ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in coordination with the CDC Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is out with a new tool – called PLACES – that provides hyper-localized health data.
This data was previously not available to the entire country, but is now searchable down to the zip code. The website features maps highlighting areas of interest on many facets, including health conditions.
Karen Hacker, MD, MPH, Director, CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and George Hobor, PhD, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says, “First of all I think it’s interesting to explore and to see the variation in any given jurisdictions, you can look at for your own community, what is the rates of hypertension here, what the rates of diabetes, you know, what’s going on with physical activity and smoking but you can also scrolling the next community right near by and then you can look at other areas of your state- you can look at the state next door.”
PLACES, which stands for Population Level Analysis and Community Estimates, can help local and state health departments and community organizations decide where best to target resources to address health challenges.
Hackers says, “I think it helps you to really begin to understand the depth and breath of what is going on in the community. We know that place makes a big difference in people’s health.”
Many Americans face health-related challenges that put them at increased risk for severe illness from diseases such as COVID-19, and the data found at PLACES can help in community planning.
“I think because of COVID-19, which has really shown such a stark light on chronic disease because it is such a risk factor for severe COVID illness, you know I think this could also be used for where you are going to do you vaccines and maybe where you are doing you testing,” says Hacker.
The information can also be used as a tool for someone interested in moving to a certain part of the country.
Hacker adds, “I think the individual could be advocating for change, they could be using this information as far a decision making, and then I think it is just out of curiosity, it’s just fascinating to be able to understand this.”
Click here to access the PLACES website.