Sub-Project 1 African Americans suffer significant health disparities. There have been several interventions to attempt to eliminate these disparities. Measuring outcomes of such interventions is difficult and novel techniques are needed to capture the data that would help evaluate changes in the health status of disadvantaged minority populations. We hypothesized that it is possible to define a set of sentinel surveillance sites, tools and procedures to collect and track information on health behaviors, health care access, and morbidity in health disparate populations, in order to monitor progress towards health equity.
The specific aims are: identify sentinel sites to obtain such information, develop the instruments for information capture, survey implementation, and feedback to the community. All work will be done in partnership with community members acting as research apprentices and playing an active role in all aspects of the study. The surveys will be implemented in yearly waves with validation done through the follow up of a cohort (n=150) for 4 years, and evaluations of emergency department visits for residents in the designated service area. The definition of an effective sentinel surveillance system to monitor the health status of a health disparate population would constitute a major advance in the area of methodology for systematic documentation of health indicators that can adequately show whether and to what extent we are closing the gap in regards to minority health. If successful, the system can become a model to be replicated in other low wealth minority communities in the United States.

Public Health Relevance

African American suffer from a multitude of health disparities, and these disparities result in higher rates of death and disability. A facile community based method for monitoring health behaviors and outcomes will constitute a valuable tool to asses the impact of community based interventions and gauge the progress towards elimination of health disparaties.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Exploratory Grants (P20)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN)
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University of South Alabama
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