Introduction: Estimates of disability in this country are as high as 20%. State health departments need to provide the core activities to deal with this public health problem including assessment, policy development, and assurance. A collaboration among academic institutions and the Missouri Department of Health (MDOH) is a model for providing this core. Methods: A disability workgroup was established among bureaus of the MDOH and three universities. This group selected the disability domain of mobility impairments for initial work. Existing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in Missouri and data from the 1990 Census were analyzed. Dissemination of the findings involved community and consumer participation via an advisory group and a public health-sponsored conference on disability. In addition, new data collection efforts are underway using the BRFSS. Education and training activities include both public health students and public health practitioners in learning the content and methodology associated with disability epidemiology. Results: Data analyses have identified rural geographic areas of the State with high levels of disability and a trend of increasing work disability since 1993. A selected key condition, arthritis, has been confirmed as having a high prevalence (28%) in Missouri. These data also demonstrate that there is a strong risk of limitations associated with arthritis [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 3.57; 95% confidence intervals 3.0, 4.2]. These results will be applied to program planning. Conclusions: The Missouri program is succeeding in providing both academic and public health practice partners with a productive experience that meets the needs of each.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health