Community Indicators for Your Community

Real, lasting community change is built around knowing where you are, where you want to be, and whether your efforts are making a difference. Indicators are a necessary ingredient for sustainable change. And the process of selecting community indicators -- who chooses, how they choose, what they choose -- is as important as the data you select.

This is an archive of thoughts I had about indicators and the community indicators movement. Some of the thinking is outdated, and many of the links may have broken over time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tools for Indicators of Health

Some information about measuring community health courtesy of the NNIP listserve:

Constructing the evidence base on the social determinants of health: A guide
Josiane Bonnefoy, Antony Morgan, Michael P. Kelly, Jennifer Butt, Vivian Bergman With Peter Tugwell, Vivian Robinson, Mark Exworthy, Johan Mackenbach, Jennie Popay, Catherine Pope, Thelma Narayan, Landon Myer, Sarah Simpson, Tanja Houweling, Liliana Jadue

The Measurement and Evidence Knowledge Network (MEKN) of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, November 2007

Available online as PDF file [337p.] at:

“……This guide is designed for practitioners interested in developing and implementing policies and programmes to tackle the social determinants of health inequities. It sets out state of the art recommendations on how best to measure the social determinants of health and the most effective ways of constructing an evidence base which provides the basis for translating evidence into political action…"

Toward A Policy-Relevant Analysis Of Geographic And Racial/Ethnic Disparities In Child Health
Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Theresa L. Osypuk, Nancy McArdle and David R. Williams
Health Affairs, Volume 27, No. 2 March-April 2008

Available online at:

“……Extreme racial/ethnic disparities exist in children’s access to "opportunity neighborhoods." These disparities arise from high levels of residential segregation and have implications for health and well-being in childhood and throughout the life course.

The fact that health disparities are rooted in social factors, such as residential segregation and an unequal geography of opportunity, should not have a paralyzing effect on the public health community. However, we need to move beyond conventional public health and health care approaches to consider policies to improve access to opportunity-rich neighborhoods through enhanced housing mobility, and to increase the opportunities for healthy living in disadvantaged neighborhoods….”.

Challenges To Using A Business Case For Addressing Health Disparities
N. Lurie, S. A. Somers, A. Fremont, J. Angeles, E. K. Murphy, and A. Hamblin
Health Affairs, Volume 27, No. 2 March-April 2008

Available online at:

“….The authors consider the challenges to quantifying both the business case and the social case for addressing disparities, which is central to achieving equity in the U.S. health care system.

They describe the practical and methodological challenges faced by health plans exploring the business and social cases for undertaking disparity-reducing interventions.

Despite these challenges, sound business and quality improvement principles can guide health care organizations seeking to reduce disparities. Place-based interventions may help focus resources and engage health care and community partners who can share in the costs of—and gains from—such efforts …”


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