Ken Studer is the Social Epidemiology and Shortage Designations Manager and Rexford Anson-Dwamena is the Social Epidemiology and Shortage Designation Specialist in the Office. Their work focuses on characterizing inequities in health and healthcare and how such disparities are distributed across the Commonwealth. By analyzing health and healthcare at the community level ~ from neighborhoods to rural and inner city areas ~ they seek to understand the social and environmental determinants of health. Their research is used to identify high priority target areas (HPTA), which support public health program development, and targeted public health interventions to promote health equity. Their analytical skills are featured in the Health Opportunity Index (HOI).
They are also responsible for the development of practice-site databases for all primary care physicians, psychiatrists and general dentists in the Commonwealth. These provider FTEs are required for the designation of Health Provider Shortage Areas and state and federal Medical Underserved Areas. Such designations are central to qualifying areas for federal and state health professional scholarship and loan repayment programs, which are designed to attract providers to these areas. Such designations can also encourage providers to practice in shortage areas through increasing their reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Their epidemiological research is grounded in the understanding of how different social and environmental contexts affect health outcomes. Such interdependencies and the inequities that arise across the Commonwealth are analyzed using geographical information systems (GIS) and many other statistical and model building techniques.