Skip Navigation Bar

Community Health Status Indicators 2015 Webinar

This CDC/NLM webinar (Tuesday, March 24, reprised on Thursday, March 26) provides an overview of the new features and redesign of CDC’s Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI) 2015 online Web application. Learn firsthand from experts who developed CHSI 2015 about how best to use this redesigned and newly released web application to support community health and health need assessment and population health improvement.

About CHSI 2015

CHSI 2015 is an interactive online tool that produces health profiles for all 3,143 counties in the United States. Each profile includes key indicators of health outcomes that describe the population health status of a county and factors that have the potential to influence health outcomes, such as health care access and quality, health behaviors, social factors and the physical environment. CHSI 2015 supports comparisons to peer counties, HP 2020 targets and national performance, and is designed to complement other available sources of community health indicators including the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. First issued in 2000, CHSI 2015 represents the collaboration of public health partners in the public, non-profit and research communities, including the National Library of Medicine. Visit the new CHSI Web application today! //

Javascript not present, please download and play the video on your device.


CHSI 2015 Web Application - PowerPoint Presentation

Video Transcript


List of Questions from CHSI Webinar

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Q: Can you choose your own peer counties, for example, if you want to look at all the counties in your own state?

A: At the current time, the CHSI 2015 web application does not allow users to select their own peer counties.

Q: Please define peer counties and how often are peer county variables evaluated?

A: The CHSI 2015 peer counties are sets of counties that have been matched on 19 social, economic and demographic factors using a cluster analysis method adapted from Statistic Canada. The most recently available data from the Census QuickFacts file and the American Community Survey was used to identify the peer county groupings. Although CDC has not established a set timeframe, the need to identify new peer county groupings will be periodically assessed as updated Census data is released. More details on the methods and data used for the peer county groupings can be found on the CHSI 2015 “How to use CHSI 2015” web page.

Q: It’s hard for smaller states like Hawaii that only has 4 counties total, not to be able to compare within the state, so I look forward to having this individual capacity included with the tool.

A: CDC appreciates this comment.

Q: What is the source for the data on the language spoken in the home in LAP status? Census only?

A: The source for the data on language spoken at home is the American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau.

Q: I typed in (I missed the “n” after the www, and it brought up a different website). It was hard to find the CHSI website.

A: CDC is aware of this issue and is working to correct it. In the interim, users may find it useful to access the site by searching Google using the term “CHSI”.

Q: The previous version of CHSI had a printable option for a booklet like document. Is this still possible?

A: The 2008 and 2009 versions of CHSI offered users the option of printing a full report of indicators, definitions, and data sources for each county. At the current time, the CHSI 2015 web application does not offer this functionality. However, CDC will consider it as one of the potential future user-driven application improvements.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Q: Who is the target audience for this call?

A: Target audience is the public health workforce, especially anyone working on a community health needs assessment or community benefit. Also, information professional who work with the public health community. And lastly, anyone who wants to learn more about the redesigned CHSI 2015.

Q: Race is not included in the list of clustering variables. It is assumed that the effect of ‘race’ is totally explained by the other variables? Was this tested?

A: Our decision to exclude variables for race in assigning peer groupings was not made lightly. We considered compelling reasons for both including and excluding this measure. Specifically, we recognized that most race-related health disparities are not biological in nature but are the likely result of historical socioeconomic inequalities. Ultimately, the intended practical utility of these peer groups, particularly benchmarking one county’s performance against other similar counties and shifting focus toward the upstream modifiable factors, drove the decision. Including race in the establishment of peer counties would likely result in minority communities being compared to other minority communities and less emphasis on the upstream factors that contribute to health disparities. While recognizing the merits of both sides of this issue, we decided not to include measures of the racial composition of a county.

Q: Smoking is reported in both CHSI and County Health Rankings. What accounts for the difference in the smoking rates between the two for the same year?

A: The adult smoking rates in CHSI 2015 and the 2015 release of the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps are based on the same data. The slight difference noted is a result of rounding to the nearest whole number for the estimates provided by the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.

Q: Has anyone from the media contacted you all regarding the new site in general or for specific county-level indicators?

A: Yes, we received calls from local media stations in northern California and Connecticut. Note: Unlike the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps and other indicator applications designed to attract media attention such as America’s Health Rankings, CHSI 2015 is primarily designed as a tool to assist stakeholders and the public with understanding and improving community health.

Q: For some measures why are population data not available?

A: Population data is currently only available for the CHSI 2015 mortality data. CDC is aware of the need to examine health indicators by race/ethnicity, specific age groups, and sex in order to identify potential health disparities and better target effective interventions. Therefore, including additional indicators for these populations is a goal for future releases.

Q: Can you do analyses by more than one variable at a time? For example, poverty by sex and age?

A: The CHSI 2015 web application does not currently allow users to compare indicators stratified by multiple variables. However, this functionality is available for the CHSI 2015 county level mortality data available from CDC WONDER.

Q: Any comparison with the CHW (Dignity Health)/Truven Health “Community Needs Index” (CNI)?

A: CDC and partners designed CHSI 2015 to complement the growing number of indicator applications related to health care and public health. The unique features of CHSI 2015 are the peer county comparisons and the inclusion of a wide range of health outcome indicators reflecting overall population health status integrated with the range of factors that can influence health including indicators of health care quality and access, health behaviors, social factors, and the physical environment.