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Special Issue "Social and Environmental Determinants of Health and Health Disparities"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Chandra L. Jackson

Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, 111 TW Alexander Drive, Rall Building I Room A327, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: social determinants of health, environment, health disparities, sleep health, cardiometabolic disease
Guest Editor
Dr. Gary Adamkiewicz

Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Landmark Center West Room 404K, 401 Park Dr., Boston, MA 02215, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: housing, health, disparities, indoor air quality, environmental justice

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a special issue on the social and environmental determinants of health disparities and their interaction in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). IJERPH is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes research articles examining the intersection of environment and public health. For detailed information regarding the journal, please refer to https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health disparities in the United States are persistent and costly public health concerns. The causes of these health disparities are complex and involve both social and physical environmental determinants along with their interactions. While the body of research on these mechanisms is growing, many knowledge gaps remain, especially related to the design and implementation of effective intervention strategies to address health disparities. 

This Issue will highlight new research and analyses on the social and environmental determinants of health, and how these pathways can be modified to mitigate negative consequences. Original research papers, metaanalysis, systematic reviews,  case studies, conceptual frameworks, commentaries or editorials, and policy-relevant articles are solicited. Of particular interest are articles involving under-studied topic areas. We also encourage authors to submit studies that address issues and approaches relevant to both developed and developing countries.

We welcome submissions that include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Social and environmental determinants of health;
  • Social (e.g., racial residential segregation) and environmental (e.g., air pollution) determinants of health disparities;
  • Within-group socioeconomic status variation and health;
  • Disaster planning and relief disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities;
  • Natural environments and mental/physical health;
  • Built environment and health;
  • Housing and health;
  • Indoor comfort and health;
  • Energy insecurity and health;
  • Environmental justice;
  • Community-based participatory research;
  • Climate change and health;
  • Public health interventions.

Dr. Chandra L. Jackson
Dr. Gary Adamkiewicz
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Social determinants of health
  • Built environment
  • Natural environment
  • Air pollution
  • Disaster planning and relief
  • Environmental health disparities
  • Environmental justice
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Citizen’s science

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Pride, Love, and Twitter Rants: Combining Machine Learning and Qualitative Techniques to Understand What Our Tweets Reveal about Race in the US
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1766; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101766
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 7 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
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Abstract
Objective: Describe variation in sentiment of tweets using race-related terms and identify themes characterizing the social climate related to race. Methods: We applied a Stochastic Gradient Descent Classifier to conduct sentiment analysis of 1,249,653 US tweets using race-related terms from 2015–2016. [...] Read more.
Objective: Describe variation in sentiment of tweets using race-related terms and identify themes characterizing the social climate related to race. Methods: We applied a Stochastic Gradient Descent Classifier to conduct sentiment analysis of 1,249,653 US tweets using race-related terms from 2015–2016. To evaluate accuracy, manual labels were compared against computer labels for a random subset of 6600 tweets. We conducted qualitative content analysis on a random sample of 2100 tweets. Results: Agreement between computer labels and manual labels was 74%. Tweets referencing Middle Eastern groups (12.5%) or Blacks (13.8%) had the lowest positive sentiment compared to tweets referencing Asians (17.7%) and Hispanics (17.5%). Qualitative content analysis revealed most tweets were represented by the categories: negative sentiment (45%), positive sentiment such as pride in culture (25%), and navigating relationships (15%). While all tweets use one or more race-related terms, negative sentiment tweets which were not derogatory or whose central topic was not about race were common. Conclusion: This study harnesses relatively untapped social media data to develop a novel area-level measure of social context (sentiment scores) and highlights some of the challenges in doing this work. New approaches to measuring the social environment may enhance research on social context and health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Depression Fully Mediates the Effect of Multimorbidity on Self-Rated Health for Economically Disadvantaged African American Men but Not Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1670; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101670
Received: 7 March 2019 / Revised: 17 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
PDF Full-text (896 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background. Although chronic medical conditions (CMCs), depression, and self-rated health (SRH) are associated, their associations may depend on race, ethnicity, gender, and their intersections. In predominantly White samples, SRH is shown to better reflect the risk of mortality and multimorbidity for men [...] Read more.
Background. Although chronic medical conditions (CMCs), depression, and self-rated health (SRH) are associated, their associations may depend on race, ethnicity, gender, and their intersections. In predominantly White samples, SRH is shown to better reflect the risk of mortality and multimorbidity for men than it is for women, which suggests that poor SRH among women may be caused not only by CMCs, but also by conditions like depression and social relations—a phenomenon known as “the sponge hypothesis.” However, little is known about gender differences in the links between multimorbidity, depression, and SRH among African Americans (AAs). Objective. To study whether depression differently mediates the association between multimorbidity and SRH for economically disadvantaged AA men and women. Methods. This survey was conducted in South Los Angeles between 2015 to 2018. A total number of 740 AA older adults (age ≥ 55 years) were enrolled in this study, of which 266 were AA men and 474 were AA women. The independent variable was the number of CMCs. The dependent variable was SRH. Age and socioeconomic status (educational attainment and marital status) were covariates. Depression was the mediator. Gender was the moderator. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the data. Results. In the pooled sample that included both genders, depression partially mediated the effect of multimorbidity on SRH. In gender specific models, depression fully mediated the effects of multimorbidity on SRH for AA men but not AA women. For AA women but not AA men, social isolation was associated with depression. Conclusion. Gender differences exist in the role of depression as an underlying mechanism behind the effect of multimorbidity on the SRH of economically disadvantaged AA older adults. For AA men, depression may be the reason people with multimorbidity report worse SRH. For AA women, depression is only one of the many reasons individuals with multiple CMCs report poor SRH. Prevention of depression may differently influence the SRH of low-income AA men and women with multimorbidity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Social and Environmental Neighborhood Typologies and Lung Function in a Low-Income, Urban Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071133
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 29 March 2019
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Abstract
Consensus is growing on the need to investigate the joint impact of neighborhood-level social factors and environmental hazards on respiratory health. This study used latent profile analysis (LPA) to empirically identify distinct neighborhood subtypes according to a clustering of social factors and environmental [...] Read more.
Consensus is growing on the need to investigate the joint impact of neighborhood-level social factors and environmental hazards on respiratory health. This study used latent profile analysis (LPA) to empirically identify distinct neighborhood subtypes according to a clustering of social factors and environmental hazards, and to examine whether those subtypes are associated with lung function. The study included 182 low-income participants who were enrolled in the Colorado Home Energy Efficiency and Respiratory Health (CHEER) study during the years 2015–2017. Distinct neighborhood typologies were identified based on analyses of 632 census tracts in the Denver-Metro and Front Range area of Colorado; neighborhood characteristics used to identify typologies included green space, traffic-related air pollution, violent and property crime, racial/ethnic composition, and socioeconomic status (SES). Generalized estimating equations were used to examine the association between neighborhood typology and lung function. We found four distinct neighborhood typologies and provide evidence that these social and environmental aspects of neighborhoods cluster along lines of advantage/disadvantage. We provide suggestive evidence of a double jeopardy situation where low-income populations living in disadvantaged neighborhoods may have decreased lung function. Using LPA with social and environmental characteristics may help to identify meaningful neighborhood subtypes and inform research on the mechanisms by which neighborhoods influence health. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Neighborhood Greenness Attenuates the Adverse Effect of PM2.5 on Cardiovascular Mortality in Neighborhoods of Lower Socioeconomic Status
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 814; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050814
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 27 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
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Abstract
Features of the environment may modify the effect of particulate matter ≤2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) on health. Therefore, we investigated how neighborhood sociodemographic and land-use characteristics may modify the association between PM2.5 and cardiovascular mortality. We obtained residence-level [...] Read more.
Features of the environment may modify the effect of particulate matter ≤2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) on health. Therefore, we investigated how neighborhood sociodemographic and land-use characteristics may modify the association between PM2.5 and cardiovascular mortality. We obtained residence-level geocoded cardiovascular mortality cases from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (n = 179,986), and PM2.5 predictions from a satellite-based model (2001–2011). We appended census block group-level information on sociodemographic factors and walkability, and calculated neighborhood greenness within a 250 m buffer surrounding each residence. We found a 2.54% (1.34%; 3.74%) increase in cardiovascular mortality associated with a 10 µg/m3 increase in two-day average PM2.5. Walkability or greenness did not modify the association. However, when stratifying by neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics, smaller PM2.5 effects were observed in greener areas only among cases who resided in neighborhoods with a higher population density and lower percentages of white residents or residents with a high school diploma. In conclusion, the PM2.5 effects on cardiovascular mortality were attenuated by higher greenness only in areas with sociodemographic features that are highly correlated with lower socioeconomic status. Previous evidence suggests health benefits linked to neighborhood greenness may be stronger among lower socioeconomic groups. Attenuation of the PM2.5–mortality relationship due to greenness may explain some of this evidence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Distribution, Spillover Effects and Influences of China’s Two Levels of Public Healthcare Resources
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 582; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040582
Received: 6 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 17 February 2019
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Abstract
In China, upper-level healthcare (ULHC) and lower-level healthcare (LLHC) provide different public medical and health services. Only when these two levels of healthcare resources are distributed equally and synergistically can the public’s demands for healthcare be met fairly. Despite a number of previous [...] Read more.
In China, upper-level healthcare (ULHC) and lower-level healthcare (LLHC) provide different public medical and health services. Only when these two levels of healthcare resources are distributed equally and synergistically can the public’s demands for healthcare be met fairly. Despite a number of previous studies having analysed the spatial distribution of healthcare and its determinants, few have evaluated the differences in spatial equity between ULHC and LLHC and investigated their institutional, geographical and socioeconomic influences and spillover effects. This study aims to bridge this gap by analysing panel data on the two levels of healthcare resources in 31 Chinese provinces covering the period 2003–2015 using Moran’s I models and dynamic spatial Durbin panel models (DSDMs). The results indicate that, over the study period, although both levels of healthcare resources improved considerably in all regions, spatial disparities were large. The spatio-temporal characteristics of ULHC and LLHC differed, although both levels were relatively low to the north-west of the Hu Huanyong Line. DSDM analysis revealed direct and indirect effects at both short-and long-term scales for both levels of healthcare resources. Meanwhile, the influencing factors had different impacts on the different levels of healthcare resources. In general, long-term effects were greater for ULHC and short-term effects were greater for LLHC. The spillover effects of ULHC were more significant than those of LLHC. More specifically, industrial structure, traffic accessibility, government expenditure and family healthcare expenditure were the main determinants of ULHC, while industrial structure, urbanisation, topography, traffic accessibility, government expenditure and family healthcare expenditure were the main determinants of LLHC. These findings have important implications for policymakers seeking to optimize the availability of the two levels of healthcare resources. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Relative Deprivation, Poverty, and Mortality in Japanese Older Adults: A Six-Year Follow-Up of the JAGES Cohort Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16020182
Received: 10 December 2018 / Revised: 5 January 2019 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
PDF Full-text (273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Most studies have evaluated poverty in terms of income status, but this approach cannot capture the diverse and complex aspects of poverty. To develop commodity-based relative deprivation indicators and evaluate their associations with mortality, we conducted a 6-year follow-up of participants in the [...] Read more.
Most studies have evaluated poverty in terms of income status, but this approach cannot capture the diverse and complex aspects of poverty. To develop commodity-based relative deprivation indicators and evaluate their associations with mortality, we conducted a 6-year follow-up of participants in the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES), a population-based cohort of Japanese adults aged 65 and older. We analyzed mortality for 7614 respondents from 2010 to 2016. Cox regression models with multiple imputation were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for mortality. Seven indicators were significantly associated with mortality: no refrigerator, no air conditioner, cut-off of essential services in the past year for economic reasons, and so on. Among participants, 12.0% met one item, and 3.3% met two items or more. The HRs after adjusting for relative poverty and some confounders were 1.71 (95%CI: 1.18–2.48) for relative deprivation, and 1.87 (95%CI: 1.14–3.09) for a combination of relative poverty and deprivation. Relative deprivation was attributable to around 27,000 premature deaths (2.3%) annually for the older Japanese. Measurement of relative deprivation among older adults might be worthwhile in public health as an important factor to address for healthy aging. Full article
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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