Health Forecasting at UCLA

Project History

Project Origin

The Health Forecasting Project started developing and testing a prototype with initial focus on Los Angeles County and the state of California. The goal was to provide trusted and quantifiable answers to decision makers looking to improve the health of increasingly diverse populations in states, counties, cities and communities. Health Forecasting provides concise information that is specific to populations of interest. Assessing future health outcomes such as mortality, disease incidence, and morbidity is extremely valuable to examine how future trends in health outcomes will differ for population subgroups.

Model Development

The Health Forecasting model was adapted from population health models developed by Statistics Canada as a comprehensive framework that promotes understanding and thinking about human health at the population level. This framework provides a practical implementation foundation that integrates many concepts and ideas using a continuous-time microsimulation framework. Microsimulation provides sufficient flexibility to include a large number of factors and outcomes, allowing comprehensive evaluation of current and future population health. This powerful analytic approach considers trends in numerous health determinants such as demographics, health behaviors, health status, intermediate and distal health outcomes. It shows how these trends will affect the health of populations over many years, both with and without evidence-based interventions. The model also provides companion forecasts of health expenditure outcomes associated with preventable or reducible levels of burden from different diseases and functional impairments.

Current Focus

Today, the Health Forecasting model incorporates a limited number of risk factors such as physical activity and obesity, which in turn determine health outcomes such as coronary heart disease, mortality, and medical expenditures. Interventions that affect physical activity and nutrition are built into the model. We are currently expanding the model to include the additional risk factors of smoking and alcoholic intake, as well as additional health outcomes related to asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Further Information

Download the Health Forecasting Info Sheet for a further overview.

Read Health Forecasting's recent publications.



  Evidence-based model to support advocacy of public health, research, and programs