This course is intended to serve as an introduction to population health from both the vantage point of both public health and healthcare. We will examine the key components of community health needs assessments, how they are used, and how to compare population health assessments across subpopulations and time. We will also explore the epidemiological sources and criteria by which to select high quality data sources to estimate population health indicators and to select evidence-based interventions to improve population health. Finally, we will design multi sector collaborations that support the phases of population health improvement.
As a survey of the population health, the course provides an overview for students wishing no more than an introduction to the field, as well as good grounding for students who wish to pursue additional coursework in population health.
After taking this course, you will be able to:
- Explain differences between population health assessments for public health and healthcare.
- Outline the key components of community health needs assessments (CHNA).
- Compare how public health and healthcare will use a CHNA to improve population health.
- Identify key population health indicators for social determinants of health.
- Identify key population health indicators for mental health and opioid abuse.
- Categorize data sources by epidemiologic criteria.
- Analyze differences between subpopulations and across time trends.
- Formulate multi sector collaborations that support population health improvement.
- Outline a plan for population health improvement.
- Evaluate evidence-based interventions based on epidemiologic criteria and community suitability.
Population Health: Healthcare and Public Health
In this introduction to population health, we lay out a comprehensive definition of population health as a process and begin to describe the major approaches to population health improvement. We also outline how the “Triple Aim” of improved population health, improved patient experience, and reduced cost was woven into the U.S. Affordable Care Act through new mandates for population health practices. In healthcare settings, we describe how new patient population management and population medicine approaches are beginning to address two known areas of weaknesses - that is, gaps in care and care transitions - that can have major impacts on a population’s health. We also begin to recognize that healthcare is not designed to address root causes of disease and that new ways of thinking are needed if communities are going to have sustained improvements in their population health.
Population Health Indicators
In this week’s module, we map the network of partnerships and interconnections that influence a population health. Specifically, we summarize the ‘health impact pyramid’ and examine connections between community health and social, economic, environmental factors. Building on this foundation, we then extend these ideas into a new arena called the ‘One Health’ concept that recognizes the interrelationship between the health of the planet, its animals, and the health of humans. To enable learners to measure the health of a community, we explore the WHO 100 health indicators and describe what makes a really good population health indicator. The ability to measure a population’s health then helps us stratify patient populations or vulnerable subgroups within a community into different risk groups who would benefit from different preventive approaches. We then end the week with an exploration of The Community Guide - a product of the Community Preventive Services Task Force - who provides systematic reviews and recommendations on the best evidence-based community health interventions.
Improvement and Interventions Strategies
The ability to measure a population’s health then helps us stratify patient populations or vulnerable subgroups within a community into different risk groups who would benefit from different preventive approaches. We then end the week with an exploration of The Community Guide - a product of the Community Preventive Services Task Force - who provides systematic reviews and recommendations on the best evidence-based community health interventions.
Community Health Needs Assessment
In this last week, we turn our attention to a standard way to assess and begin to plan improvements in community health - that is, the community health needs assessment. We go through the key principles and process steps underlying community health needs assessments, including some good examples. This week the final project to create a evidence-based intervention plan for your community of interest is due.