Public Health

Articles, books, statistics, how to cite references, and more information about the multidisciplinary field of public health.

Statistics and Data about the United States

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) -- The CDC protects the health and safety of Americans. It is part of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), one of the U.S. government's agencies.

HealthData.gov -- A public resource with datasets, tools, and applications about health and health care. The information has been gathered from agencies across the Federal government with the goal of improving health for all Americans.

Health Indicators Warehouse (part of the CDC) --  Intended for community health research, these are health indicators on a variety of topics, presented at the national, state  (most), and county (many) levels. Indicators are categorized by topic, geography, or initiative. You can create customized tables, charts, and maps (in most cases, maps are presented at the national level with data by state).  Excellent resource compiled by departments within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS; part of the CDC) -- This is America's principal health statistics agency. Click on "Surveys & Data Collections" in the menu to view all of the available health surveys. Some of its best-known surveys are

  • Health Data Interactive - This site has tables with national health statistics for infants, children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. You can customize the tables by age, sexr, race/ethnicity, and geographic location to find trends.

National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR) --  Here is a list of selected sources about health care technology and assessment, health services research, and clinical practice guidelines. This center is part of the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Statistical Abstract of the U.S. -- The Census Bureau's amazing annual collection of statistics about health, population, and everything else. Includes stats for such things as major causes of death by age/state/etc., number of physicians by specialty, number of ER visits, number of medical procedures, and hospital use rates. (On the left, see Health and Nutrition.)

U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) -- Here's their page about healthcare. This site also includes testimony and other information about health care cost projections and related topics.

National Archives of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA) -- The NACDA acquires and preserves data relevant to gerontological research, and distributes them to researchers. This is possibly the largest library of electronic data on aging in the United States. (The NACDA is part of the ICPSR.)

Older Americans 2012: key indicators of well-being -- A study produced by the Federal Forum on Aging-related Statistics. Provides information on health status, health risks and behaviors, economics, and other aspects.

Here is the "Demographics" page from the Data and Statistics guide. It lists many tools with information about the United States, including American Fact Finder, data.gov, Simply Map, and the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

  • The librarian for data and statistics is Jen Darragh (scroll down for her contact information)
  • This page has helpful tips about using each resource, so please read carefully

Incidence: "The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from Prevalence, which refers to all cases, new or old, in the population at a given time." [MeSH definition]

One of the best ways to get incidence/prevalence data is to look at journal articles in PubMed and EMBASE.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System - This CDC site lists state-by-state health surveys that collect information about health risk behaviors, preventive health practices, and health care access, primarily related to chronic disease and injury.

Cancer

  • Cancer Statistics Center (American Cancer Society) - Easy to use, providing statistics about many topics including "estimated new cancer cases and deaths by sex, state, and cancer type; current cancer incidence, mortality, and survival rates and trends for individual cancer sites; and risk factors (e.g.: smoking, obesity) and screening rates by state." It includes downloadable maps, graphs, and charts, or you can create your own.
  • SEER (Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results; National Cancer Institute) - Here is an overview. The NCI collects information on incidence, survival, and prevalence from  geographic areas that represent ~26% of the U.S, population, and compiles reports about this plus cancer mortality for the entire US.
    --- These fact sheets include incidence rates.

Cochrane Library - This group of databases, which can all be searched at once, provides reviews and comparative information about diseases, conditions, treatments, and more. The databases contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.

  • NOTE: The ones with the "review" icon are the ones with discussion and conclusions, not the "protocol" icons
  • NOTE: The ones with the "review" icon are the ones with discussion and conclusions, not the "protocol" icons

Diabetes Data and Statistics --The CDC Diabetes Surveillance System collects, analyzes, and disseminates data on diabetes and its complications. Charts and tables can be generated for data such as prevalence, incidence, and complications.

Emerging Diseases -- The ProMED-Mail program monitors emerging diseases. It is a central information site whose team of experts reviews and investigates reports before posting to the network. ProMED-mail currently reaches 185 countries.
 

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) -- Health workers report certain kinds of diseases and injuries to their state public health departments, who report them to the CDC, which publishes them in the MMWR. Here are the descriptions of the publications. You can also use the Advanced Search (left column) or the alphabet on top to search for your topic.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR; CDC) -- The ATSDR provides information about chemicals and human health, including public health assessments of waste sites, information development and dissemination, and education and training concerning hazardous substances.

Environmental Protection Agency -- The EPA protects human health and the environment. Here is more information about what they do.

  • See "Science and Technology" for topics including health, pesticides, and water

National Center for Environmental Health (CDC) -- This center tracks and evaluates environment-related health problems, and also helps agencies and organizations prepare for and respond to natural, technologic, humanitarian, and terrorism-related environmental emergencies.

  • See "Data Resources" [on the right side of the page] for more information

National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (CDC)

TOXNET -- This is the platform for the toxicology-related databases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They include the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) and TOXLINE, which is the PubMed for toxic substances.

 

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) -- This agency works to improve the quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness of health care throughout the U.S. It has data on healthcare expenditures; reports about specific populations such as children, women, and minorities; and much more. Here is the Research Tools and Data page.

Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (from AHRQ) - These surveys show medical and dental expenditures from people (the household component).

  • These data give ages and ethnicities as well as types of expenditure, such as ER use
  • Here's the data overview
  • The data from insurance companies and employers (the insurance/employer component) are *not* public
  • The data are somewhat general and take some digging to use
  • No medical devices are listed

Medicare (CMS; Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) - Lots of information. Here is the page for page for research, statistics, data, and reports.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) -- Under "Health and Education" is the Statistics site. The major headings are and some of the things they cover are:

  • Prevalence -- Of depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, many more
  • Disability -- Categories of diseases and disorders
  • Suicide --  Rates and causes
  • Cost -- Of mental health care and conditions
  • Global -- Numbers of Years Lived with Disability (YLD) and more

StateHealthFacts -- A Kaiser Foundation site that provides detailed information about each states health expenditures, insurance coverage, and other information by demographic group.

U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) -- Here's their page about healthcare. This site also includes testimony and other information about health care cost projections and related topics.

Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions -- This site includes information about Exploring Health Disparities in Integrated Communities (EHDIC), a study done in southwest Baltimore in 2003.

How many healthcare practitioners of any kind are there in X state or metropolitan area?

1.  Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook to get the latest numbers and projections for the next 10 years

2.  Use the 2015 State Physician Workforce Data Book to see the number of physicians per state

3.  Use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics search tool called Occupational Employment Statistics. You can search for:

  • Multiple occupations for one geographical area
  • One occupation for multiple geographical areas
  • Multiple occupations for one industry
  • One occupation for multiple industries

On this page, scroll down to "Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations," "Healthcare Support Occupations," or other category of occupation.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) -- This agency works to improve the quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness of health care throughout the U.S. It has data on healthcare expenditures; reports about specific populations such as children, women, and minorities; and much more. Here is the Research Tools and Data page.

  • The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) collects the data from "State data organizations, hospital associations, private data organizations, and the Federal government," and "includes the largest collection of longitudinal hospital care data in the United States," beginning in 1988
  • The databases within HCUPnet (middle column of the page) help research on health policy issues including cost and quality of health services, medical practice patterns, access to health care programs, and outcomes of treatments at the national, State, and local market levels"
  • The national statistics are updated annually, and state statistics are updated as new State data are processed
  • There is at least an 18-month lag between the end of the calendar year and the availability of the National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS)

HCUPnet -- Note: You must use ICD-9 codes to search, and *not* ICD-10 (which didn't start until October 1, 2015).

1. --> Before you go to HCUPnet, get an ICD-9 code
2. Go to the HCUPnet page. Under HCUP Products, choose HCUPnet.
2. You can choose among various databases. Start with "National Statistics on All Stays"
3. Choose "researcher; medical professional"
4. Start with "statistics on specific diagnoses or procedures"
5. Select the latest year (2013) or whatever year you want
6. At the bottom, choose "use ICD code"

-------------------------------------------------
American Hospital Association (AHA) -- The AHA's "Research and Trends" section has statistics and reports about health care costs, hospital financing, and much more.

AHA Guide to the Health Care Field  [Science Reference, RA977.A1.A46, latest edition]

  • Lists hospitals as General, Special, Rehab and Chronic Disease, or Psychiatric
  • Includes utilization data such as number of beds, number of admissions and outpatient visits, and expenses
  • Includes codes for services the facility offers, such as "adult diagnostic catheterization" and "pain management"

AHA Hospital Statistics [Science Reference, RA981.A2.A64, latest edition] -- Data about trends in hospitals, such as

  • 5-year data on managed care and physician models
  • in-patient and outpatient care
  • finances
  • specific services offered such as angioplasty, complementary medicine, and tobacco cessation

------------------------------------------------

American Hospital DIRECTORY -- This is a database and is [not affiliated with the AHA]. It has data for 6,000+ U.S. hospitals, from public and private sources such as Medicare claims data, hospital cost reports, and other data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

  • Data include type of hospital, services provided, number of patients admitted and discharged, department financials, and tons of other useful information
  • The username and password are both welch1
  • NOTE: only 5 people at a time can use this database, so please log out when you're finished!
  • Tutorials

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System - This CDC site lists state-by-state health surveys that collect information about health risk behaviors, preventive health practices, and health care access, primarily related to chronic disease and injury.

Cochrane Library - This group of databases, which can all be searched at once, provides reviews and comparative information about diseases, conditions, treatments, and more. The databases contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.

  • NOTE: The ones with the "review" icon are the ones with discussion and conclusions, not the "protocol" icons

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) -- Health workers report certain kinds of diseases and injuries to their state public health departments, who report them to the CDC, which publishes them in the MMWR. Here are the descriptions of the publications. You can also use the Advanced Search (left column) or the alphabet on top to search for your topic.

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (CDC) - Includes data and statistics about the leading causes of fatal and non-fatal injuries, including motor vehicle accidents, unintentional poisonings, self-inflicted injuries/deaths, and more.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) -- Under "Health and Education" is the Statistics site. The major headings are and some of the things they cover are:

  • Prevalence -- Of depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, many more
  • Disability -- Categories of diseases and disorders
  • Suicide --  Rates and causes
  • Cost -- Of mental health care and conditions
  • Global -- Numbers of Years Lived with Disability (YLD) and more

Departmental of Mental Health and Hygiene, Maryland.gov -- Look on the bottom right under "Reports & Statistics" for stats on Maryland deaths and their causes (e.g., cardiovascular disease, neoplasms); births, deaths, birth rates and life expectancy by race and sex; and drug overdoses.

National Vital Statistics Reports -- These CDC publications cover provisional birth, death, marriage, and divorce statistics. (The annual "special reports" give the final data on births for the previous year.)

StateHealthFacts -- A Kaiser Foundation site that provides detailed information about each states health expenditures, insurance coverage, and other information by demographic group.

Loading