A team of researchers at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health has developed an Urban Health Index to guide health care professionals, policy makers, and researchers around the world, with the support of funds from the World Health Organization (WHO) Kobe Centre in Japan.
[Photo: Dr. Richard Rothenberg]
Last week, WHO published an online handbook about the Index to offer guidance on the use of this innovative tool to reduce urban health disparities.
Dr. Richard Rothenberg, a Regents Professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health at Georgia State and the leader of the effort, said development of the tool has been both a local and international endeavor. “This looks inside countries, cities, and neighborhoods. It is a way of connecting the macro and micro kinds of information that we get,” he said. “The urban health index was generated by the idea that people need a more flexible tool.” Dr. Rothenberg said the Urban Health Index has been tested primarily in Atlanta and Tokyo.
“It is a tool for analysis of urban questions. We can use it within the Atlanta area, as well as other areas as a tool for examining certain questions. For example, a paper coming out soon looks at the improvement in health disparities in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro over the past 10 years” he said. “I think it would be best applied in areas of environmental health and chronic disease, particularly looking at the prevalence of certain diseases. I think it could also be applied in areas that are hyper endemic for things like HIV and tuberculosis, for example. There are lots of different areas that it can be applied to.”
Georgia State University also provided grant funds to support development of the Index.
To learn more about the Urban Health Index, visit: http://publichealth.gsu.edu/?p=11116
For the WHO guidelines on using the Urban Health Index, visit: http://www.who.int/kobe_centre/measuring/innovations/urban_health_index/en/