National Academy of Medicine

Using Data to Address Health Disparities and Drive Investment in Healthy Neighborhoods

December 03, 2015 | Discussion Paper

In struggling high-poverty neighborhoods across the country, community development and medical professionals, who often serve the same population but who have historically operated in silos, are beginning to work together in new and exciting ways. One of the most promising opportunities for advancement in this area is through the use of shared data and metrics to target interventions and measure impact. Community development projects that improve housing conditions, public safety, employment, transportation, walkability, and access to green space and healthy food can have a profound impact on health outcomes. In most cases, however, practitioners of community development and medicine do not have the ability to measure the impact of these projects over time. As a result, the health benefits and related cost savings of these interventions remain essentially invisible.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.