A Secondary Analysis of County Health Statistics for the Galveston County of Texas Report
Robbins, Esther Raney
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The health of Galveston County communities (as is common with many areas outside large urban cities) is not fully summarized in a single report; however, a descriptive analysis would benefit community partners such as the Research Education and Community Health coalition who are interested in developing community health plans and for setting goals aimed at improving community health. The objective of this analysis is to compare reported health measures for Galveston County to Texas and the United States to see the most pressing health problems and their determinants of health such as race, gender, age, education and income. The methods included collecting secondary data from the Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 2010, the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, the 2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, and mortality data through the CDC Wonder Query system for Galveston County, Public Health Administration region 6/5S, Texas and the United States. Differences were calculated for each indicator between PHA 6/5S, Galveston County and Texas and/or the nation (for certain measures). To focus on greatest health concerns, only the highest differences were presented. Results revealed that Galveston County’s leading cause of death is cancer compared to Texas and the US with cardiovascular disease as the leading cause. The greatest differences seen for health risks were in the health topics of Prostate Cancer Screening, Colon Cancer Screening, Immunizations, Tobacco Use, Alcohol Use, Mental & Physical Health, and Health Access. 25% of these differences were associated with black race and 20% were associated with no high school education. County Health Rankings differences showed that Galveston County’s premature death rate was higher than the state of Texas. For clinical care, the proportions of primary care providers and mental health providers are fewer patients per one provider compared to Texas. The conclusions of this report reinforce known health disparities such as minority status and lack of education. Cancer deaths as well and access to cancer screenings seem to be the greatest health problems in Galveston County; however, sub-county level data needs to be elucidated to understand more specific population health status.