MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Megan Wallace, DrPH
Department of Epidemiology
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Local health departments are often evaluated on a nationwide or statewide basis, however, given diversity among counties that exists even at the state level, we felt there might be a better way to group health departments for evaluation.
In this study, we created county-level clusters using local characteristics most associated with the outcomes of interest, which were smoking, motor vehicle crash deaths, and obesity. We then compared county-level percentile rankings for the outcomes within sociodemographic peer clusters vs nationwide rankings. We identified 8 groups of counties with similar local characteristics.
Percentile ranks for the outcomes of interest often differed when counties were compared within their peer groups in comparison with a nationwide scale. Continue reading