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May 27, 2016

Podcast: Working toward health equity using information systems

Sudha Setty (right) and me (left) shortly after our podcast interview

I was fortunate to attend the American Immunization Registry Association (AIRA) National Meeting last month in Seattle, WA. I attended a lot of great sessions at the AIRA meeting—and even led a session myself—and one of the presentations really jumped out at me. Sudha Setty from the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection spoke about the ways her department used IIS data to explore questions related to health equity. Her presentation was called, “Using an IIS and Vital Statistics Data to Measure Racial/Ethnic Immunization Coverage Disparities in Minnesota.” The analysis not only provided a clearer picture of differences in immunization rates among populations in the state, it also impacted outreach initiatives at the Minnesota Department of Health.

“[This project] has opened the door for us to do additional analysis for looking at other possible immunization gaps in Minnesota, across race and ethnicity lines.”

- Sudha Setty
Minnesota Department of Health

I’m very grateful Sudha took the time to speak with me about this project, and I learned a lot in the process. Our conversation explores many ideas, from how media coverage can influence health-related behaviors, to how anecdotal information can lead to a hypothesis that can then be tested. Sudha also discusses the importance of good relationships across organizational silos within a health department (you may even say they’re vital), and how good data also strengthen public health’s community ties.

If you’re interested in seeing the data graphs Sudha mentions in our conversation, check out her presentation on the AIRA website.