The Houston Health Department recently re-launched Houston State of Health, an interactive portal created to help people, cities and planners learn and explore the health status of their communities.
The state-of-the-art portal offers local health data, demographics, resources, best practices, news articles and information about community events for Houston, Harris County and many other area cities and communities.
“This easy-to-use portal presents population health data for Houston and Harris County,” said Stephen L. Williams, director of the Houston Health Department. “As new data sources are released, our State of Health will update in real time. Our department’s staff finds the portal quite useful when planning new health programs or health interventions.”
The portal allows users to research public health indicators affecting the residents’ quality of life, set goals and evaluate progress.
Schools, community groups, health professionals, chambers of commerce, tourism professionals, students, researchers, and many other organizations can use this information to highlight the benefits and challenges of living in the Houston area. Groups can use data for funding applications as well.
As the population continues to grow, master planners and governments can also use the portal to establish community improvement goals on a variety of platforms.
“We received feedback from the community, advisory groups and a lot of our partners to refine the portal so that it was easier to use,” said Dr. Deborah Banerjee, bureau chief of the department’s Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research for Effectiveness. “We are proud of it because we added more than 300 indicators from 20 different data sources and made it easier to navigate.”
Stakeholders taking part in the portal include UT Health, U.T. MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, HCA Healthcare, University of Houston, Texas Southern University, March of Dimes, African American Health Coalition, and the Culture of Health – Advancing Together.
Users can also contribute information and ideas to highlight programs and successes of local, state, and national health departments.
“This portal lets users create dashboards and reports for specific geographic areas such as zip codes and neighborhoods,” said Dr. Vishnu Nepal, health analyst with the department. “It also facilitates long-term monitoring of population health in the greater Houston area and tracks community health indicators.”
To find more local health data in the Houston area users can log on the Houston State of Health.