high-quality facilities in under-resourced Sacramento communities to promote healthy equity and build climate resilience.
Read the full story at capradio.org
Calwa, a predominantly Latinx community nestled on the outskirts of Fresno, has secured $7 million in grant funding for essential upgrades to its streets and sidewalks. This action follows increasing concerns over resident safety due to a stark lack of investment and prevailing inequities in the town. Fresno County staff analyst, Erin Haagenson, pinpointed Calwa as a prime candidate for these much-needed improvements. Haagenson cited Calwa's concerning 8th percentile score on the Healthy Places Index (HPI), suggesting that a staggering 92% of California communities have healthier living conditions. The HPI, which quantifies social determinants of health data, has been instrumental in shedding light on the pressing need for equitable investments in Calwa. By highlighting the need to build healthier community conditions in Calwa, the HPI served as a powerful catalyst for change. The planned improvements are set to commence in the summer of 2025, marking a step forward in closing the equity gap in Calwa.
Read the full story at Yahoo!News
The Kern Dance Alliance (KDA), a key actor in the California Creative Corps Pilot Program, has announced an impressive allocation of nearly $3.4 million to invigorate arts-based jobs and community services in the Central Valley and Eastern Sierra region. The initiative aims to revitalize the arts workforce, which was significantly impacted during the pandemic. Creative Corps is channeling these funds to facilitate community-driven artistic endeavors that promote health equity in communities identified in the lowest quartile of the Healthy Places Index (HPI.) Creative Corps is sponsoring artists and nonprofits across the state to collaborate on art projects that amplify issues of social justice, public health, energy-water-climate, and civic engagement. KDA revealed its 20 inaugural Creative Corps grant recipients, highlighting that 70% are both first-time grant writers and awardees. Of notable projects announced, the Dolores Huerta Foundation is launchings its first-ever social justice summer arts camp with artist residencies, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County will be producing a teen-led documentary about clean-air advocacy. The California Creative Corps, the first program of its kind in the U.S., was born out of the need to address health disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its $60 million in one-time general funds, allocated to the California Arts Council, will be distributed across all 58 California counties using HPI, marking a new era in arts and health equity.
Read the full story at Bakersfield.com
A recently published independent report on San Diego County's COVID-19 response has underscored the instrumental role of the Healthy Places Index (HPI) in facilitating equitable resource allocation during the pandemic. The report outlines HPI as a tool that empowered the county to effectively reach underserved and historically marginalized communities with essential resources, including education, vaccinations, and treatment. The report, conducted by Hagerty Consulting, credits the county's rapid local health emergency declarations, efficient public communication, and strategic mass vaccination partnerships for its successful response. Having received multiple national and state awards, the county's multi-year pandemic response stands as a testament to the power of data-driven decision-making, with HPI at its core, and will serve as a valuable blueprint for future emergency preparedness.
Read the full story at the CountyNewsCenter
Kaiser Permanente Southern California utilized the Healthy Places Index (HPI) social determinants of health data in its strategic approach to addressing inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Kaiser Permanente Southern California integrated HPI data with COVID-19 incidence, hospitalization, and predictive models of vaccine penetrance to create hot-spot maps, which identified specific ZIP codes that required increased resources for equitable vaccine distribution. The study suggests HPI was crucial in pinpointing communities affected by structural racism, redlining, and historic divestment. This allowed for a targeted and data-driven approach to vaccine allocation and delivery, ultimately increasing vaccination rates and reducing disparities. With this approach, Kaiser Permanente Southern California achieved a 70% vaccination rate in 83% of the 670 ZIP codes it serves, resulting in an overall vaccination rate of 81% in 2021. The hot-spotting approach successfully targeted specific communities, with more than 2 out of 3 vaccine recipients through the mobile health vehicle being Hispanic or Black. The study states this approach may be readily applied to other areas of care, affirming HPI has the power to help bring profound transformations in the healthcare field.
Read the complete study at The Permanente Journal
A comprehensive needs assessment by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation has identified underresourced communities that are in need of green spaces, trails, and recreational facilities. To promote environmental and health equity, the County has chosen the Park Needs Assessment Plus (PNA+) Final Report as its plan to preserve 30% of land and coastal water by 2030. The PNA+ plan focuses on historically marginalized communities that need investments to improve environmental equity. By utilizing data from the Healthy Places Index, the assessment identified areas with disproportionate poverty rates, transportation barriers, reduced life expectancy, and ecological vulnerability. Using the power of the Healthy Places Index to inform decision-making, Los Angeles County is working towards creating a more equitable and sustainable future for all residents.
Learn more at Planetizen and Parks & Rec Business Magazine
The California Department of Health Care Services announced a key aspect of its California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal is population health management (PHM) which focuses on the health of entire communities instead of individual patients. In the CIOReview, Inland Empire Health Plan said the state will address social determinants of health in its new data collection risk stratification and segmentation (RSS) guideline, which will help healthcare providers take preventative health equity approaches by incorporating diverse data sources to prevent the exacerbation of health disparities and algorithm biases. The article explores Inland Empire Health Plan’s RSS approach. It highlights the importance of including social and environmental driver data, citing the Healthy Places Index, to capture social needs and community risks. Inland Empire Health Plan explains the RSS guideline is a transformative data framework to make healthcare responses more accessible and equitable.
Read the full story at the CIOReview
Marin County’s Office of Equity is making $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds available for residents to determine the best way to advance equity through action-oriented projects. The County is calling for ideas and is prioritizing proposals in communities that have experienced historic and ongoing economic and social marginalization using the Healthy Places Index. It is the county’s first participatory budget initiative to promote community-led decision-making. The county is inviting projects that address health equity-related issues, such as affordable housing, climate change, mental health, and economic mobility.
Read the full story at the Marin Independent Journal
As part of the California Creative Corps program, the Long Beach Arts Council is administering $4.75 million to address health equity through art in Los Angeles and Orange County. Long Beach Arts Council will provide $30,000 in grants to nonprofits and $50,000 to artists to collaborate for a year on health equity projects. The program uses the Healthy Places Index to choose recipients who demonstrate strong relationships with under-resourced communities, emphasizing disability and LGBTQ+ communities. Projects will bring resources and increase health, environmental justice, and social justice awareness. The California Creative Corps, the first program of its kind in the United States, was launched in response to the health inequities of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $60 million in one-time general fund dollars allocated to the California Arts Council will be spread among 58 counties in California.
Read the full story at the Orange County Register
San Diego and its regional partners joined a statewide initiative through the California Creative Corps program to address health equity through art. California Creative Corps granted the city’s Far South/Border North program $4.75 million in funding to allocate to artists to support the health and well-being of communities in the lowest quartile of the California Healthy Places Index. Recipients will carry out projects that increase awareness of social justice, public health, energy-water-climate, and civic engagement. The California Creative Corps, the first program of its kind in the United States, was launched in response to the health inequities of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $60 million in one-time general fund dollars allocated to the California Arts Council will be spread among 58 counties in California.
Read the full story at the Imperial Valley Press
Understanding the importance of local economies to health, the Solano County Public Health Division hired BrandGOV to launch the groundbreaking Shop Solano. Utilizing the power of the Healthy Places Index®, BrandGOV identified communities with the highest social and economic inequities to determine local businesses for the online platform. Shop Solano provides not only an online directory of local businesses but also includes job opportunities and neighborhood resources. To date, the HPI has been used to add 638 businesses to the platform designed to empower local economic resilience and stability. Empower Solano shows an innovative approach to supporting both the small businesses of communities, but also the people who live in them.
Read the full story at the Vallejo Times Herald
As part of the California Creative Corps pilot program, Del Norte County—which has the lowest Healthy Places Index® score in North State—will use the HPI to evaluate and promote art projects designed to promote health equity. The California Arts Council is currently conducting a listening tour of 19 counties in the North State Region to provide information about a new workforce development opportunity for artists and social service organizations.
The California Creative Corps, the first program of its kind in the United States, was launched in response to the health inequities of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be administered by 13 arts organizations. The $60m in one-time general fund dollars allocated to the California Arts Council will be spread among 58 counties in California. The listening tour is being used to help create guidelines to advise applicants on how to frame their grant proposals and determine eligibility.
Read the full story on Wild Rivers Outpost
The Utah Department of Health and Human Services and the Public Health Alliance of Southern California have launched the Utah Healthy Places Index®. The new tool allows users to compare data about neighborhood-level social drivers of health, such as education, job opportunities, and access to transportation. The tool is based on the same methodology used by the California Healthy Places Index® and was developed in collaboration with nearly 100 partners from across Utah. It includes policy guides to help users identify solutions to improve community health and promote equity. The Utah HPI is available here.
Read more at FOX 13 Salt Lake City and KSLNewsRadio
Plumas Arts and the Nevada County Arts Council will host a California Creative Corps listening session. The agencies will present key information and initiate a conversation on how artists can help communities tackle issues most critical to them as part of an Upstate Listening Tour across 19 counties. The California Creative Corps pilot is using a $60 million one-time General Fund administered by the California Arts Council to support artists, cultural practitioners, as well as arts and social service sector organizations as part of the pilot’s efforts to promote health equity.
Eliza Tudor, executive director at Nevada County Arts Council, who will be joining Plumas Arts for its Listening Session, said, “Together, we will be introducing what the State sees as a new method of evaluating the relative health of communities. Using the California Healthy Places Index® we are identifying issues that are specific to Plumas County, inviting input on solutions, and inviting artists to position themselves to create awareness around them.”
Read more on Plumas News
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to establish a rental subsidy pilot program for older adults at risk of homelessness. The Pilot Shallow Rental Subsidy Program will provide a monthly rental subsidy of $500 for qualifying low-income San Diegans for up to 18 months. The new rental subsidy program supports applicants over 55 years old who are head of household and pay more than 50% of household income towards housing. The pilot program will focus on people who are 60 years old and have an income in the bottom 30% of the area. San Diego County will also use the Healthy Places Index® to prioritize older adults living in Health Equity areas within the county to promote place-based equity.
Read the full story in East County Magazine
Using the Healthy Places Index®, Los Angeles County officials found that neighborhoods in the two lowest HPI quartiles have accounted for 70% of the county’s total MPX cases. The disparity parallels people of color having disproportionately lower MPX vaccination rates. Identifying these place and race-based inequities have helped the county work to identify and coordinate with community-based organizations to develop messaging and outreach to promote health equity. The County's use of the HPI helps illuminate the importance of place-based data on social and economic conditions is essential for policies and strategies to promote public health.
Read the full story on Los Angeles Times
The grant will help support artists and cultural projects in San Diego and Imperial Counties to increase local awareness of public health, civic engagement, climate and water conservation, and social justice. The campaign's goal is to increase public awareness related to prioritizing the health and well-being of communities within the lowest quartile of the California Healthy Places Index®. The grant is part of a broader effort to improve health and well-being through supporting creative, artistic, and cultural practices.
Read the full story on the San Diego Business Journal
The Santa Barbara County Community Services Department has announced that the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture has been awarded a competitive $4.75 million grant to support the health, safety, and resiliency of the Central Coast Region through the arts. The Office of Arts & Culture will use the Healthy Places Index® to prioritize regrants to fund arts and social service organizations in the lowest quartile of the HPI. The grant will support public health awareness messages to stop the spread of COVID-19, promote water and energy conservation, and promote community and civic engagement.
Read the full story on the Santa Barbara Independent and Edhat
In a proposed rule by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), hospitals would be encouraged to promote health equity by addressing the Social Drivers of Health. Health Affairs highlights the importance of utilizing social indices, such as the Health Places Index, to assess and address the social needs of patients. By incorporating patient and geographic social health needs, hospitals can utilize multisector collaboration for focused interventions to promote equitable health outcomes by addressing the Social Drivers of Health.
Read the full story at Health Affairs
KCBS radio highlights how the California Healthy Places Index®: Extreme Heat Edition can tell how many days will reach 90- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century at the community level. Additionally, the tool has additional layers that show what areas have the highest vulnerability to extreme heat, such as access to parks and shade and the age of the population. The tool can help communities understand the policies and resources to be resilient to climate change driven extreme heat.
Listen to the full story on Audacy
As the consequences of climate change driven extreme weather are intensifying in California, it is essential to understand what climate models project the impacts of extreme heat at the neighborhood level will be. The California Healthy Places Index® allows users to see projected heat exposure and the place-based social and environmental factors influencing heat-related health outcomes at the census track level. Utilizing this information is fundamental for climate emergency and resilience plans. The tool also provides links to a variety of grant programs and resources for increasing equitable community and resident climate resilience.
Read the full story at The Press Democrat
To help California prepare for increasingly common extreme heat, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and Public Health Alliance of Southern California co-develop the Extreme Heat Edition of the Healthy Places Index®. Low-income residents and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by extreme heat due to community conditions influenced by historic and ongoing racism and discrimination. The new tool will help government officials, Community Based Organizations, and local health departments prepare for the impacts of extreme heat to promote climate health equity and resilience.
Read the full story at Planetizen
A.B. 1778, introduced by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, seeks to help reverse the historic inequities created by the freeway building machine. Climate, environmental justice, and health organization strongly support the bill’s proposal to prevent state resources on any project that does meet certain criteria measured by the Healthy Places Index®. The bill would be an essential step toward shifting to investing in better, cleaner, and healthier forms of transportation to help make communities healthier.
Read the full story at StreetsBlog Cal
Background: Social determinants of health (SDoH) describe the complex network of circumstances that impact an individual before birth and across the lifespan. SDoH contextualize factors in a community that are associated with chronic disease risk and certain health disparities. The main objective of this study was to explore the impact of SDoH on the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and whether these factors explain disparities in these health outcomes among Latinos in Southern California.
Results: Communities with lower HPI scores were associated with higher prevalence of metabolic disease and a greater proportion of Latino residents. Cities in the lowest decile of HPI scores had 71% of the population identifying as Latino compared to 12% in the highest decile. HPI scores explained 61% of the variability in adult obesity (p<0.001), 41% of the variability in childhood obesity (p<0.001), and 47% of the variability in adult diabetes(p<0.001). Similar results were observed when examining SVI and CES with these health outcomes.
Read the full text on the BMC Public Health
Introduction: We describe the California Healthy Places Index® (HPI) and its performance relative to other indexes for measuring community well-being at the census-tract level. The HPI arose from a need identified by health departments and community organizations for an index rooted in the social determinants of health for place-based policy making and program targeting. The index was geographically granular, validated against life expectancy at birth, and linked to policy actions.
Results: The HPI's domains were aligned with the social determinants of health and policy action areas of economic resources, education, housing, transportation, clean environment, neighborhood conditions, social resources, and health care access. The overall HPI score was the sum of weighted domain scores, of which economy and education were highly influential (50% of total weights). The HPI was strongly associated with life expectancy at birth (r = 0.58).
Read the full text on the National Library of Medicine
Abstract: Syphilis and congenital syphilis (CS) are increasing in California (CA). From 2015 through 2019, for example, CA cases of early syphilis among reproductive-age females (15-44) and CS each increased by >200%. Certain populations-including people experiencing homelessness, using drugs, and/or belonging to certain racial/ethnic groups-have been disproportionately impacted. We hypothesized that geospatial social determinants of health (SDH) contribute to such health inequities. To demonstrate this, we geospatially described syphilis in CA using the Healthy Places Index® (HPI). The HPI is a composite index that assigns a score to each CA census tract based on eight socioeconomic characteristics associated with health (education, housing, transportation, neighborhood conditions, clean environment, and healthcare access as well as economic and social resources).
We divided CA census tracts into four quartiles based on HPI scores (with the lowest quartile having the least healthy socioeconomic and environmental conditions), then used 2013-2020 CA sexually transmitted diseases surveillance data to compare overall syphilis (among adults and adolescents) and CS case counts, incidence rates (per 100,000 population or live births), and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) among these quartiles. From 2013 to 2020, across all stages of syphilis and CS, disease burden was greatest in the lowest HPI quartile and smallest in the highest quartile (8308 cases (representing 33.2% of all incidents) versus 3768 (15.1%) for primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis; 5724 (31.6%) versus 2936 (16.2%) for early non-primary non-secondary (NPNS) syphilis; 11,736 (41.9%) versus 3026 (10.8%) for late/unknown duration syphilis; and 849 (61.9%) versus 57 (4.2%) for CS; all with p < 0.001). Using the highest HPI quartile as a reference, the IRRs in the lowest quartile were 17 for CS, 4.5 for late/unknown duration syphilis, 2.6 for P&S syphilis, and 2.3 for early NPNS syphilis. We thus observed a direct relationship between less healthy conditions (per HPI) and syphilis/CS in California, supporting our hypothesis that SDH correlate with disparities in syphilis, especially CS. HPI could inform allocation of resources to: (1) support communities most in need of assistance in preventing syphilis/CS cases and (2) reduce health disparities.
Read the full text at the National Library of Medicine
Abstract: Black women have the highest incidence of preterm birth (PTB). Upstream factors, including neighborhood context, may be key drivers of this increased risk. This study assessed the relationship between neighborhood quality, defined by the Healthy Places Index®, and PTB among Black women who lived in Oakland, California, and gave birth between 2007 and 2011 (N = 5418 women, N = 107 census tracts). We found that, compared with those living in lower quality neighborhoods, women living in higher quality neighborhoods had 20-38% lower risk of PTB, independent of confounders. Findings have implications for place-based research and interventions to address racial inequities in PTB.
Read the full text at the National Library of Medicine
There’s a lot you can do with the Healthy Places Index® for free on the website, but if you want to go more in-depth, or just want to learn more about how to use the HPI in your work, we’re here to help! The Public Health Alliance of Southern California is happy to share our expertise through customized trainings, tailored reports, capacity building and other types of assistance you might need.
We offer assistance in the form of webinars, phone consultations, trainings, plans and assessments, data reports, and other formats that can help you meet your project goals and integrate public health and equity into your work. We can also partner with you as a subcontractor on a Request for Proposals or similar opportunity.