Researchers have several choices for accessing the MDAC data. These options vary depending on the scope of the research and whether the researcher requires direct access to the data. The MDAC Analysis File is our core file which contains ACS responses for the year 2008 and mortality follow up information through 2015 for each respondent. The MDAC Database consists of the MDAC Analysis File and supplemental files. Supplemental files include Medicare and Medicaid data and characteristics of the area near the respondent's location at the time of the survey (e.g. distance to nearby hospitals, parks, etc.)
Research access to the entire MDAC database is arranged through the Principal Investigators of the MDAC sponsoring agencies. Researchers complete and submit a research proposal to the Principal Investigator of an MDAC sponsoring agency. Research topics of interest should fall within the general health interests of the sponsoring agency. Research proposals are then submitted by the sponsoring agency to the Census Bureau where they are logged in and then submitted to the MDAC Steering Committee for review and final approval. The maximum review period is two weeks. The Steering Committee determines the priority of all MDAC research. Committee approved projects are assigned to an MDAC statistician within the U.S. Census Bureau’s Mortality Research Group (MRG). The assigned MRG statistician works directly with the researcher as a statistical consultant and as the interface to the MDAC database to accomplish researcher goals.
As analysis proceeds, all intermediary results are immediately made available to the researcher for viewing through the Research Output Direct Access System (RODAS). This system allows researchers to make on the spot decisions about next steps in the analysis process and have the next analysis step implemented; all of this occurring on a flow basis. Results are viewed by the researcher using their own computer, through a secure network from a designated, confidential, location such as the researcher’s home or office. Once final research results have been obtained and placed in a table suitable for publication, the table will be submitted to the Census Bureau’s Data Review Board (DRB) for review and approval for release.
The use of RODAS allows the researcher to view intermediary, confidential, statistical outputs from analyses without having them reviewed for confidentiality issues by the DRB. To be eligible to use the RODAS, the researcher must have an approved research proposal and have completed the steps to be given the Census Bureau’s Special Sworn Status (SSS).
A researcher may work with the most current MDAC files on-site at the U.S. Census Bureau by applying for Special Sworn Status (SSS). The researcher must first gain research sponsorship of a project through an MDAC sponsoring agency (see below for more information on sponsoring agencies), and then they must apply for SSS through Norm Johnson, U.S. Census Bureau MDAC Principal Investigator. Upon approval of these steps, the researcher would then conduct their research on-site, using a dedicated computer with support assistance available from the MDAC staff, as requested.
Researchers access the most current MDAC analysis file through the Federal Statistical Research Data Centers (FSRDC). To accomplish their goals, researchers work directly with an FSRDC administrator and follow their application process. The following link provides a list of the current Federal Statistical Research Data Centers.
An MDAC public-use file is under construction and expected to be available in early 2023. Due to the confidential nature of the MDAC Title 13 data, the MDAC Public-use file will be limited in content.