This blog covers advances in child health research and in mapping techniques. We apply these stories to central Texas.
By Sam Tedford
In recent years, Austin has settled in near the top of the list of fastest growing cities in the United States. And though we know that the city is rapidly growing, there is still much to understand about the changing demographics of Austin. Historically, racist urban planning led Austin to develop into an intensely segregated city both economically and racially with large concentrations of urban poor communities and communities of color forced into certain neighborhoods on the east side. However, in the changing social and economic environment of Austin today, the geography of poverty and race is unlike anything this city has seen before. A quickly growing city means a growing demand for housing, which has led to a major affordability crisis in the Austin housing market, and the displacement of many low income residents due to gentrification. For my study I focused on one of the most vulnerable populations directly affected by poverty and displacement: children. The study analyzes the geographic distribution of economically disadvantaged children in Austin and the surrounding areas across ten years from 2005 to 2015.
Mapping Disadvantaged Populations
In the 2004-2005 school year, 117 out of 200 campuses in the study area qualified as Title I. In the 2014-2015 school year, 164 out of 266 campuses qualified as Title I.
Mapping Change over Time
Mapping Directional Distribution
Mapping Distance from Austin City Center
The health care delivery and health planning landscape in the Austin MSA is changing rapidly. COH desires for itself and for the benefit of its community partners to add value to the strategic initiatives being established at the Dell Medical School (DMS) and by other governmental, nonprofit, and health-focused entities in Central Texas. COH enjoys a strong reputation as a trusted data steward, provider of high-quality geospatial analysis, and convener of action-oriented health summits.
In order to build on that reputation and enhance value to Central Texas, Children’s Optimal Health (COH) is very pleased to have contracted for the consulting services of Dr. Anjum Khurshid, MD, PhD, MPAff.
Dr. Khurshid will provide insight into better positioning COH to interface with the multiplicity of groups at DMS and elsewhere that are pursuing health-related innovations in Austin. Dr. Khurshid has the background and experience to help COH develop relationships with new and existing partners that more effectively match its capacity to emerging needs. Dr. Khurshid can also help COH access funding and technical assistance from national programs (both governmental and philanthropic) that support community-oriented, data-sharing activities.
|Children’s Optimal Health (COH) has prepared this series of maps in which the Austin City Council districts under the 10-1 system are overlaid on maps previously produced by COH. This was done to spark discussion on how the changes to Council could impact, and be impacted by, child health needs. The districts are delineated by color except in the map of “Medicaid-eligible children by ZIP Code” in which the districts are bordered in red. Please contact us regarding any questions you may have about these maps.|
Transportation-Related Child Injury
Child Oral Health
Humans are social creatures, and we unconsciously ‘normalize’ our behavior to match those around us. Understanding this adaptation can help communities create policies that influence people to make healthy decisions. Based on this idea, one group of researchers in New Zealand has developed a novel method to measure visible behaviors which can help target interventions and assess their effectiveness. Using “viewshed analysis,” the team quantified the number of smokers that could be seen from any given location within a study area at various times and mapped it out.
The researchers only used this study to compare smoking visibility between different times of day and to compare weekdays to weekends. However, Dr. Philip Huang, the Medical Director and Health Authority for the Austin/Travis County HHS Department, sees the value in time series mapping to measure the effectiveness of health policies: “a replication of the study described in the article could definitely be of value in Austin…a pre-/post-test could be done if there is ever any policy change addressing smoking in outdoor restaurant and bar patios.” According to the research article, this method could also be “applied to measure other health-related [behaviors] including physical activity or consumption of unhealthy foods.”
Many children injured in traffic collisions develop subsequent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) according to a newly published study from Sweden. As many as one-third of children brought to the emergency department (ED) after sustaining a traffic injury “fulfilled diagnostic criteria” for PTSD after one month, with 23% still showing symptoms three to six months after the crash. These psychological issues are often overlooked, as the severity of psychological symptoms is unrelated to the severity of physical injuries. Risk factors for developing symptoms of PTSD include “a perceived threat to life and high levels of distress during and immediately after” a crash. While PTSD symptoms are currently under-addressed, Texas trauma researchers are studying “prevention and control strategies” to understand mental health outcomes of children after involvement in traffic collisions.
In Austin several thousand children are involved in traffic collisions each year as drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. While post-trauma control strategies are the responsibility of medical professionals, groups leading prevention efforts must know where to target resources for a community to create optimal impact. The patterns of where these occur can be seen in maps produced by Children’s Optimal Health for the second Transportation-related Child Injury project. From 2010 to 2012 there were 7,678 collisions involving children, and 434 collisions between motor vehicles and child pedestrians or bicyclists, in the jurisdiction of the Austin Police Department (APD).
 “Many Children Affected by Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after Traffic Accidents.” Retrieved 30 July 2014.
 “The association between positive screen for future persistent posttraumatic stress symptoms and injury incident variables in the pediatric trauma care setting.” Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 2012 June 72(6):1640-6. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31824a4c75. Retrieved 30 July 2014.