How hyper-local data make big impacts on public health: New data resources available for workers

Blog post by Lindsey Wahowiak
February 1, 2017

Urban Institute   (NNIP Coordinator)

Public health advocates are often encouraged to think big. Oktawia Wojcik wants them to think small. Really small.

Wojcik, PhD, a program officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, oversees the 500 Cities Project, a partnership between RWJF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDC Foundation. It is the first data analysis of U.S. Census Bureau tracts within the 500 largest American cities that identifies, analyzes and reports on indicators of multiple measures of chronic disease, down to the neighborhood level.

Launched in February 2016, the 500 Cities Project is designed to offer stakeholders in cities and neighborhoods across the U.S. the information that will help them make better decisions on allocating funds to target key areas of public health, spanning behaviors, outcomes and prevention. Using the data available online, stakeholders can map their cities and see where the greatest needs are when addressing heart disease, diabetes, nutrition and physical activity — and they are able to see where those needs overlap.