8: No. 5, September 2011
Samuel F. Posner, PhD
Suggested citation for this article: Posner SF.
PCD’s first annual Student Research Contest: Lui and Wallace examine hospitalization rates
for at-risk populations. Prev Chronic Dis
http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2011/sep/11_0172.htm. Accessed [date].
I am pleased to announce that A Common Denominator: Calculating
Hospitalization Rates for Ambulatory Care–Sensitive Conditions in California by Camillia K. Lui and Steven P. Wallace is the winner of the first annual
Preventing Chronic Disease (PCD) Student Research Contest.
Ms Lui is a fourth-year doctoral student at the University of California, Los
Angeles, in the Department of Community Health Sciences. Her advisor is Dr
PCD is dedicated to being the venue for sharing advances in public
health research, practice, and policy, and we are committed to the development
of young public health professionals as part of this effort. To this end, we
have instituted the Student Research Contest as a way to engage students in the publication process and recognize
the outstanding work of the next generation of the public health workforce. In
July 2010, we announced our first annual call for student papers and reached out
to multiple partners to distribute the call and encourage students to submit
their work to PCD.
Papers were due in January 2011, and we received submissions on a range of
topics from institutions throughout the United States. In February and March, a
small team of editorial board members (Drs Bowman, Brownson, Lengerich, and
Remington), PCD’s founding editor (Dr Lynne Wilcox), and I reviewed the
submitted manuscripts. In March we selected the paper by Ms Lui and Dr Wallace as the
Lui and Wallace examined the prevalence, hospitalization rates, and
geographic variability of hypertension and congestive heart failure, 2 chronic
health conditions that are considered to be manageable with effective outpatient
treatment (ie, ambulatory care–sensitive conditions), in California. Their
analysis makes use of 2 large datasets, the California Health Interview Survey (www.chis.ucla.edu/)
and hospital patient discharge files of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (www.oshpd.ca.gov/). This analysis is important to health care
resource planning because it uses the population at risk rather than the total population in calculating hospitalization rates.
With these 2 common conditions, 2 different scenarios emerged. In the case of
hypertension, approximately 74% of the geographic areas did not change in ranked
quintile when comparing age and age/disease prevalence rates, which suggests
that resources are meeting the needs of the at-risk population. However, in the
case of congestive heart failure, 31 of the 55 geographic areas in California
changed quintile rank — approximately 72% by 2 or more ranks. In
this case, the geographic distribution of the population at risk does not mirror
that of the general population. This finding has implications for planning and
targeting public health programs and health care services in areas where the
population at risk resides.
As with any analysis that uses administrative and self-reported data, this study
has limitations, and the results do not identify the one area
that should be changed to inform policy and programs to reduce health care
spending and rates of illness and death. This analysis is thoughtful and
identifies several issues that need further investigation. What are the reasons
for increased rates of age/risk-adjusted hospitalizations in some geographic
areas? Are these observed differences a function of demographic, economic,
geographic, or access factors? What are the interventions needed to ensure that
people receive adequate and appropriate care? This analysis demonstrates the
need to consider disease prevalence when examining hospitalization rates and
that, depending on the condition, resources may need to be redistributed.
to an interview with Camillia Lui, winner of the inaugural
Preventing Chronic Disease Student Paper Competition. (MP3
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A transcript of this interview is
Congratulations to Ms Lui on winning the first annual PCD Student
Research Contest. Several outstanding papers were submitted, and the decision
was not an easy one. We thank all of the students who submitted papers for this
contest and recognize the hard work that goes into publishing scientific work.
Please listen to the short podcast with Ms Lui to hear her discuss her article. Manuscripts
for the second annual PCD Student Research Contest are now being accepted, and
the winning manuscript will be published in 2012.
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Samuel F. Posner, PhD, Editor in Chief, Preventing Chronic Disease, National
Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, Mailstop K-85, 4770 Buford Hwy, NE, Atlanta, GA
30341-3717. Telephone: 770-488-6398. E-mail:
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