For Public Health and the Urban Environment

With respect to community health, there is both a lot and a little — Lots of sites but scattered in various places, sometimes not very user-friendly, making it difficult to find specifically what you are looking for. But if you have questions or a specific need, I am happy to help. Below are some of the more useful sites.  Primary neighborhood-level data on health is hard to come by, so I recommend starting with the reports prepared by the Richmond City Health District.  Following are a number of sites that allow you to create custom health reports, often aggregated by locality.  Sources for national health statistics and indexes of scholarly studies are listed last. 

PolicyMap — This site is a web-based interface, much like Social Explorer, but it draws from a wider base of government data.  Beyond the Census and the American Community Survey, you will also be able to map variables pertaining to health, income, labor, education, and so forth.

Unnatural Causes, Place Matters, Lesson Plan — This guide has really good ideas for grading the health of a community.  Consult the appendices for a list of data sites (some of which are included on this site) as well as the template for a health report card to grade your community.  Also available is a fairly comprehensive list of government and non-profit reports on issues pertaining to health equity.  Here is a link to the sources on neighborhood effects on health.

Richmond City Health District, Annual Report, Fiscal Year 2013-2014 — The RCHD’s annual reports with information on the city’s infant mortality rates, teenage pregnancy trends and adolescent healthsexually transmitted infectionsincidences of lead poisoning, and funding and operations (click on active links for additional data, supplemental to the annual report).  Also reports on health equity for the United States done by the Centers for Disease Control.

America’s Health Rankings — This site compile health data by state to create health rankings on a variety of measures.  Create custom reports by state or see a special report on seniors’ health.

Virginia Health Care Foundation — Data on health insurance status, dental coverage, the Affordable Care Act, and the health care safety net.

The Environmental Protection Agency, Enviromapper — This site plots environmental hazards by ZIP code, place name, or city.

Map of Richmond Area Farmers Markets — This site maps where the regularly held farmers’ markets in the Richmond metro area are located.

Google Maps — Use this tool to plot indicators of health, such as supermarkets, doctor’s offices, or parks.  Enter state and zip code in box at top of page and click on “search maps.  You may then search for services or businesses such as “supermarket,” “library,” “park” or a specific fast food chain by entering the term in the box at the top of the page.

Kids Count Data Center — A site put together by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count includes a variety of indicators that track demographics, education, economic well-being, family and community well-being, health, safety, and more.  This link will take you to Virginia and community-level data.  To see data for Richmond, click on the button that says “Community-Level Profiles” and search for Richmond City under “Counties” not “Cities” (counterintuitive, I know).

Health Justice Report Card — This site provides indicators by county: infant mortality rates, racial residential segregation measurement, educational attainment rates, income inequality, index of medical service score, uninsured population, percentage of voters, retail liquor outlets, distribution of environmental burdens (populations of color vs. white). Enter county information and view “grade” for each racial group. From grade, click on “To see the data, click here.”

Virginia Health Statistics – This site provides city and county health profiles and health equity reports.  To view and download tables of selected health data, click here.

Virginia Atlas of Community Health — This web interface draws from a variety of sources of health data to plot many different health indicators on a map.  You will need a login account to use this tool.

National Center for Health Statistics – This site collects data and statistics on the health of people in the United States and health care surveys.

Social Science Full Text – This database contains scholarly research on the cultural, social, and political behaviors of people. This resource has studies about levels of health in the U.S. population, research on health care access and policies, and environmental health.

Health and Wellness Resource Center – This site provides news articles and scholarly research on nutrition, fitness, and public health.

Medline – This is a database providing scholarly biomedical research – very medical terminology but provides the output of medical studies.