February 27, 2023
Director's Voice Blog
The Role of BSSR in Addressing Health Disparities
As we commemorate Black History Month, it is imperative to acknowledge the pernicious and persistent health disparities affecting Black or African Americans in the United States. These profound health inequities demand our attention, reflection, and, most importantly, our concerted efforts to address the root causes. As OBSSR Director, I am deeply committed to leveraging the power of behavioral and social sciences to foster greater health equity and dismantle the barriers that disproportionately impact African Americans.
Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Spotlights
Deep Neural Network algorithm successfully predicts incident cardiovascular disease in non-Hispanic Black adults, indicating significance of social determinants of health
Non-Hispanic Black men experience the highest rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across all ages when compared to other ethnic and racial groups. Utilizing data collected via the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), researchers supported by NHLBI and NIMHD evaluated standard/biobehavioral risk factors and social determinants of health (SDOH) as features in a complex deep neural network model for CVD risk prediction. They achieved this by utilizing 3 modeling algorithms for 10-year cardiovascular disease predictions among JHS patients and interpreting insights from these models using Shapely Additive Explanation (SHAP) values to compare against input features, to understand the extent of feature importance; features included all standard/biobehavioral, psychosocial/socioeconomic, and environmental factors.
Based on prior research that indicates robust associations between racial segregation and increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) among Black Americans, a team of researchers, one of whom was supported by NHLBI, utilized county-level data on CVD deaths among non-Hispanic (NH) Black and NH White adults aged 25 years and above to investigate associations between racial CVD mortality rate disparities and racial residential segregation.