If you are doing research in social determinants of health perhaps the most relevant health study you never heard of" is the CDC's Adverse Childhood Experiences Study or ACE Study.
Originally created to measure the impact of early adverse childhood experiences on later health and development it has generated dozens of clinical outcome associations pointing to the need of integrating social correlates of health into population studies--especially when looking at health outcomes.
Looking up stream from disease we can see the impact of exposure to adversity in the role of nucleus accumbent in substance dependence, prefrontal cortex and development of executive function, and differences in the amygdala--according to researchers, there are real neurologic causes of behaviors across the lifespan.
Well, imagine you're walking in the forest and you see a bear. Immediately, your hypothalamus sends a signal to your pituitary, which sends a signal to your adrenal gland that says, "Release stress hormones! Adrenaline! Cortisol!"
I work with US Census Data to contextualize Agency for Healthcare and Quality (AHRQ) data resources and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid measures. There is a lot of data and often you need to have a plan for where to begin. I did a quick data visualization of ACE survey data to see what buckets may have the biggest impact.
When you begin to see the narrative unfold you will need to identify a few data resources for granularity and a statistical information layer. For example, here are the subjects included in the
American Community Survey:
You need to include the right context for discussions of health care costs, benefits, risks, and prevention. If the number of phone calls I receive every week about claims data (and what is it good for) are any indication of the pendulum swing--I suggest looking beyond the shiny objects or dataset du jour and discover relevance.
Are you not sure how to begin your data journey? Follow along...and for reading this far into the post here is a resource to get you started:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration--https://www.samhsa.gov/data/
SAMHSA has prioritized data, outcomes and quality - realizing an integrated data strategy and a national framework for quality improvement in behavioral health care will inform policy, measure program impact, and lead to improved quality of services and outcomes of individuals, families, and communities. Data helps SAMHSA and the nation assess the impact of the changes to US health care systems and identify and address behavioral health disparities.
Here is also the ACEs questionnaire. There are also gender specific surveys available on the website.
Adverse Childhood Experience Questionnaire
Remember, think in stories--not statistics...