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Forum shares ways data being used to promote equity, empower communities

Dec 16, 2019

About 150 health and data professionals recently attended Data! Fostering Health Innovation in Kentucky and Ohio. The forum, held every two years and presented by Interact for Health and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, showcased novel and effective uses of health data in our region.

Keynote speaker Dr. Homer Venters, former Chief Medical Officer for the New York City jail system, was among 11 presenters who shared how they are using data to transform health.

Dr. Lynne Saddler of the Northern Kentucky Health Department shared results from a project funded by a BUILD Health Challenge grant. Local health data was analyzed to create a heat map of neighborhoods in Covington where smoking was highest. Multimedia campaigns focused on these areas and vouchers were offered for free nicotine replacement therapy at pharmacies in those neighborhoods. In the end, 1,000 people redeemed the vouchers, five times the amount that was expected. Interact for Health is among the funders of BUILD.

David Carlson of Hamilton County Public Health described the agency's use of geofencing. When a cellular device enters a certain area, targeted advertising and messages are shared with the device's user through digital platforms such as Facebook and email. Hamilton County used geofencing in HIV and syringe exchange campaigns between August and November 2019.

Data storyteller and information designer Jessica Bellamy of Louisville talked about her efforts to give people access to information so they can control how their story is told. She shared a new visualization to describe equity and described her infographic wheel, a practical tool that identifies potential layouts for different kinds of information.

Finally, Dr. Venters discussed the primary care and mental health services provided to inmates and how inmate health is monitored. Ultimately, in many jail and prison systems across the country, health outcomes are not collected and inmates requiring care may not get it. This can be especially problematic when prisoners are released with undisclosed or unknown medical needs and no resources to help them get the care they need.

The forum showed that there is some great health data work happening locally, and that better health comes in many ways from many angles. While much data is available publicly, it is important to remember to use it to empower communities and tell stories in an equitable way.

"Good data should inspire you," said Dr. O'dell M. Owens, President and CEO of Interact for Health. "Good data should outrage you. Good data can make you cry. We need good data to move forward."

Thank you to all who presented and attended. Click on the links below to see the presentations from the forum.

Agenda (PDF)

2019 Complete Video Playlist

2019 DATA Forum: Welcome from Ben Chandler and Dr. O'dell Moreno Owens

Understanding Medicaid Data for Health Improvement

Innovations at Local Health Departments

Data storytelling and Infographics for Social Change - Jessica Bellamy

New Work, New Insights

Keynote address

Questions and Answers with Data! All Forum Presenters

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