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Health Dept. selected to implement project to improve health data sharing


The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) has been selected by DASH -- Data Across Sectors for Health -- as one of ten grantees to implement projects that improve health through multi-sector data sharing collaborations.

DASH is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy focused exclusively on health and health care.

Experts say while most communities have some access to data from public health and health care systems, they lack important information on social determinants, such as transportation, housing, education and social services. These factors play a major role in contributing to individual and community health and wellbeing.

“Sharing data across sectors narrows knowledge gaps, increases collaboration, and ultimately improves community health, said Dr. Karen Hacker, ACHD director. “In order for our community to see better health outcomes, we need more comprehensive data – including data that sheds light on the social determinants beyond clinical health care that influence our health.”

The work of the Health Department is possible through the joint efforts of the various sectors in the community. As part of this grant, they will be collaborating with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Allegheny County Economic Development, Carnegie Mellon Traffic21 Institute, Jewish Health Care Foundation, UPMC Health Plan, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and the RAND Corporation as they join individual level data with geospatial and public health data to address cardiovascular disease in Allegheny County where inequalities exist.

DASH grantees will identify and test innovative practices that foster collaboration, engage across sectors and build robust data and information systems to increase capacity of organizations to improve health in their communities. Once data is collected, the Health Department will have a better understanding of cardio vascular disease in the county which will allow for testing of the impact of interventions. Multi-year grants were awarded in January, 2016 and will run through July, 2017.

“Data sharing across sectors increases the capacity of collaborations to understand the health of their community. When communities incorporate social determinant, clinical and public health data, they have more detailed information to make better decisions about programs and policies that affect health outcomes,” said Peter Eckart of the Illinois Public Health Institute, which administers DASH.


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