RAND Center for Population Health and Health Disparities Data Core Series

In order to advance the understanding of the links between environment, behavior, and health, the National Institutes of Health established eight Centers for Population Health and Health Disparities; of which, the RAND Center is one. The RAND Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD), along with the other centers, shares an overall goal: to support cutting-edge research to understand and reduce differences in health outcomes, access, and care.

The CPHHD is a part of RAND Health and has five basic objectives:

  1. (1) Study the effects of neighborhoods on health throughout the life cycle and the pathways by which these effects are felt.

  2. (2) Develop a rich data resource that can be used to enhance understanding of how neighborhoods influence health.

  3. (3) Develop robust community-based participatory research partnerships within each of the three cities in which RAND is located (Santa Monica, California; the Washington, D.C. area; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).

  4. (4) Foster a community of interdisciplinary researchers - particularly biological and social scientists - focused on the social determinants of health, specifically the role of neighborhoods.

  5. (5) Inform public policies aimed at improving population health.

The CPHHD Data Core Series is a dynamic collection composed of a wide selection of analytical measures, encompassing a variety of domains, all derived from a number of disparate data sources. The purpose of the CPHHD Data Core series is to provide projects with the data tools necessary to conduct quality, population-based, health-relevant research. There are currently seven studies derived for a variety of substantive areas including: Cost-of-Living, Disability, Pollution, Segregation Indices, Street Connectivity, an Index of Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status, and an Abridged Decennial Census. The CPHHD Data Core's central focus is on geographic measures for census tracts, counties, and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) from two distinct geo-reference points, 1990 and 2000. The number and comprehensiveness of the measures derived within each data set vary according to the expansiveness of the substantive area. Generally speaking, the time periods for which these data are available is the 1990-2000 time period, though data are available for years before and after this time frame, depending upon the data set.