What is the Health Equity Index?
The Health Equity Index (Index) is a community-based electronic tool, the first of its kind in the nation, that profiles and measures the social determinants (including the social, political, economic, and environmental conditions) that affect health and their correlations with specific health outcomes. The Index also generates community-specific scores and GIS maps. Moreover, the Index provides direction for collecting additional qualitative data—the narrative of those experiencing or witnessing health inequities. This narrative may be collected from interviews or recorded through media including photos, video, and audio-taping.
What Can the Health Equity Index Be Used For?
The Index can be used to:
Examine the root causes of poor health;
Promote collaboration to address health inequities; and
Focus on strategic policy efforts and investments.
The ultimate goal and benefits of the Index are long-term health improvements for residents who presently experience a disproportionate burden of disease and disability.
What Does the Health Equity Index Measure?
The Index provides community-specific scores on seven social determinants of health and thirteen health outcomes, the correlations between them, and GIS maps that illustrate community-specific scores. Scores range from one to ten, with a ten being the best possible score. Each social determinant of health and each health outcome score is calculated by considering several types of data.
A sample listing of scores of the social determinants and health outcomes measured for a given Connecticut municipality is included below:
The GIS maps that can be produced can show neighborhood by neighborhood variations within each municipality for a given social determinant or health outcome. By way of example, the side-by-side maps below show Hartford’s scores on the “perinatal care” health outcome and Hartford’s scores for the “housing” social determinant of health. The maps visually depict the strong correlation between housing and perinatal care. That is, poorer housing is strongly associated with poorer care and management of developing fetuses and newborn infants.