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Graduate Nursing: Community Health

Library resources to support research and evidence-based practice in the ELMSN, MSN, FNP, and DNP programs

Tutorial: Community Health Statistics

State and Local Data

These data sources focus on state, county, and city data in the United States.

Remember that you can often get the same kind of information from national sources (below) by drilling down from national-level statistics.

Also, a lot of health and vital statistics data aren't available at the level of smaller geographic areas like cities. You may need to look at state- or county-level data.

Health Status Reports and Needs Assessments

State and county governments often produce reports of health status and community needs assessments. Check the website of the local Board of Health, Department of Public Health, hospital system, or similar agencies for relevant reports. A few agencies in the Metro Atlanta area are listed below. Many more agencies are probably available online. Ask a librarian for help if you're not finding what you need. 

Reports from Local Hospital Systems

National Data

These data sources cover health-related demographics and statistics for the entire United States. You can often find regional, state, county, or city information by drilling down in these national sources.

Note: these sources have good data, but it's not always extremely recent. These national surveys only happen occasionally (like the U.S. Census is every ten years) and then it takes even longer for the agencies to analyze the numbers. 

International Data

These links cover health statistics from a global perspective. They often include the United States, but usually at a country-wide level. 

Are you looking for community-level data about a community outside the United States? Try looking for statistics from government agencies and nonprofit organizations from that country.

For example, here are links for health information relevant to the state of Yucatán in Mexico. Note how it's a combination of Mexican government agencies, scholarly research articles, and international organizations. Some are country-level stats that would still apply to the state level, while some are specifically about the state. You may need to think creatively about where stats for your community would be published. Contact your librarian if you're not finding what you need!

If the data is published in a language you don't speak, check to see if your web browser has a translation feature. Google Chrome usually offers translation automatically. 

Citing Sources in APA Style

Here is guidance for citing information from government agencies and large organizations. These are general guidelines. For more information, see the Statistics or Government Documents tab of the APA 7 guide. Ask a librarian for help if you're unsure. 

Author: If an individual person is listed as an author, use their name. If not, use the organization or government agency as the author. 

Example of individual person listed as author:

Rosenbaum, S. (2021, June 7). Principles to consider for the implementation of a community health needs assessment process. School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University. https://nnphi.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/PrinciplesToConsiderForTheImplementationOfACHNAProcess_GWU_20130604.pdf

Example of organization listed as author:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 3). CDC announces more than $300 million in funding to support community health workers. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0903-health-worker-funding.html

Title: Use the title of the webpage or report. If there is a report number, include it in (parentheses) after the report title. In general, follow APA article title rules where the title is mostly lower-case and in italics. Note: sometimes the website or report title has an italicized word, like Salmonella. In that case, you’d reverse it and italicize everything in the title *except* the originally-italicized word.

Example of agency listed as part of larger organization. Note how the report number, found on the back cover of the PDF, is in parentheses after the title.

National Cancer Institute. (2018). Eating hints: Before, during, and after cancer treatment (NIH Publication No. 18-7157). U.S. Department of Health, National Institutes of Health. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/eatinghints.pdf

Example of reference with italics in the title. Note how Salmonella is italicized in the original webpage, so we’re indicating that it’s special by *not* italicizing it in the reference list.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, June 17). Salmonella outbreaks linked to small turtles. https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/typhimurium-02-21/index.html

Larger organization: Sometimes you'll see several government agencies listed on a report or website. Usually one agency is the larger "parent" agency of the smaller, more specific department. When this happens, you should list the smallest, most specific agency as the author. List the larger parent organization as the publisher.

If only one government agency is listed, you don't have to hunt down a parent agency. Just list the one government agency as the author and skip the publisher section. The APA experts have told us that the guidance is flexible for this situation.

Example of agency listed as part of larger organization. Note how the front and back covers of the PDF mentioned the larger parent agencies of the US Department of Health and the National Institutes of Health, so we’re listing them in the publisher spot here.

National Cancer Institute. (2018). Eating hints: Before, during, and after cancer treatment (NIH Publication No. 18-7157). U.S. Department of Health, National Institutes of Health. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/eatinghints.pdf

Example of agency not listed as part of larger organization:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 3). CDC announces more than $300 million in funding to support community health workers. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0903-health-worker-funding.html

Linked URL: In general, include a URL that will take your reader to the same information you're seeing. Do not include "Retrieved from" or a date unless the information is often updated and may change before your reader can see it. General webpages often change, while PDFs do not. 

Interested in More?

Contact your librarian for help! The Brenau Library is here to help you find, evaluate, and cite data about community health and other topics.

You can also explore this health statistics tutorial from the National Libraries of Medicine.

Librarian

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Emily Thornton
Contact:
Gainesville Campus, Trustee Library
625 Academy St NE Gainesville, GA 30501
OR
Norcross Campus
3139 Campus Dr Norcross, GA 30071
(770) 531-3165
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