Identifying Unique Neighborhood Characteristics to Guide Health Planning for Stroke and Heart Attack: Fuzzy Cluster and Discriminant Analyses Approaches
Background: Socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic factors are known determinants of stroke and myocardial infarction (MI) risk. Clustering of these factors in neighborhoods needs to be taken into consideration during planning, prioritization and implementation of health programs intended to reduce disparities. Given the complex and multidimensional nature of these factors, multivariate methods are needed to identify neighborhood clusters of these determinants so as to better understand the unique neighborhood profiles. This information is critical for evidence-based health planning and service provision. Therefore, this study used a robust multivariate approach to classify neighborhoods and identify their socio-demographic characteristics so as to provide information for evidence-based neighborhood health planning for stroke and MI.
Methods and Findings: The study was performed in East Tennessee Appalachia, an area with one of the highest stroke and MI risks in USA. Robust principal component analysis was performed on neighborhood (census tract) socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, obtained from the US Census, to reduce the dimensionality and influence of outliers in the data. Fuzzy cluster analysis was used to classify neighborhoods into Peer Neighborhoods (PNs) based on their socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. Nearest neighbor discriminant analysis and decision trees were used to validate PNs and determine the characteristics important for discrimination. Stroke and MI mortality risks were compared across PNs. Four distinct PNs were identified and their unique characteristics and potential health needs described. The highest risk of stroke and MI mortality tended to occur in less affluent PNs located in urban areas, while the suburban most affluent PNs had the lowest risk.
Conclusions: Implementation of this multivariate strategy provides health planners useful information to better understand and effectively plan for the unique neighborhood health needs and is important in guiding resource allocation, service provision, and policy decisions to address neighborhood health disparities and improve population health.
Ashley Pedigo, William Seaver, and Agricola Odoi. "Identifying Unique Neighborhood Characteristics to Guide Health Planning for Stroke and Heart Attack: Fuzzy Cluster and Discriminant Analyses Approaches" PLoS ONE 6.7 (2011): e22693.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/agricola_odoi/26