Narrator: This is Science Today. The Petris Social Capital Index is an innovative and validated measure that accesses public data, including how community voluntary organizations affect the social capital.
Scheffler: What we mean by that is, what makes a community special and different?
Narrator: Richard Scheffler, director of the University of California, Berkeley's Petris Center of Healthcare Markets and Consumer Welfare, says their Petris Social Capital Index measures different features within a community.
Scheffler: So, we'd be looking at participation in YMCAs, whether they have running trails, what kind of membership in churches, what their political organizations are. And we have found that the development of those and the use of those by citizens in California has a generally positive impact on their health. So, we have established this and cardiovascular disease; we have established it in mental health services; smoking. We've tested it empirically. We've also had the index copied and used in other countries, so we're quite excited about it.Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.