The goal of this application is to expand and enrich the Integrated Health Interview Series (IHIS), a vital component of the nation's health research infrastructure. During the past five years, the investigators created the IHIS, a harmonized set of data and documentation from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), with data on more than four million persons from the 1960s to the present. We propose to expand the database threefold to encompass the remaining survey supplements and variables, to allow comprehensive analysis of illness, disability, health behavior, and healthcare over the last fifty years in the United States. The NHIS is the principal source of information on the health of the U.S. population, but NHIS data have rarely been used to study long-term change. The structure of the original public use files and the complexities of the survey design made the NHIS unwieldy for analyzing more than one year. Incompatibilities across years and survey design periods made the cost of long-run chronological analysis prohibitive. IHIS addresses these problems by integrating NHIS data and documentation from 1963 to 2012. In the first phase of the project, we developed the tools and infrastructure to convert the entire body of NHIS data into an integrated format and disseminated approximately 2,000 variables. This second phase of IHIS will consist of the following interrelated components: 1) data integration--triple the number of integrated variables;2) database expansion--add new years of survey data and linked mortality data as they become available;3) data enhancement--construct new variables to simplify analysis;4) documentation--construct for new samples and variables, covering the comparability of each variable across time;5) data access-- enhance the web-based system for retrieval of IHIS data and documentation, adding new features such as variable search and online tabulation;6) dissemination--expand user support and outreach. The NHIS is a national treasure;no other country has health survey data approaching the same chronological breadth and depth of subject coverage. IHIS is beginning to unlock this evidence for a new generation of dynamic research on health in the United States. Expanding the IHIS database is directly relevant to the central mission of the NIH as the steward of medical and behavioral research for the nation: the full IHIS will allow health researchers to make comparisons across five decades of transformative change and will result in a substantial body of new research on the long-run impact of public health initiatives, health disparities, access to medical care, population aging, and other health-related topics.

Public Health Relevance

This project to expand the Integrated Health Interview Series (IHIS) is directly relevant to the central mission of the NIH as the steward of medical and behavioral research for the nation. The full IHIS, with integrated data and documentation for the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) from 1963-2012, will facilitate cross-temporal research to improve population health and will result in new scientific and policy-relevant research into health behavior and disparities, access to and use of medical care, population aging, and progress toward national public health goals.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Social Sciences and Population Studies Study Section (SSPS)
Program Officer
Clark, Rebecca L
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
United States
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