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Avoid the Hustle

Measuring Health and Disease

Category: Healthcare

Case Assignment
As part of a State Budget and Appropriations Subcommittee, you have been charged with reviewing health data of local health jurisdictions and establishing priorities for funding for the upcoming fiscal year.
After reviewing the following information
Eagle Rock County San Marino County Baldwin County
2,490,653 299,658 250,765
>65 years 372,166 99,885 2,857
Total Population 2,862,819 399,543 253,622
Number of Deaths
4955 900 1854
>65 yrs 9,845 3,700 455
Total Deaths 14,800 4,600 2,309
Cause of Death
Coronary Heart Disease 6,200 1,800 790
Cancer 3,300 1,000 429
Homicide 3,100 800 450
Motor Vehicle Accident 2,200 1,000 640
Case Assignment
Your task is to answer these questions:
1. Calculate and compare the crude and age-specific death rates for each of the three counties (refer to the information Crude, Specific, and Adjusted Rates in the module homepage). Based on the crude death rate, which county appears to have the greatest need for funding? Does the age-specific death rate change your view regarding which county has a greater need for funding? Explain. Why is it possible to have a low crude rate and higher age-specific death rates?
2. Calculate and compare the cause-specific death rates (Use the information at from your background readings). For this, combine data from all counties. Based on the data provided, what do you think are the main health priorities?
Listen to the National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast of October 20, 2001, on Weekend All Things Considered, titled “Public Health.” Then listen to the segment on “Local Public Health” which was broadcast on October 25, 2001, on All Things Considered. (Enter the date of the broadcast followed by the title in quotes in the Search bar.)
Required Reading
Structure and functions of state public health agencies in 2007. Am J Public Health. 2011 Jul;101(7):1179-86. Epub 2011 May 12. Madamala K, Sellers K, Beitsch LM, Pearsol J, Jarris PE.
Beitsch, L. M., Brooks, R. G., Menachemi, N., & Grigg, M. (2006). Structure and Functions of State Public Health Agencies. American Journal of Public Health, 96(1), 167-172. Retrieved from
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR – Core Functions of State Public Health Laboratories. Retrieved from
Johns Hopkins University online lecture series (2008) Core Functions and Essential Service. Retrieved from
Optional Reading
Supercourse. Principles of Public Health – The Mission, Core Functions and Ten Essential Services. Retrieved from
Handler, A., Issel, M., & Turnock, B. (2001). A conceptual framework to measure performance of the public health system. Am J Public Health, 91(8), 1235-1239.
Keane, C., Marx, J., & Ricci, E. (2001). Privatization and the scope of public health: a national survey of local health department directors. Am J Public Health, 91(4), 611-617.