the workshop presentations and discussion. It does not present any formal recommendations or conclusions from the committee.


Improving the health of communities requires looking beyond the contributions of medical care and providers of personal health care services. Similarly, measures of community health must be based on a broader population than those who have received medical care or who are members of a particular health plan. The first two presentations gave the committee an opportunity to learn about projects based on building links between the medical and the community perspectives.

Assessing a Community's Health2

Washington Heights/Inwood is a neighborhood of about 200,000 residents, predominantly lower income and Latino, in the northern part of Manhattan in New York City. It also is the home of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. In producing Washington Heights/Inwood: The Health of a Community (Garfield and Abramson, 1994), the Health of the Public Program at Columbia University used data gathering for an assessment of the community's health as a way to build better ties between the academic health center and the community.

The report, which has proved useful to many different groups, presents a broad range of information about the community, including health-related data (e.g., death rates and immunization rates) and health services measures (e.g., ambulatory care visits and inpatient insurance status). Also presented are data on characteristics of the community that can influence health, such as ethnicity, immigration status, household composition, per capita income, and educational attainment. For many measures, the report shows that Washington Heights/Inwood has relatively good health status. Household stability among the predominantly immigrant population may be a factor. The neighborhood is not without health problems, however. Of particular concern are violence, AIDS, and teen pregnancy.

The discussion also emphasized the need to consult with the likely audience for such reports to identify issues of interest and


This section is based on a presentation by Richard Garfield.

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