Searching for Public Health Information - A Tip Sheet
     
The purpose of this page is to provide a jumping-off point for information about public health topics.
     
 
Getting Started
 
Selecting a Topic - If you need to select your own topic and don't know where to begin, consider the material covered in your classes that interests you, talk to faculty members for ideas, it may also be useful to browse news sources.

Keep your subject manageable, i.e. begin as specifically as possible. For instance, managed health care is an extremely broad topic. Managed health care and prescription drugs for the elderly is a more refined topic with a greater likelihood of yielding a manageable amount of information.Work from a specific topic, then broaden your search to include surrounding issues as needed. 

   
Accessing articles from home?
 
Visit this Library web page with information about connecting to the Library's databases from off campus.
Also, see this page on finding full-text on the Library's web site.
   
Looking for journal articles on a particular topic?  Search the following databases.
 
If you are off campus, you must first login on the Library homepage before accessing the databases below. This is only a partial list of the Library's databases, for a complete list go to the Databases page.
  PubMed - Premier bibliographic database in medicine, indexes articles from over 5000 medical and health sciences journals.
  CINAHL - Major resource for locating nursing, allied health and health administration journal articles.
  Nursing and Allied Health Collection: Comprehensive - Contains full-text journals covering the areas of nursing, biomedicine, health sciences, consumer health and allied health disciplines.
  Health Business FullTEXT Elite - Contains full-text articles concerned with the business and administration aspects of medicine.
  Lexis-Nexis - Good resource to use when looking for legislation documents, case law, and news articles.
  ScienceDirect/Elsevier Journals - Offers full-text access to journals published by Elsevier, Harcourt, and Academic Press.
  Synergy/Blackwell Journals - Offers full-text access to journals published by Blackwell Publishing.
   
Trying to find a specific book or journal title?
 
Try searching the Online Catalog which is a comprehensive index of all the Library's holdings. Here is a tip sheet on how to use the Online Catalog.
   
Is the journal article or book you need not owned by the Library?
 
The Health Sciences Library can order it for you. See this page for information on how to order journal article and books.
   
Epidemiology software product information, data sets, agencies, organizations and associations, all relating to public health? See:
 
The Medical Sciences Library Epi Connection web page. 
To go directly to some of the major statistics sources, try the links below:
  FedStats - The central hub for all U.S. Government collected statistics, this site allows the user to search over 100 U.S. agencies simultaneously. Especially helpful when you aren't sure who is tracking the data you need.
  National Center for Health Statistics - Major source of health data--data from the NHANES, NHIS, and other CDC health surveys are found here.
  Statistical Abstracts of the United States - The online counterpart of one of the major reference books. It contains statistics on the economic and social conditions of the United States.
  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - The U.S. agency responsible for understanding and documenting health issues in this country.
  National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems - Yet another source for locating public and private agencies concerned with public health issues.
  U.S. Census Bureau - The place to go for statistical information regarding  the U.S. population--demographic and socioeconomic information.
  New York State Department of Health Statistics - A list of links for NYS statistics and data from AIDs to West Nile Virus.
   
Need to locate a particular branch of the state or federal government?
 
Try FirstGov. It's also a good place to locate laws, regulations, federal forms, the text of historical documents such as the Bill of Rights and  the U.S. Constitution, as well as some government publications.
   
Want information about  public health on the state level?  
 
New York State Health Department
The American Public Health Association has a web page with information about Member Groups & State Affiliates
   
Looking for policies, surveys & reports?
 
Organizations Producing Gray Literature in Health Policy and Public Health -- This is a web site maintained by the New York Academy of Medicine containing links to a multitude of non-profit organizations and reports that may not be found in traditional indexes or databases.
Here are some links to specific research organizations:
  The Alan Guttmacher Institute - Is a non-profit organization concerned with issues of human sexuality, reproduction. Many of their reports can be purchased or downloaded for free.
  Commonwealth Fund - A private organization that supports research concerning on health and social issues. Many of the reports published by them are available for free over the Internet.
  Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation - Is a private foundation focusing on public health issues at the national level.
  Pew Charitable Trusts - Supports non-profit activities in the areas of public health, policy and other societal concerns. 
  National Academy Press - Created by the National Academies, it publishes numerous online, full-text books written by some of the leading experts in the field of public health.
  National Academy for State Health Policy - A non-profit, non-partisan organization involved in helping states examine and develop public health policies. While some reports must be purchased, many can be freely downloaded.
  Office of the Surgeon General - Issues full-text reports in electronic format, on a broad range of health issues.
  Public Health Foundation - Conducts research regarding health improvement and planning of the public health infrastructure.
   
Need international information? Try some of these web sites!
 
Pan American Health Organization - As part of the World Health Organization, the PAHO provides reports on national health status,  health trends, analysis, and more.
World Health Organization -The place to go for global health statistics, reports and outlooks.
Eurostat - The statistical office of the European Communities. Provides a broad range of european demographic information. Some reports may require payment.
UNICEF - A great source for international public health information, with a focus on children.
   
Some final tips:
 
Always identify and document the primary source of information. For example, if you read about a report or study in an article, try and get a copy of that report.  This way you can see the information first hand and formulate your own conclusions. 

If you still can't find what you're looking for call the Reference Desk at (914) 594-4210 or send your question to a Reference Librarian by using the "Ask a Librarian" reference feature (a link is for this is available at the top of every Library page).

Some other useful links:
  Beginning Your Research at the Library (a tip sheet)
  A subject list of other Library tip sheets
   
 
Updated 6/19/09 H. Lougee-Heimer
 
 

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