Charisse Madlock-Brown, PhD, MLS, assistant professor of Health Informatics and Information Management in the College of Health Professions and co-director of Informatics at the Tennessee Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, recently gave the keynote address at Oregon State University’s End of Summer Symposium via Zoom.
The title of her presentation was “Social determinants of health related to COVID-19: disparities between urban and rural communities,” which focused on her work on the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (n3C) as the co-lead for the social determinants of health and COVID-19 task team. Researchers on this team identify publicly available datasets, perform data quality assessment on data elements of interest, and create getting started materials.
“My presentation gives insight into the importance of identifying the social determinants of health that are related to vulnerability to high COVID-19 incidence and poor outcomes,” she said.
Dr. Madlock-Brown specifically highlighted the urban/rural status as a social determinant of health. “When you combine urban/rural status with other social determinants, you begin to see a bigger disparity in COVID-19 incidence between urban and rural counties,” she said.
Oregon State University is part of a three-state rural Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) partnership led by the University of Virginia, and also including Iowa State University, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University. DSPG includes strong engagement with university Extension systems to reach rural communities, and a summer Young Scholars Program in which groups of students use data science to address challenges of rural communities. A major focus area is rural economic mobility, which aligns with Dr. Madlock-Brown’s studies of the social determinants of health.