New findings shed light on health inequalities in New Orleans

Jun 25, 2012
Life expectancy differed by as much as 25 years between a disadvantaged New Orleans zip code in which two of every five adults was a high school dropout, and a zip code where less than one of twelve residents failed to complete high school.

A new study by Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Human Needs researchers shows that lack of education has deep impact on the health and crime rate of a community.

In collaboration with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute and the Virginia Network for Geospatial , the VCU Center on Human Needs is releasing the second of eight studies assessing inequities and related social and in urban and rural communities across the United States. Working alongside the project partners are eight “Place Matters” teams consisting of individuals who work and live in each of the communities studied.

The second report examines health disparities for the city of New Orleans. The city is still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, and areas that are repopulating are experiencing shifting trends in both health and crime.

The technical report by the VCU Center on Human Needs has been translated into a policy brief that has been issued by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute.

“The intention of this study is to provide the technical background necessary for community members to advocate for the regrowth of their neighborhoods in a healthy and safe manner,” said the lead author of the study, Benjamin Evans, a policy research manager at the VCU Center on Human Needs.

Further, according to Evans, core issues that are important to the New Orleans community team that participated in the project – education and crime prevention – are common to many more communities across the nation. The findings of this report can serve as examples of how to impact health equity through policy change.

“The strength of this project is the combination between the research and policy expertise of VCU and the Joint Center with the advocacy capability of community teams organized around the common goal of promoting health equity,” said Evans.

In the New Orleans population, the VCU team examined how educational attainment impacted health and violent crime. They observed that life expectancy differed by as much as 25 years between a disadvantaged New Orleans zip code in which two of every five adults was a high school dropout, and a zip code where less than one of twelve residents failed to complete high school.

According to Evans, crime is a significant concern in New Orleans, and the community team wanted to determine if crime was associated with the rate at which the neighborhood had repopulated. Areas with a larger percentage of repopulated households – whether with returning or new residents – tended to have more violent crime. Also, as with other communities around the nation, education was a significant predictor of violent crime.

In the next several months, the VCU Center on Human Needs will be releasing studies of other communities, including Alameda County in Oakland, Calif.; Baltimore; Cook County in Chicago; Bernalillo County in Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston; and South Delta, Miss.

Explore further: Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

More information: www.jointcenter.org/research/place-matters-for-health-in-orleans-parish-ensuring-opportunities-for-good-health-for-all

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Place matters when it comes to health

Mar 02, 2012

The community or neighborhood you live in can impact your health in big ways, and disadvantaged, low-income populations in the United States are at an increased risk of experiencing unhealthy conditions, more sickness and ...

Understanding where health disparities begin

Oct 06, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- The strongest solutions to health disparities lie outside the health care system — in the community and the policies that affect living conditions, according to a new article co-authored by a Virginia ...

Study finds increased education lowers crime

Dec 06, 2011

New research from The CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity at The University of Western Ontario shows that education, and related education-based initiatives, can reduce crime rates, improve health, lower mortality ...

Recommended for you

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

3 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

6 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

18 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...