Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

David A. Dzewaltowski, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Brandon Grimm, Ph.D., MPH

Third Committee Member

David Palm, Ph.D


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is consistently in the top ten leading causes of death and most recently ranked fourth in the United States (Heron, 2021). Research on health disparities and SDOH has increased recently as investigators learn their importance in diagnosing chronic conditions. Several studies show that a person’s life and environment can determine their risk of exposure, susceptibility, course, and disease outcome. UnityPoint Health (UPH) clinics were utilized for this project to explore how the social determinants of health and health disparities affect COPD rates in Des Moines, Iowa. Initial data was obtained surrounding COPD statistics in the Des Moines region to assess the number of people diagnosed with COPD through UPH using their data dashboard. Additionally, data was obtained surrounding the demographics of the patient population at a family medicine clinic in East Des Moines. Results from the data dashboard showed that trends within the clinic were consistent with national trends surrounding SDOH and COPD. Recommendations include expanding existing programs in Polk County to include COPD interventions and treatment to better align with the COPD National Action Plan and developing a system to track SDOH and how they affect COPD.

Included in

Public Health Commons