Viewers can explore community-level risk of inequities in life expectancy, cancer mortality, drug overdoses and more
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, today announced that the RTI Rarity™ dashboard, which draws on a comprehensive data library of community-level measures of social and behavioral determinants of health, is now available to the public.
The dashboard illuminates the biggest local social inequities in health outcomes across the U.S. and where resources are available relative to the areas with the greatest need, among other important issues.
The RTI Rarity team uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) methods to generate a suite of neighborhood-level risk scores based on local social determinants of health. The scores draw from the RTI Rarity data library of small-area measures. The project uses random forest models and other advanced AI/ML methods to understand health outcomes at the Census tract and ZIP code levels across the U.S. The composite measures are called Local Social Inequity (LSI) scores, and both the risk quantiles and selected community attributes and resources are now viewable on the new dashboard.
Screenshot of the RTI Rarity dashboard
“We’re striving to improve the human condition in the U.S. by drawing attention to neighborhoods that need more resources to address social determinants of health and advance health equity,” said Lisa M. Lines, Ph.D., MPH, a senior health services researcher at RTI who has directed the RTI Rarity project since its inception in 2019. “The new RTI Rarity dashboard offers insight into what is driving health inequities. For example, by plotting the locations of family planning clinics relative to our LSI scores for sexual and reproductive health, users can see that clinics are often missing in higher-risk areas.”
The RTI Rarity team curates a regularly updated data library of more than 230 measures across 10 domains of social determinants of health, including income, employment, and inequality; educational attainment and quality; health care access, quality, and costs; transportation; criminal and legal systems; bias, stress, and trauma; community health, well-being, and healthy behaviors; food security and access to healthy food; housing affordability and quality; and environmental justice (including climate change).
RTI Rarity’s validated data and scores have been deployed in more than 50 research projects across the institute so far, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and more.
The team has been recognized with a 2022 Disruptive Tech Program Award by G2Xchange and FedHealthIT, a 2023 RTI Press Editorial Board Award for a peer-reviewed journal article about the LSI score development and a 2023 RTI Commercialization Enterprise Award.