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Tag: binge drinking

Using Local Health Data in a Pandemic 

Using Local Health Data in a Pandemic 

The public has seldom been exposed to as much data as we have since the COVID-19 pandemic hit American shores.

But data has its limitations—and not all data is equal!

Where it comes from? How it is used? What’s missing? These questions matter.

To help sort out the deluge of graphs, charts and diagrams that are spreading with the pandemic, Data You Can Use sought guidance from local experts at a virtual meeting of the Health data Users Group.

The report was based on prevalence at the local level using the RWJ 500 Cities data and conditions identified by the CDC as putting people at higher risk for adverse outcomes. The goal was to increase awareness and help neighborhood groups target resources.  What began as a short report for one neighborhood grew quickly to respond to suggestions and requests from others neighborhood organizations. With quick turnaround, the team at DYCU produced reports for an additional twelve neighborhoods and posted them on the website.

These reports are serving to “democratize the data” as neighborhood groups share them in their newsletters, translate them into the language of their residents, discuss them in online meetings, post them on their websites, and distribute them through their listservs. Edith Chavez, Community Organizer at Muskego Way Forward, for example, translated her report into Spanish, distributed it in her newsletter, and convened a  conversation about it at a virtual neighborhood meeting.

Because health is hyper-local, Data You Can Use released an interactive map showing prevalence by census tract and continues to refine this tool with the Health data Users Group. The tool can be used to help residents, funders, and planners best target resources, and increase awareness of the need for precautions.

Unfortunately, these underlying health disparities existed well before the COVID crisis and, without attention, will remain long after it passes. This data can be used to target resources appropriately, to raise awareness, and to focus on longer-term, more equitable recovery.

Despite the cautions and limitations, like our partners in the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership we continue to believe that local data matters and that better data leads to better decisions, and better communities.

For more information, please contact:

Kathleen Pritchard, PhD, President
Data You Can Use, Inc.
katie@datayoucanuse.org
414-331-7616

Sarah Laurent’s field experience at DYCU

This summer, as part of a field experience collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, and Data You Can Use, I was able to complete my field experience requirement for the Master of Public Health program in biostatistics. Throughout my field experience at Data You Can Use, I was provided a plethora of opportunities to showcase and refine my data analysis, visualization, and presentation skills. When looking at different site locations for my field experience, I came across the Data You Can Use website. I was initially drawn to the liquor license map that was uploaded to the site in 2018. I like the interactive aspects of the map and thought that it would be useful for me to learn how to use mapping software. In addition, I was interested in exploring the relationship between binge drinking and liquor licenses due my public health background.

With the help of my preceptor, Kathleen Pritchard, I was able to develop a final project that incorporated my objectives for the field experience, as well as develop a useful tool for Data You Can Use. I created a descriptive map of liquor license locations and binge drinking prevalence rates throughout the City of Milwaukee. In addition, I created a report summarizing my findings from the map and presented my observations and recommendations to local stakeholders. To create my map, I utilized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 500 Cities 2016 dataset of binge drinking prevalence rates throughout the City of Milwaukee. I then added data on liquor license locations from the City of Milwaukee Open Data Portal to the map and set an automatic refresh interval so that the liquor license data would remain up-to-date. From there, I color coded the map according to binge drinking prevalence and liquor license expiration dates.

Before starting at Data You Can Use, I had very limited experience working with mapping software, and I was worried I would not be able to complete the tasks outlined at the beginning of the summer. I am extremely thankful for the support and guidance provided by the Data You Can Use team, and I am very satisfied with the final product. I hope that community partners find my map useful when examining the relationship between binge drinking prevalence rates and liquor licenses within their own communities. In addition, I hope that my map provides data and information for stakeholders looking to take action against problematic liquor license establishments. I feel that my field experience was an extremely valuable opportunity, and I hope that the liquor license map created in collaboration with Data You Can Use will provide useful information for community partners in the future.

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