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Health Place ; 83: 103055, 2023 Jun 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20237437


Immigrants (foreign-born United States [US] citizens) generally have lower utilization of mental health services compared with US-born counterparts, but extant studies have not investigated the disparities in mental health service utilization within immigrant population nationwide over time. Leveraging mobile phone-based visitation data, we estimated the average mental health utilization in contiguous US census tracts in 2019, 2020, and 2021 by employing two novel outcomes: mental health service visits and visit-to-need ratio (i.e., visits per depression diagnosis). We then investigated the tract-level association between immigration concentration and mental health service utilization outcomes using mixed-effects linear regression models that accounted for spatial lag effects, time effects, and covariates. This study reveals spatial and temporal disparities in mental health service visits and visit-to-need ratio among different levels of immigrant concentration across the US, both before and during the pandemic. Tracts with higher concentrations of Latin American immigrants showed significantly lower mental health service utilization visits and visit-to-need ratio, particularly in the US West. Tracts with Asian and European immigrant concentrations experienced a more significant decline in mental health service utilization visits and visit-to-need ratio from 2019 to 2020 than those with Latin American concentrations. Meanwhile, in 2021, tracts with Latin American concentrations had the least recovery in mental health service utilization visits. The study highlights the potential of geospatial big data for mental health research and informs public health interventions.

BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 2346, 2022 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2162346


BACKGROUND: Concentrated disadvantaged areas have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 outbreak in the United States (US). Meanwhile, highly connected areas may contribute to higher human movement, leading to higher COVID-19 cases and deaths. This study examined the associations between concentrated disadvantage, place connectivity, and COVID-19 fatality in the US over time. METHODS: Concentrated disadvantage was assessed based on the spatial concentration of residents with low socioeconomic status. Place connectivity was defined as the normalized number of shared Twitter users between the county and all other counties in the contiguous US in a year (Y = 2019). COVID-19 fatality was measured as the cumulative COVID-19 deaths divided by the cumulative COVID-19 cases. Using county-level (N = 3,091) COVID-19 fatality over four time periods (up to October 31, 2021), we performed mixed-effect negative binomial regressions to examine the association between concentrated disadvantage, place connectivity, and COVID-19 fatality, considering potential state-level variations. The moderation effects of county-level place connectivity and concentrated disadvantage were analyzed. Spatially lagged variables of COVID-19 fatality were added to the models to control for the effect of spatial autocorrelations in COVID-19 fatality. RESULTS: Concentrated disadvantage was significantly associated with an increased COVID-19 fatality in four time periods (p < 0.01). More importantly, moderation analysis suggested that place connectivity significantly exacerbated the harmful effect of concentrated disadvantage on COVID-19 fatality in three periods (p < 0.01), and this significant moderation effect increased over time. The moderation effects were also significant when using place connectivity data from the previous year. CONCLUSIONS: Populations living in counties with both high concentrated disadvantage and high place connectivity may be at risk of a higher COVID-19 fatality. Greater COVID-19 fatality that occurs in concentrated disadvantaged counties may be partially due to higher human movement through place connectivity. In response to COVID-19 and other future infectious disease outbreaks, policymakers are encouraged to take advantage of historical disadvantage and place connectivity data in epidemic monitoring and surveillance of the disadvantaged areas that are highly connected, as well as targeting vulnerable populations and communities for additional intervention.

COVID-19 , United States/epidemiology , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spatial Analysis , Vulnerable Populations