Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration

State of Mind: Alzheimers & Healthy Aging

July 2019, Population Health Spotlight

State of Mind: Alzheimer's & Healthy Aging

As the population of people living with Alzheimer’s is projected to more than double by 2050, states need to be prepared to respond to the disease as a public health issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their Alzheimer's Disease and Healthy Aging Data Portal with state-by-state data on caregiving, mental health and Alzheimer’s Disease that can be used for “prioritization and evaluation of public health interventions.”

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Fighting the Flu: Longest Season in a Decade

The 2018-2019 flu season lasted for 21 weeks, which is the longest in a decade. While the CDC ranked the severity as “moderate,” the flu still killed 61,200 people last year. The flu virus evolves from year to year, so public health officials develop seasonal vaccines to protect people from the most prominent strains. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health hope to develop a universal vaccine that targets structural properties of the virus that stay constant across strains to better defend against the threat of a flu pandemic.

Teen Health: How Does Your State Measure Up?

New data sheets from the Department of Health and Human Services compare state metrics of adolescent health and well-being to national averages, including information on mental health, depression and suicide; substance use; teen birth rates and more.


Personal Perspectives on Social Determinants of Health

Research on social determinants of health often evaluates systems at a community level, but how do individual people view social determinants in their own lives? Anthem’s Public Policy Institute evaluated these different perspectives in partnership with Quid, finding that people focus more on the role of the health care system and their ability to navigate it than on structural factors often featured in academic research like education and income level. For example, people worry about finding the right doctor and obtaining transportation to appointments, among other issues.


Powerhouse Research Partnerships for Better Medical Research

Rutgers University is teaming up with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to combine their research capabilities with Horizon’s data and clinical expertise in a medical research partnership. Projects include research to improve the certainty of cancer screenings; making flu vaccines more effective; responding to the health impact of climate change; and evaluating virtual reality devices as an alternative pain treatment to opioids.

New data from the CDC provides a state-by-state look of Alzheimer’s Disease, caregiving and mental health.