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City Health Dashboard to expand across U.S.

New health tool City Health Dashboard supports mayors, city managers and health officials in several U.S. cities. Using data from official sources, the website offers insight into health status and health risks in municipalities. After a successful pilot, the tool will now expand from four cities to over 500.

Most of the U.S. health data focusses on the complete nation. For mayors, city managers and health officials, this is hardly specific enough to create policies to tackle problems in their area. City Health Dashboard does zoom in, and offers health information on city and even neighbourhood level. The pilot program started with four cities, but will expand to over 500 additional cities over the next two years.

Extensive health information

The health information on City Health Dashboard is categorized in five domains: social and economic factors, physical environment, health behaviour, health outcomes, and clinical care. Each domain is then split up into subcategories, including adult obesity, binge drinking and dental care. It also covers indirect factors influencing health, such as air quality, income inequality and opioid deaths.

The data presented by the City Health Dashboard is drawn from federal and state governments and other official organizations, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Targeted policies

The data shared is overseen by a team of epidemiologists, population health and urban policy experts, and geographic information system specialists. Governments can use the data to not only improve the health of their citizens, but also improve the fiscal health of their municipalities. It gives policy makers the necessary information to know which issues deserve attention (and thus money) in their specific areas, rather than just guessing where the money should go.

City Health Dashboard is an initiative of NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health and NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, in partnership with the National Resource Network. A $3.4 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will make it possible to add cities to the website. City Health Dashboard’s goal is to become a central health improvement planning resource for U.S. cities with populations of 70,000 or more.

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