For this issue of Public Health Directions, we asked four clients of PHMC’s Community Health Data Base (CHDB) how their organizations strategically use data from CHDB’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, which captures key information about health status, personal health behaviors and access to and utilization of area health services.

Rickie Brawer

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University, associate director, Center for Urban Health; assistant professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine; core faculty, Master of Public Health program, Jefferson School of Population Health

  • Who We Are: A hospital and university dedicated to health sciences education, research and excellence in clinical care
  • How We Use CHDB Data: “One of the major ways we use data is to inform our strategic planning about community benefit. Hospitals are mandated as part of their nonprofit status to provide community benefit, to improve the health of the community we serve. One of my roles is to create a strategic plan that is based on findings of a community health assessment and leverages Jefferson and community resources to address community needs. CHDB data help us identify those needs.

    “We also use the data for program planning and evaluation, specifically for designing interventions in communities of interest. Using the data, students conduct qualitative and quantitative studies for their capstone projects.

    “CHDB data also are part of our teaching, integrated into the coursework. Our university is a CHDB partner and the data are available to all of our students.”

Ellen Williams

Crozer-Keystone Health System, administrative director, Community Health Education

  • Who We Are: One of the largest providers of health care in the Delaware Valley
  • How We Use CHDB Data: “Crozer-Keystone Health System has been using CHDB data since 1994. We use the CHDB data to look at trends in health status across Delaware County and compare them with state and national trends using Healthy People guidelines. Having access to the CHDB data helps us to plan our health outreach strategies as we strive to meet our goal of improved health status for our community. We also use CHDB’s data to look at several different areas of health in the Delaware Valley, including maternal infant and child health, access to care, wellness and fitness, responsible sexual behavior, improving cardiovascular health, early detection of cancer and more. We produce a biannual community health report card based on the data.

    “CHDB is unique; it has always been a resource that no one else offers. I often use CHDB’s online tool to find health information about specific areas or health concerns. The information helps us make decisions about how to address specific public health needs by providing services or collaborating with others on initiatives. It’s been helpful for many other projects, including writing grant proposals specific to our community and working with community coalitions. I also appreciate that CHDB takes into account my feedback when creating surveys and assists with data retrieval requests.”

John Izzo

The Mazzoni Center, program evaluation manager

  • Who We Are: An agency located in Center City Philadelphia that provides quality, comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBT-focused environment
  • How We Use CHDB Data: “Most recently, we were able to use CHDB data to apply successfully to the Health Resources and Services Administration for a Health Center Planning Grant, which will allow us to apply for Federally Qualified Health Center status in the future. As part of that application, we had to conduct a big community needs-assessment and collect data about Philadelphia. CHDB made that process incredibly easy. It was crucial in our application. We looked at people who were in same-sex partnerships and we were able to see how many reported having primary care physicians.

    “We’ve also used CHDB data for program evaluation and quality management across our agency. Through that data, we can actually see what health barriers there are, who we’re serving, what we’re missing and how we’re going to have to expand our services to meet needs.”

Allen Glicksman

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, director of research and evaluation

  • Who We Are: An organization that aims to improve the quality of life for older Philadelphians or people with disabilities and to assist them in achieving their maximum level of health, independence and productivity
  • How We Use CHDB Data: “We use CHDB data pretty much every day. We primarily use CHDB data for planning purposes and then share our findings with others in the elderly care network. It helps us see where the need for care may be. We also use data for evaluation; it helps us see who in the area can be served by us. We also use CHDB data for the formal planning for the population we are serving.

    “And we use it for research. Right now, we have a National Institutes of Health grant that is based on the 2008 PHMC data set. We also use it for agenda building; it helps us build alliances in the aging network. We have helped small organizations with CHDB data they can use in grant applications. CHDB data help with both developing new ideas and supporting projects based on those new ideas.”