Research Update #1 – Determining the Diseases of Focus and the Methods of Analysis

No governmental surveys have broken down the homeless population into the subpopulations utilized in this study. Furthermore, most research, public and private, treats the homeless population as a unified cohort making subpopulation analyses difficult. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), conducts an annual report of the patient demographics and morbidities for those using their Health Centers designated to underserved populations, including the homeless. Though the data from the 2017 survey is unusable as it did not address specific subpopulations, I adapted the questions from the survey to create a list of study. By asking the questions, the HRSA and HHS expressed interest in these diseases as a demonstration of their prevalence in underserved populations and in the general population, therefore, making these diseases worthy of studying. Thus, I am qualitatively assessing all of the subpopulations regarding asthma, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, mental health disorders, obesity, and substance abuse. Other diseases, such as hepatitis, hypertension, and high cholesterol, were excluded as the HRSA did not survey children and youth for these morbidities and as these disorders are not common in younger populations. Continually, I am conducting a literature review spanning Medline, PubMed, and Primo incorporating Boolean search phrases (i.e. “homeless AND the disease of study AND the population of study”). All usable articles are to be published within the last 10 years and from a peer reviewed journal. For some diseases, I incorporate factors relevant to the diseases, for instance food insecurity for diabetes and obesity, into the database search. The analysis focuses on the disease’s process, prevalence, incidence, risk factors of the disease which limit health care and social service utilization among the homeless, and other factors specific to the disease’s manifestation in the homeless subpopulation.