179786 Using GIS and WIC data to Facilitate Data Driven Planning and Policy Development

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mercedes Perez, MPH , Healthy City Project, Los Angeles, CA
Shannon E. Whaley, PhD , Special Projects Division, PHFE-WIC, Irwindale, CA
Judy Gomez, MPH, RD , PHFE-WIC Program, Irwindale, CA
Denise Gee, MPH, RD , PHFE-WIC Program, Irwindale, CA
Tahirah Farris, MPL , Healthy City Project, Los Angeles, CA
Geographic Information System (GIS) technology is a valuable tool health professionals can use to better understand community health problems and formulate strategies to improve health resources distribution and policy planning. The Healthy City Project has created an online GIS portal that allows thousands of health advocates to map specific health and social service programs and create rich thematic maps of LA County Neighborhoods to illustrate community needs and the availability of resources.

The demographic and health GIS indicators are part of an ongoing regional effort to improve the health outcomes of low income children and families. The Healthy City (HC) web portal uses a combination of Census, education, community level health survey data, state Vital Statistics, and the location of over 20,000 community assets. In the past year HC has also added Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) client data in order to help policymakers and city/county planners better plan for the local needs of low income families and improve the health and nutrition of children and mothers. Through the local portal users can easily create maps and charts of WIC participants in different communities and learn more about their needs, current health and nutritional status, and areas of high WIC family concentrations. It is imperative to stay abreast of the whereabouts of WIC participants and identify the geographical areas most in need of services.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the Healthy City Project online Geographic Information System (GIS) and the use of GIS to better understand geographic relationships that affect health outcomes, access to health care, and other public health concerns. 2. Describe the launch of WIC data on the Healthy City GIS platform. 3. Discuss challenges and opportunities for using GIS in policy planning.

Keywords: Access and Services, Data/Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received a Masters of Planning from the University of Southern California focusing on Social and Community Development. Many of my research projects were related to community health planning. I was a research assistant on a project with Community Health Councils, Inc., in which I surveyed grocery stores, markets and restaurants in South Los Angeles to assess the availability and accessibility of healthy food outlets and nutritious products in South Los Angeles. With Healthy City, I have been involved in community mapping of physical activity and nutrition outlets for availability and accessibility in Los Angeles' Crenshaw community. Finally, as a board member for the Southern California Planning Congress, I assist in coordinating quarterly discussions of current planning issues with planning professionals and students.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.