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Basic Concepts in Data Analysis for Community Health Assessment

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Date Developed: Unknown. Source: Washington State Department of Health, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. Presenter(s): n.a.. Type: Online Course. Level: Introductory. Length: 45-60 minutes per module, 5 modules.


This 5 module series discusses various data sources that are commonly used for public health assessment and how to analyze and interpret data for public health purposes. Participants will learn how to identify data sources as well as identify their strengths and limitations for public health research.

Learning Objectives

Module 1--Overview of Public Health Data

• Define screening.

• Identify uses of data in public health core functions.

• List at least three common data sources used to characterize the health or disease status of the community.

• List five key attributes of data.

• List three elements to consider when assessing data quality.

Module 2--Analysis and Interpretation of Public Health Data, Part 1

• Explain the purpose of descriptive epidemiology and how it is used for assessment.

• Describe why rates are important in doing assessment.

• Name three kinds of rates.

• Describe the two types of summary measures.

• Explain the purpose of standardizing rates through age adjustment.

Module 3--Analysis and Interpretation of Public Health Data, Part 2

• List six measures commonly used in public health.

• Describe the difference between uses of incidence and prevalence rates.

• Explain different ways to measure statistically significant difference.

• Describe how to deal with the problems of unstable rates and small numbers.

Module 4--Data Available to Public Health Professionals

• List the eight Washington data sources commonly used for public health assessment.

• Describe characteristics of each data set and how each set is used in assessment activities.

• Describe where to access each data source.

Module 5--Presenting Public Health Data

• List the common ways to present data.

• Choose an appropriate format to present specific kinds of data.

• Identify good design practices for tables and charts.

Special Instructions

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This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.