Community health is a discipline that concerns itself with the study and betterment of the health characteristics of a given community. While the term community can be broadly defined, community health tends to focus on geographic areas rather than people with shared characteristics. The health characteristics of a community are often examined using geographic information system (GIS) software and public health datasets. Some projects, such as InfoShare or GEOPROJ combine GIS with existing datasets, allowing the general public to examine the characteristics of any given community in the United States.
Because health (broadly defined as well-being) is influenced by a wide array of socio-demographic characteristics, relevant variables range from the proportion of residents of a given age group to the overall life expectancy of the neighborhood. Medical interventions aimed at improving the health of a community range from improving access to medical care to public health communications campaigns. Recent research efforts have focused on how the built environment and socio-econommic status (see socioeconomics) affect health.
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