Synoptic Analysis of ASTHO, NACCHO, NALBOH Surveys
Data Harmonization: Updates
The Data Harmonization Project seeks to promote PHSSR through facilitating the use of various data resources, particularly data from the ASTHO, NACCHO and NALBOH Profile studies. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Data Harmonization Project coordinates a variety of the mechanics of the three associations’ separate Profile surveys of boards of health and health departments. The three Profile surveys provide the primary data on public health agencies, and the differing methods and methodologies employed to gather these data previously have hampered efforts to link the Profile surveys for research on the public health system.
To date, harmonization efforts have achieved a number of notable successes:
- All three associations conducted a census of their respective constituent agencies over a single 15-month period in 2010-11, allowing researchers to use data that draws from public health agencies over the same time period.
- The surveys utilized the same geographic and demographic questions, and efforts were made to link local boards of health and local health departments where possible. This can be difficult - a district health department services multiple counties and may work with multiple county-level boards of health, or a single regional board of health may oversee multiple local health departments. The 2010-11 NALBOH and NACCHO surveys clarify these connections between local health agencies and boards.
- The surveys used the same basic survey administration methodology and the same vendor to supply the online survey portals.
- The three associations began, and continue, to align their surveys' questions through uniform wording, uniform definitions of survey terms, and documentation of instances where terms or wording varies.
- In 2012, data on state health initiatives, local board governance issues, and local health department services will be available for each county. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides it free to the public through its archiving agreement with the University of Michigan's Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.
ASTHO, NACCHO and NALBOH currently provide information on their websites about their survey materials and reports. ASTHO maintains a Data & Analysis page where users can download its questionnaire and codebook. NACCHO recently published the results of its 2010 National Profile of Local Health Departments. Lastly, users can visit the NALBOH publications page to order copies of the available resources.
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ASTHO NACCHO NALBOH
Data Harmonization Dictionary