Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Committee Chair

Rhonda Trautman

Executive Summary

Collecting, analyzing, and reporting accurate, reliable data is necessary for achieving health equity. Although data alone will not lead to equitable health outcomes for all people, it helps health professionals, researchers, and policymakers understand health disparities and develop effective interventions, programs, and policies to reduce them. Necessary data includes disaggregated health information on diverse demographics, including people with disabilities. However, despite this need, disability data gaps exist. Fortunately, numerous solutions exist to address this issue, including implementing minimum data standards on disability and engaging all levels of health organizations in data practices. This capstone project investigated the current data practices of a state health agency and its ability to implement data solutions through a case study of the Division of Prevention and Quality Improvement (DPQI) at the Kentucky Department of Public Health (KDPH). The case study focused primarily on how DPQI understands disability and identifies people with disabilities in its programs and services. For this capstone, I collected and analyzed data from a review of publicly available DPQI materials, interviews of key informants, and observation of KDPH’s State Health Improvement Plan planning meeting to answer the following research questions: 1) How do health professionals within the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Division of Prevention and Quality Improvement (DPQI) identify people with disabilities? 2) What are the barriers and facilitators to DPQI implementing the disability data standards established by the Affordable Care Act? Using the data, I uncovered three key themes related to DPQI: 1) Disability Understanding, 2) Collaboration, and 3) Opportunities to Implement Data Solutions. This capstone paper concludes with recommendations focused on improving and strengthening DPQI’s data practices and capacity to identify people with disabilities in their programs and services.



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