Using data to drive community action

Blog by Kristin Jenkins, President, DFWHC Foundation

Let’s use data to drive community action. The DFW Hospital Council (DFWHC) Foundation has partnered with the Community Council of Greater Dallas, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation and the University of Texas at Dallas to launch the new web-based information center Dallas Community Data for Action.

The project, funded by a grant awarded to the Community Council, provides residents and city leaders with data-driven insights to alleviate poverty and improve the county’s quality of life. Supported by crucial health data, the information flows to the project from the DFWHC Foundation’s metrics and data warehouse. This information is provided by the region’s health systems as part of the DFWHC Foundation’s Regional Data Collaborative.

We are so excited about this project. It is open to everyone in the community, boundary neutral and a great tool to forge future plans. With this information, community organizations and civic leaders can evaluate numbers down to a census-tract level, allowing them to prioritize resources for improvements in services and health.

The site tracks numerous metrics including area deprivation, asthma, education, housing, rent, use of food stamps, transportation, unemployment, suicide rates and food availability. Data is sourced from 911 information, the Dallas Independent School District, DFWHC Foundation’s data warehouse, the American Community Survey, the Area Deprivation Index, Feed America and the Housing and Transportation Index.

The project has been designed to add additional data support to promote community resilience and amenities. We hope this new data center can serve as a “one-stop shop” for understanding county needs. What we like to say at the DFWHC Foundation is, “Work smart, not hard.” With Dallas Community Data for Action, we can now spend less time on multiple research sites and more time developing targeted programs to improve our communities’ well-being.