named the second-place winner in the American Heart Association COVID-19 data challenge for their submission of “Understanding the Impact of Social Determinants of Health on COVID-19 Outbreak.”Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery Assistant Professor Ramaraju Rudraraju, Ph.D., and his team have been
The challenge focuses on understanding the relationships between health conditions, health disparities and social determinants of health at the county level that may bring a higher burden of illness or mortality due to COVID-19. The challenge was judged by a panel of 26 United States-based data science and public health experts. Researchers connected their own data with datasets hosted on BurstIQ’s Research Foundry and the American Heart Association Precision Medicine Platform. Hitachi Vantara is providing more than $100,000 to support the challenge.
The research explored county-level patterns in COVID-19 outbreaks and associated fatality with social determinants of health such as housing, education, economic factors and race. The research found that the socioeconomically deprived counties and counties with a high proportion of immigrant populations reported poor health, had high prevalence of chronic diseases and had steadily increasing deaths due to COVID-19. This research could inform local health officials about the impending risk of COVID-19 at the county level.
“Counties with limited resources and sicker people are experiencing more deaths due to COVID-19 than resource-rich counties,” Rudraraju said. “These counties are also likely to take more time to recover from the pandemic. Insights from our study can help identify the counties that are likely to benefit more by receiving aid for rigorous testing and for prioritizing the distribution of the upcoming vaccines.”
“These data challenge projects are providing much-needed insights into the relationships between COVID-19 and underserved and vulnerable communities,” said Jennifer Hall, Ph.D., chief of Data Science and co-director of the Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine for the American Heart Association. “Each exploration of these relationships helps drive the science to provide not only knowledge, but potential solutions.”
Additional team members included Sandeep Bodduluri, Ph.D., Gargya Malla, M.D., MPH, Ravi Kumar Podapati, Praneeth Reddy Amudala Puchakayala and Venkata Sthanam, M.S.