Before you begin your search for information on your community, you will want to consider some basic questions. Specifically:
How will you define your community geographically?
What levels of government have jurisdiction over your community?
Most of the information that you will be using is collected by government agencies. Some information is collected by the federal government and some by the state and local government. Early in your research, identify relevant government entities and locate their websites. You may find many throughout this guide.
Incidence rate- is a measure of disease frequency that describes how fast new cases (incident cases) are developing.
Incidence rate equals: # of new cases ÷ person-time (a quantification of how long individuals at risk of disease are followed up, i.e., person-years)
Morbidity- is another term for illness or adverse outcomes related to a health condition. A person may have several co-morbidities.
Mortality- is another term for death.
Annual mortality rate equals: # of deaths due to disease ÷ total population at risk for the disease in a single year.
Prevalence- is a measure of disease frequency that describes the proportion of the population that has an existing disease at a single point in time.
Prevalence equals: total # of cases of disease in a population ÷ total population at risk for the disease.
Risk- is the probability that an event will occur. The risk of disease is also called the cumulative incidence of disease and measures the proportion of a population that acquires disease over a certain time interval.
Study design- involves the formulation of trials and experiments to conduct medical and epidemiological research.
Vital statistics- are statistics on live births, fetal deaths, deaths, marriages, and divorces. This data is publicly available and is commonly collected via civil registration.
This guide focuses on Kansas and Missouri. If you are assessing a city or town in another state, use similar resources listed in this guide, but based in that state or location. You can find many resources through a search engine such as Google or Bing.