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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

To examine the issue of disparities in health care, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) produces an annual report to track disparities related to “racial factors and socioeconomic factors in priority populations” (IOM, 2010). Although the emphasis is on disparities related to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, also included is a charge to examine disparities in priority populations, which are groups with unique health care needs or issues that require special attention.
AHRQ’s priority populations, specified by Congress in the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999 are:
Racial and ethnic minority groups
Low-income groups
Children (under age 18)
Older adults (age 65 and over)
Residents of rural areas
Individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life care
Other populations, such as LGBT, are also included.

In completing a community health needs assessment and prioritization, populations most impacted by the priority health issues should be identified. These are the people with which you will work to develop interventions. A priority population may be defined by:
Demographic factors such as age, gender, race/ethnicity, income level, education attainment or grade level, marital status, or health care coverage status
Geography such as a region of a state or a specific community
A location in which the priority population may be reached such as a workplace, school or church.
You may want to use the attached worksheet in determining your priority population:

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Supportive Submission #2 requires you to research, choose, and identify the priority population for your report, then provide a rationale for choosing it as your topic of interest. The rationale should include the social determinants of health that lead to health disparities and contributed to higher rates of overweight and obesity among your priority population.
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