Restoring mortality as a measure of community health

Robert Charles Wood, The University of Texas School of Public Health


In the last several decades traditional community health indicators have become ambiguous and lost some of their relevance. During this same period national and international health agencies adopted new expanded definitions of Health that include underlying social determinants. These two influences are responsible for a proliferation of new health indicators and many are constructed from a combination of older mortality measures and available information on morbidity. Problems inherent in attempting to combine these sources of information have produced a situation where some indicators are difficult to calculate at the national level and may not function at all for small communities. What is needed is a relevant measure of the burden of ill health appropriate for smaller populations that is accessible to local health planners. Death records are still the best available population health information. In Europe the burden of health problems is often portrayed using 'premature' death. Health agencies in the United States have moved to adopt Years of Potential Life Lost. Both these regions are also developing systems of 'avoidable' or 'preventable' death as health indicators. This research proposes a method combining these methodologies to produce a relevant indicator portraying the burden of ill health in communities.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Wood, Robert Charles, "Restoring mortality as a measure of community health" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3283550.