U of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health creates searchable health database for Cook County

The University of Illinois at Chicago and data analytics company Metopio have partnered to create a hyperlocal public health data portal for Cook County.

The city of Chicago has had a similar database for more than a decade, but the new tool extends to the county's other 26 cities and 176 ZIP codes, with visualizations of more than 100 indicators of health. The database is overseen by the Population Health Analytics, Metrics and Evaluation Center at the UIC School of Public Health.

"As we strive to improve public health throughout Illinois and the country, we must start with a recognition that these factors not only differ from one region to another, but sometimes block by block, and that we need to invest in tools to understand these hyperlocal differences," Wayne Giles, MD, dean of UIC School of Public Health, said in a Sept. 26 university news release. "This includes bridging the gap we have in available data from urban areas — where there tends to be more health systems, policymakers and academics, for example — and suburban and rural areas."

The project also included the Cook County Department of Public Health and was funded by the Chicago Community Trust.

"Data shouldn't be stuck in siloes or hard to access," stated Will Snyder, CEO and co-founder of Metopio. "Communities deserve easy access to data. They also deserve to be able to leverage data to understand populations and places regardless of their data science background."

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