Public Health

in the City of Tulsa

Public Health in Tulsa is inextricably linked to socioeconomic status and heavily dictates quality of life. Regular preventative check-ups and healthy lifestyles can be considered luxury expenses to disadvantaged Tulsans struggling to keep any food on their table or a roof over their heads. Without good health or the ability to cover medical necessities, individual quality of life suffers; when numerous Tulsans are impacted by a lack of adequate healthcare, social progress stalls.

The Public Health theme addresses inequalities by race, geography and veteran status. These groups experience disparities in healthcare, health conditions and health outcomes.

The topics for the Public Health theme are Healthcare Access, Mortality, and Well-being.

You can see a snapshot of the indicators averaged in this theme in the chart to your right and then visit the sections below for more detail.

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Healthcare Access

The indicators in the Healthcare Access topic are:
  • Race & Health Insurance
  • Geography & Emergency Room Use
  • Veterans & Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinics Appointment Wait Time
Even as healthcare has become more accessible through the Affordable Care Act, there are still many obstacles for some of the more disadvantaged groups in Tulsa. There are racial disparities in health insurance coverage as well as inequalities in emergency room use by region of the city. For veterans, wait time for an appointment in Tulsa is higher than that of the national average.

Look at the chart to your right for an overall picture of this topic, and then look at each indicator and the scores in context for more detail and additional findings.

Indicators within Healthcare Access

  • Race & Health Insurance

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of White to Hispanic / Latino rates of insurance coverage for the adult population age 18-64

    What are the Results?
    White 85.5%; Hispanic / Latino 44.9%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    1.904

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    44

    What Did We Find?
    Individuals without health insurance face not only health issues, but also economic and educational issues as a result of poor healthcare. Insurance coverage disparities are apparent by race. White adults age 18-64 (85.5%) are almost twice as likely to be insured as Hispanic / Latinos (44.9%). White adults are followed by Black adults (75.9%), Asian adults (75.7%), and Native American adults (65.8%).

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2016 1-Year Estimates

  • Geography & Emergency Room Use

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of the number of emergency room visits per 1,000 population in North Tulsa to South Tulsa

    What are the Results?
    North Tulsa 668.1; South Tulsa 285.2

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    2.342

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    38

    What Did We Find?
    There are a number of reasons that a person may choose to use the emergency room instead of scheduling a visit with a primary care physician. Often, it is due to things like proximity to a healthcare center, clinic times, or affordability of health insurance. Residents of North Tulsa are over twice as likely (668.1) to use the emergency room as South Tulsa residents (285.2). West Tulsa has the second highest use of emergency rooms (447.5), followed by East Tulsa (425.6), and Midtown (386.4).

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Health Data & Evaluation, Tulsa Health Department (by request); U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2015 5-Year Estimates

  • Veterans & Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinics Appointment Wait Time

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of the percent of appointments completed in over 30 days for Tulsa Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics to the national average percent of appointments completed in over 30 days

    What are the Results?
    Tulsa VA clinics 5.01%; National average 3.69%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    1.351

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    68

    What Did We Find?
    Tulsa is underperforming in veterans being able to complete appointments within a month of scheduling compared to the national average. About 5% of appointments are completed in over 30 days of scheduling, compared to the national average of 3.69%. Additionally, the average wait time for mental health services in the two Tulsa VA clinics are 2.02 days and 8.53 days. The national average wait time for mental health services is 2.97 days.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA.gov), Completed Appointment Wait Times National, Facility, and Division Level Summaries, Wait Time Measured from Preferred Date for the Reporting Period Ending: October 2017

Mortality

The indicators in the Mortality topic are:
  • Race & Infant Mortality
  • Geography & Life Expectancy Past Age of Retirement
  • Race & Heart Disease Mortality
The infant mortality rate (IMR) is often used as an indicator of the overall health of a community. While the overall IMR in Tulsa County has been declining over the last 30 years, there are notable racial disparities. Similarly, heart disease mortality also exhibits racial disparities. Adding to these issues is the large disparity in life expectancy relative to the geographic region of Tulsa in which a person resides.

Look at the chart to your right for an overall picture of this topic, and then look at each indicator and the scores in context for more detail and additional findings.

Indicators within Mortality

  • Race & Infant Mortality

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of Black to White rates of infant mortality per 1,000 live births

    What are the Results?
    Black 15.0; White 5.2

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    2.885

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    35

    What Did We Find?
    The infant mortality rate (IMR), often used as an indicator of overall health, represents the number of deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 live births in the same year. In Tulsa County, the Black IMR is nearly three times higher than the White IMR. The Native American IMR is second lowest (6.7) followed by Hispanic / Latino (7.2), and Asian/Pacific Islander (8.5). However, even when healthcare or socioeconomic factors are accounted for and found to be equal, the Black infant mortality rate (IMR) is still found to be substantially higher than that of other races.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Center for Health Statistics, Health Care Information, Vital Statistics 2013-2015, on Oklahoma Statistics on Health Available for Everyone (OK2SHARE)

    Note: Data for this indicator are for Tulsa County.

  • Geography & Life Expectancy Past Age of Retirement

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of South Tulsa to North Tulsa life expectancy in years past the age of retirement as defined by the U.S Social Security Administration at the time of reporting (66)

    What are the Results?
    South Tulsa 12.8; North Tulsa 4.4

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    2.896

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    35

    What Did We Find?
    Many factors impact life expectancy, such as access to healthcare and environmental factors serving as social determinants of health. Individuals living in South Tulsa are expected to outlive individuals in North Tulsa by 8.4 years.

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Health Data & Evaluation, Tulsa Health Department (by request), Life Expectancy by Zip Code, 2013-2015; U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2015 5-Year Estimates; U.S. Social Security Administration, 2015

  • Race & Heart Disease Mortality

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of Black to White rates of heart disease mortality

    What are the Results?
    Black 312.1; White 214.7

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    1.454

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    63

    What Did We Find?
    Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Many factors contribute to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, like: smoking, lack of physical exercise, diet, and weight. In Tulsa County, Blacks have the highest rate of heart disease mortality (312.1), followed by Native Americans (280.8), Whites (214.7), Asians (139.4), and Hispanic / Latinos (80.5).

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Center for Health Statistics, Health Care Information, Vital Statistics 2013-2015, on Oklahoma Statistics on Health Available for Everyone (OK2SHARE)

    Note: Data for this indicator are for Tulsa County.

Well-being

The indicators in the Well-being topic are:
  • Race & Teen Birth Rate
  • Race & Low Birth Weight
  • Geography & Smoking
Teen moms are more likely to be unmarried and have lower levels of education, both of which can have a negative effect on economic Well-being. Low birth weight babies are more likely to experience developmental delays. Smoking is one of the most preventable causes of death as it can lead to respiratory disease, cancer and heart disease.

Look at the chart to your right for an overall picture of this topic, and then look at each indicator and the scores in context for more detail and additional findings.

Indicators within Well-being

  • Race & Teen Birth Rate

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of the number of births to Hispanic / Latinos to White teens (age 15-19) per 1,000 in Tulsa County

    What are the Results?
    Hispanic / Latino 57.5; White 26.7

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    2.154

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    39

    What Did We Find?
    Births to teen moms have a great effect on economic well-being. The teen birth rate per 1,000 for Hispanic / Latinos (57.5) is over twice that of Whites (26.7) closely followed by the teen birth rate for Blacks (45.0).

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Center for Health Statistics, Health Care Information, Vital Statistics 2015, on Oklahoma Statistics on Health Available for Everyone (OK2SHARE)

    Note: Data for this indicator are for Tulsa County.

  • Race & Low Birth Weight

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of Black to White rates of low birthweight (<2500 grams or <5.5 pounds)

    What are the Results?
    Black 12.2%; White 6.9%

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    1.768

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    50

    What Did We Find?
    Children born at low (1500-2499 grams or 3.3-5.5 pounds) or very low birth weight (<1500 grams or <3.3 pounds) are at increased likelihood to experience developmental delays. In Tulsa County, Blacks have the highest incidence of low birthweight births (12.2%), which is almost twice that of Whites (6.9%). Asians have the second highest occurrence of low-weight births (8.0%), followed by Hispanic / Latinos (7.7%), and Native Americans (7.0%).

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Center for Health Statistics, Health Care Information, Vital Statistics 2015, on Oklahoma Statistics on Health Available for Everyone (OK2SHARE)

    Note: Data for this indicator are for Tulsa County.

  • Geography & Smoking

    What is Measured?
    Ratio of the number of current smokers per 1,000 population in North Tulsa to South Tulsa

    What are the Results?
    North Tulsa 28.6; South Tulsa 16.5

    What is the Indicator-Level Ratio?
    1.739

    What is the Indicator-Level Score?
    51

    What Did We Find?
    Smoking can have severe impacts on a person’s health, including heart disease and cancer. Even though smoking is on the decline, there is still a geographic disparity regarding where smokers live. North Tulsa residents smoke at a higher rate (28.6) than do South Tulsa residents (16.5). West Tulsa has the second highest rate of smoking per 1,000 residents (24.9), followed by East Tulsa (23.9), and Midtown (19.4).

    What Data Source(s) were Used?
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 500 Cities: Local Data for Better Health, Model-based estimates for current smoking among adults aged >=18 years, 2015; Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS); U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2015 5-Year Estimates