Office of Health Disparities Research

Addressing Health Disparities is Our Priority.

September 11, 2014

Application of Housing-based Socioeconomic Measure in Health Disparities Research in Olmsted County, MN

By OHDR Admin

Juhn_Young_J_14MY-11558741-Native FileYoung J. Juhn, M.D.

Consultant, Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine
Rochester campus of Mayo Clinic


Socioeconomic status (SES) is an important determinant of health, and its influence on health outcomes has been extensively studied and documented. Despite the importance, SES data are often not available in routinely used data sources such as administrative data or medical records. To overcome the absence of SES measures in these data sources, we developed and validated a housing-based socioeconomic measure (called HOUSES index) based on individual housing data with support from the NIH. However, it has not been fully applied to field clinical studies.

In this proposed study, we will assess: 1) whether the HOUSES index can be implemented in all housing units in Olmsted County, Minnesota (Aim 1), and 2) whether the HOUSES index overcomes the absence of SES measures in field clinical studies and helps to address health disparities and differences in Olmsted County, Minnesota (Aims 2 and 3). Despite the importance of SES in health, and the unique epidemiologic advantages of our study setting, to date, no systematic research concerning health disparities or differences has been conducted in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

The study findings will enhance our institutional research capabilities for studying health disparities and differences, which are national research priorities. Also, the results will allow us to explore ‘socioeconomics’ as a tool for individualized therapy or health care delivery. Furthermore, the results will provide a basis for improved public health surveillance and interventions, e.g., enabling the integration of disease-specific geospatial analysis results with SES, and the monitoring of health disparities in the community over time.

Tags: health disparities, Mayo Clinic, pilot project 2012, project, Projects, socioeconomic status, Young J. Juhn M.D.

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