Tilda Farhat, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Director, Office of Science Policy, Planning, Evaluation, and Reporting
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
It has been 37 years since the release of the ground-breaking Heckler report underscoring the disproportionate burden of premature illness and death experienced by people from racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. Since then, great strides have been made in addressing and improving minority health and health disparities through improved data collection, research opportunities, and proven interventions. However, despite these efforts, health disparities persist and progress to date is suboptimal.
While minority health and health disparities researchers, intervention developers, and public health professionals strive to reduce health disparities, some may have difficulty accessing data and evidence-based resources that can help them design, implement, and evaluate health disparities-related programs. They often rely on multiple sources that may differ in data quality, completeness and other important attributes. The HDPulse resource, developed by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), is perhaps the most comprehensive resource that provides national, state, and county level data on minority health and health disparities, as well as evidence-based interventions and accompanying tools and materials.
Reintroducing HDPulse Data Portal
The HDPulse Data Portal, one of two portals on the HDPulse website, was first introduced in 2017. It has been redesigned to better serve researchers, public health professionals, and policymakers who are interested in improving minority health and reducing health disparities. The redesigned website features the continuum of health disparities outcomes (ranging from incidence to mortality) as a point of access to related statistics to identify disparities. It also organizes determinants of minority health and health disparities across four domains along the social-ecological framework:
- Healthcare system
- Knowledge, attitudes, and behavior
- Physical environment
- Social, economic, and cultural environment.
Users will be pleased about the functionality and ease of use of the HDPulse Data Portal. The site offers user-friendly interactive mapping capabilities, charts and graphs to assess the magnitude of health disparities, explore spatial and temporal trends, and identify geographic patterns that, all together, contribute to better understanding of minority health and health disparities data over space and time. This data portal provides full public accessibility of data visualization capabilities.
HDPulse Interventions Portal Coming Soon
Complementing the HDPulse Data Portal is the HDPulse Interventions Portal. While the Data Portal can be used to generate a profile of a health disparity problem and to inform priority setting, the Interventions Portal allows researchers and public health practitioners to make informed decisions about appropriate interventions to use for the population impacted in a particular setting. The Interventions Portal provides access to a repository of interventions and resources that can help users design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based interventions. Minority health and health disparities researchers and intervention developers are encouraged to submit their interventions to the portal to promote and give visibility to their successful work. As noted by implementation scientist Dr. Russ Glasgow in his RE-AIM framework, while much of research informs guidelines or contributes to the development of effective interventions, these interventions are only as useful as they are actually implemented in practice. The availability of evidence-based interventions in minority health and health disparities contributes to moving research into practice.
HDPulse Will Give Your Community a Boost
This month’s National Minority Health Month introduces the theme “Give Your Community a Boost!” and earlier in the month, National Public Health Week (April 4-9) highlighted Public Health is Where You Are. These themes are essential features of HDPulse. The Data Portal characterizes the burden of disparities across the U.S. and within communities to facilitate identifying needs and resources to address the burden of health disparities at the national and local levels. The Interventions Portal is designed to provide researchers, community organizations, and community practitioners access to effective interventions that have improved minority health or reduced health disparities, thereby assisting in their efforts to improve the health of their communities, and giving their communities a boost.
HDPulse is a valuable tool for anyone interested in depicting and communicating the health disparity burden within minority populations and other populations that are socially disadvantaged.
HDPulse can assist with determining how best to control health disparities through proven interventions. The redesigned Data Portal is now available for use and the Interventions Portal will be launched later in 2022. Explore HDPulse now and give your community a boost with valuable health disparities data and minority health resources. Find additional information and resources to share at https://www.nimhd.nih.gov/resources/hd-pulse.html.
Special thanks to Drs. Aaron Ogletree and Antionette Percy-Laurry, Office of Science Policy, Planning, Evaluation, and Reporting, for their work on HDPulse and contributions to this blog post.