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New Public Health 'Dashboard' Coming To Providence

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Providence will be one of a handful of cities to pilot a new online tool to help monitor public health. It’s a project of the federal National Resources...

Providence will be one of a handful of cities to pilot a new online tool to help monitor public health. It’s a project of the federal National Resources Network and private researchers.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says every day he looks for some piece of data about the city he runs and can’t find it – either because it’s not being collected or it’s difficult to access. So when the opportunity arose to pilot this new public health dashboard, Elorza jumped.

The dashboard will be designed and built by the federal National Resource Network with help from New York University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The planning phase should be ccompleted by this fall. Elorza cites one way he might use it. 

“For example since I took office, I’ve had a goal that I want to make Providence one of the healthiest, fittest cities in all of new England," says Elorza. "Well, where do we stand in comparison to other cities? This dashboard and this information is going to allow us to measure where we stand and also hold ourselves accountable. If there’s more that we need to do these dashboards will let us know where we need to improve.”

The data might include city recreation center visits or obesity rates.

It’s not yet clear what kind of public access might be available, or whether public input will be sought during the planning stages.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza hopes a new public health
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza hopes a new public health "dashboard" will help inform policy and improve health. It's not clear yet what public access might be available. The planning process will wrap up by this fall.