A Major Achievement: The Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 Baseline and Health Disparities Report

  e.shor, MPH and Christina R. Hanna, MPH
  Population Health Service Fellows
  HIV/AIDS Program, Division of Public Health
  Madison, Wisconsin

Over the past few years, many Fellows and staff at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) have been working to put together the Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 Baseline and Health Disparities Report. The report serves both as a baseline report for Healthiest Wisconsin (HW) 2020, Wisconsin's state health plan, and as a report on health disparities in Wisconsin. Users can orient themselves to this large report by reviewing the text on the web page and the Executive Summary.

The report is organized into health focus areas, an infrastructure focus area focusing on access to high-quality health services, and data summaries by population. The health focus areas include:
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Chronic disease prevention and management
  • Communicable disease prevention and control
  • Environmental and occupational health
  • Healthy growth and development
  • Injury and violence
  • Mental health
  • Nutrition
  • Oral health
  • Physical activity
  • Reproductive and sexual health
  • Tobacco use and exposure

The data summaries by population highlight demographic and socioeconomic data for each population and emphasizes health risk behaviors and outcomes where that population experiences disparities compared to other groups. The populations highlighted in this report include:
  • Blacks/African Americans
  • American Indians
  • Asians
  • Hispanics/Latinos
  • Lower socioeconomic status populations
  • People with disabilities
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender populations
  • Geography (rural, suburban, urban)

Fellows worked on many pieces of the report including writing SAS codes, running data, analyzing data, putting together the PowerPoint, and writing some of the chapters, editing, and evaluation. It was truly a team effort with over 60 contributors. The current and former Fellows that have contributed to this important report include Akbar Husain, Anneke Mohr, Erica LeCounte, Christina Hanna, Carly Hood, Lindsay Menard, Melissa Olson, Kelli Stader, and e.shor.

This report is unique is that it brings together a rich set of data on a diverse range of populations. Within the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, program areas have epidemiologists that collect, analyze, and present data specific to that area. For example, the HIV Program has staff members who collect and compile data and publish reports on HIV in Wisconsin. There is no one epidemiologist that is charged to compile data about racial and ethnic populations, LGBT people, and other marginalized communities and the health disparities that these communities face. A large number of people stepped out of their usual responsibilities to help put this report together. Another unique aspect of this report is that it highlights communities that are often left behind and do not get enough attention, especially given the extreme health disparities in Wisconsin. All of these factors make it incredibly important to get this report out to people working on these issues and working in these communities. If you think of someone who could benefit from the information in this report please send them the link and do your part in getting the word out!