Z-Score Burden Metric: A Method for Assessing Burden of Injury and Disease


Description: This presentation will demonstrate a new method of burden assessment for use in identifying communities within a population that are in need of prevention and intervention resources. The Z-Score Burden Metric, demonstrated with firearm fatality data, uses z-score standardization of incidence data to describe community burden of injury in a way that facilitates comparisons between communities with different age distributions and enables identification of subgroup trends. This method addresses some shortcomings of traditional measures, like unadjusted and age-adjusted rates, and can be used for any injury or disease outcome to prioritize the allocation of resources to communities suffering high burdens of injury and disease.


  1. Discuss the justification for an approach to quantifying burden specifically designed to facilitate policy and implementation goals
  2. Demonstrate the Z-Score Burden Metric using firearm fatality data
  3. Describe how the method can be adapted to suit the needs of different programs’ priorities

Presenter: Dr. Catherine (Katie) Wolff, PhD, is an injury epidemiologist who recently completed her doctoral work in firearm-related injury and a postdoctoral fellowship in occupational injury at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Catherine is also a medical student at Duke University and plans to specialize in emergency medicine.