About the Health and Medical Care Archive

Content and Goals

The Health and Medical Care Archive (HMCA) is the data archive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care in the United States. Operated by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan with funding from RWJF, HMCA preserves and disseminates data collected by selected research projects funded by RWJF and facilitates secondary analyses of the data. The data collections in HMCA include large-scale surveys of the American public about public health, attitudes towards health reform, and access to medical care; surveys of health care professionals and organizations, public health professionals, and nurses; evaluations of innovative programs for the delivery of health care, and many other topics and populations of interest. Our goal is to increase understanding of health and health care and the factors that contribute to health in the United States through secondary analysis of RWJF-supported data collections.

Submission Procedures

RWJF requires many of the research projects that it funds to deposit their data with HMCA. RWJF is not directly responsible for the collection, preparation, or analysis of the date that are submitted to HMCA. In collaboration with HMCA, the timely submission of these data collections is closely monitored by RWJF. HMCA provides consultation, by telephone and written communication, to RWJF grantees on the preparation of their data collections in a manner optimal for secondary analysis. To this end, RWJF grantees also receive ICPSR's Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving, which was produced with support from RWJF. The preferred data formats for submissions to HMCA are ASCII, SAS, SPSS, and Stata files. Grantees should use the ICPSR Electronic Data Deposit Form to securely upload files via their Web browser.

Data Processing Activities

ICPSR staff prepare metadata and execute other processing functions that ensure respondent anonymity and the integrity, usability, and preservation of each data collection. Data files are usually released in the original data formats provided by the principal investigators, together with any submitted setup files, and original technical documentation is scanned, edited, and augmented as needed. If data files are not submitted in ASCII format, HMCA generates ASCII versions of the files. In addition, HMCA staff generate univariate frequencies and prepare SAS, SPSS, and/or Stata setups for many collections. Moreover, HMCA is retrofitting some previously released HMCA collections with the full ICPSR suite of setups and data formats. The full suite comprises SAS, SPSS, and Stata setups and five data formats: SAS, SPSS, Stata, column-delimited ASCII, and tab-delimited ASCII.

Dissemination and Preservation

With funding support from RWJF, HMCA distributes the processed data collections free of charge to the research community and provides technical support to users of the data. ICPSR is committed to preserving the archival holdings of HMCA in perpetuity.