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Boston University School of Public Health / Department of Community Health Sciences


Assessment involves analysis of quantitative and qualitative data, both of which are important analyzing a potential health problem. While quantitative data gives us figures that detail the scope and severity of a potential public health problem it is not always the best indicator. It rarely defines the cause of the problem and sometimes the method of data collection can be flawed so relying on this information is not always best. Many times a problem is more or less prominent due to the social, economic, or environmental factors that individuals are exposed to.  It is important to survey the community or population you are working with and see what factors are contributing to the public health concern.

Social and economic factors play a major part in determination of individual's health and access to healthcare.  Media messages tell us what we should be doing  on a daily basis and it is easy to get caught up in the social norms of our society. Many argue that poverty is our biggest public health problem.  Finances are a huge factor in determining if individuals are able to seek healthcare; some have only enough to live on and so healthcare priorities tend to come last.  Others may have the funds but access is an issue- either they don't have a clinic nearby, the hours the clinic are open conflict with work/school/other responsibilities, transportation is scarce, or a multitude of other factors.  There are language barriers, literacy barriers, and dissemination of information barriers.  Many of these "other" factors are the crux of why people do or do not seek healthcare.

In the SB820 Assessment and Planning course, we performed an assessment of a neighborhood in Boston and a specific health area of interest.  My assessment was of South Dorchester and STI rates. This assessment included collecting national, state, local, and neighborhood data and utilizing census data, MASSChip data, and CDC ATLAS. My findings which are included to the right showed that the rates of Chlamydia, Gonnorrhea, and Syphilis in Massachussets were lower or equal to the national rates.  However rates in Boston were higher than the national rates, and rates in South Dorchester were even higher than Boston.  The potential rationale behind these rates is large variance of races & cultures, high crime rates, lower high school graduation rates, and many alcohol ads and liquor stores in the area.  The overview of my findings is included in the executive finding included on the right side.

Health Determinants Model


Mortality and Morbidity of STIs (US,MA,Boston, S. Dorchester)

3/15/2014 1:43:58 PM
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South Dorchester Neighborhood Profile

3/15/2014 1:54:46 PM
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Web of Causation (STIs)

3/15/2014 2:06:33 PM
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STI Risk/Protective Factors Analysis

3/15/2014 2:07:14 PM
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Executive Summary

3/15/2014 2:38:50 PM
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