Web Portal Provides Unique Look at District of Columbia Health Conditions
WASHINGTON (July 31, 2013) – Looking for health information specific to the District of Columbia? Now, a new web portal, D.C. Health Matters, allows researchers, community-based organizations, and consumers to go online and look at crucial health statistics and trends that can help identify emerging or well-established health problems. The portal is a product of the Healthy Communities Institute and sponsored by the District of Columbia Healthy Communities Collaborative, a unique partnership among four D.C.-area hospitals (Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), Howard University Hospital, Providence Hospital, and Sibley Memorial Hospital) and three community health centers (Community of Hope, Unity Healthcare, and Bread for the City). Initial funding for the D.C. Health Matters portal was provided by a National Institutes of Health grant led by CNMC in which the George Washington University was a key partner, along with Howard University and Georgetown University. The grant was a supplemental project arising from a $20 million grant partnership by CNMC and GW called the Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
The web portal also is home to a citywide community health needs assessment which was conducted by the RAND Corporation. This information tells users about gaps in care and health care services, such as primary care, that could put D.C. residents at risk of worsening health conditions. “The community health needs assessment will allow us to focus on D.C. neighborhoods with the most pressing needs,” says Chaya Merrill, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., director of the Child Health Data Lab at CNMC and a professorial lecturer in the Department of Health Policy in the Milken Institute School of Public Health (formerly the GW School of Public Health and Health Services). “In addition, the web portal and information it provides can help spark partnerships between community-based organizations and researchers trying to find answers to some of the city’s most serious health problems.”
The D.C. Health Matters portal provides information on a variety of factors that impact the health of residents including traditional health measures and indicators of the economy, the environment, public safety, social environment and even transportation options. Perry Payne, M.D., J.D., M.P.P., an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Research and Leadership at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and in the Department of Health Policy at the MISPH also played a role in the development of this important new tool. He states that the website is “an important step forward for the residents of D.C. and will be a useful tool for developing community driven collaborations to address health disparities challenges in the District.”