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UHC Holds Pre-symposium Event on Using Local Data to Improve Urban Health

October 02 2017

Photo of group meeting

Knowledge, data and research evidence can only improve our world if placed into the right hands in an useable format. On September 6, the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative hosted a meeting of partners from Philadelphia, Camden, N.J., Baltimore, Md., the District of Columba, and Pittsburgh, Pa. to discuss how to gather, manage, and share data in a way that it can be used by community leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders. This meeting, held as kickoff event to the 2017 Urban Health Symposium, was an opportunity to assemble those working in the field to share ideas and suggestions, and discuss what has worked and challenges they have faced.

Discussion topics included: Innovative ideas around data sharing; displaying data in accessible ways; data ownership and access issues; translation and dissemination of data to different audiences; and collaborations.

Much of the conversation focused on adaptability, as users will have varying needs for data that require different amounts and formats of delivery. To be effective partners, researchers and others with access to data and the skills to manage it need to be able to share data in various ways – for example, creating interactive online dashboards, creating easy to understand charts and graphs, or providing raw data that has already been cleaned. Another theme that emerged in the meeting was handling data ownership and storage issues, and the complications that comes with trying to use data from different sources in conjunction. Strict procedures and processes exist to protect sensitive data; however, as data can be most useful when looked at with related information, challenges arise regarding who can access which data for what purposes and for how long. Participants shared helpful ideas about handling these issues. As one attendee concluded, this work needs strong leadership and infrastructure.

Local groups in attendance were the Urban Health Collaborative, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, the Center for Family Services (Camden), Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Metis Associates; and Azavea.

The Urban Health Collaborative is the Philadelphia partner for the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, and the following regional NNIP partners joined us for this discussion as well: the Urban Institute (DC), Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance at The Jacob France Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh.

To learn more about partnerships around sharing data and resources with the Urban Health Collaborative, please contact Amy Confair.