Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 85, Issue 2, pp 217–227 | Cite as

Assessing Disparities in Adult Vaccination Using Multimodal Approaches in Primary Care Offices: Methodology

  • Richard K. Zimmerman
  • Mary Patricia Nowalk
  • Martha Ann Terry
  • Mahlon Raymund
  • Melissa Tabbarah
  • Dwight E. Fox
  • Stephen A. Wilson


Racial disparities in invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination (PPV) persist despite significant progress. One reason may be that minority patients receive primary care at practices with fewer resources, less efficient office systems, and different priorities. The purposes of this paper are: (1) to describe the recruitment of a diverse array of primary care practices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania serving white and minority patient populations, and the multimodal data collection process that included surveys of key office personnel, observations of practice operations and medical record reviews for determining PPV vaccination rates; and (2) to report the results of the sampling strategy. During 2005, 18 practices participated in the study, six with a predominantly minority patient population, nine with a predominantly white patient population, and three with a racial distribution similar to that of this locality. Eight were solo practices and 10 were multiprovider practices; they included federally qualified health centers, privately owned practices and faculty and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center community practices. Providers represented several racial and ethnic groups, as did office staffs. PPV rates determined from 2,314 patients’ medical records averaged 60.3 ± 22.6% and ranged from 11% to 97%. Recruitment of practices with attention to location, patient demographics, and provider types results in a diverse sample of practices and patients. Multimodal data collection from these practices should provide a rich data source for examining the complex interplay of factors affecting immunization disparities among older adults.


Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine Adults Immunization Primary care. 



The authors wish to acknowledge Pascale M. Wortley, PhD from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for her invaluable advice in the preparation of this manuscript.

This study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant No. 5 U01 IP000054-02 and the National Institutes of Health and the EXPORT Health Project at the Center for Minority Health, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, NIH/NCMHD Grant No. P60 MD-000-207. Its contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the CDC, ATPM, or the NIH.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard K. Zimmerman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mary Patricia Nowalk
    • 1
  • Martha Ann Terry
    • 2
  • Mahlon Raymund
    • 1
  • Melissa Tabbarah
    • 1
  • Dwight E. Fox
    • 1
  • Stephen A. Wilson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine and Clinical EpidemiologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral and Community Health SciencesUniversity of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public HealthPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.UPMC St. Margaret Family Medicine ResidencyPittsburghUSA

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