One thing the team at HealthLandscape believes in pretty consistently is the power of data visualization. We do it daily by building mapping and graphing tools, we teach it, we research it. We live it, we breathe it. That’s why it’s always great to go out to conferences and interact with our fellow data-philes (as you may have read earlier this week in our ACS Users Conference blog).

I try to live by the maxim don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good, particularly when it comes to health data. Health data are robust and fragile. They are comprehensive and limited. They are universal and unique. Since my role at HealthLandscape is primarily to teach people how to use our mapping tools, I try to gauge from an audience how much they care about the nuances and limitations of the datasets we use. Usually I get blank stares; after all, it’s not as fun listening to a list of datasets as it is to see a dynamic mapping tool in action and witness the power of those datasets.

This week, I represented the UDS Mapper at two conferences – the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association Spring Summit in Anchorage, Alaska, and the 2019 National Health Care for the Homeless Conference & Policy Symposium in Washington, DC. I had the opportunity to present in Anchorage and interact with attendees as an exhibitor in Washington. Aside from trying to sort out “when” I am after spanning so many time zones, I was surprised by how many people had deep questions about the data. Many people confessed to being closet data-philes and told me they want more. Their thirst for knowledge pushed me to really think about how these data could be used to answer their unique questions. They seemed to understand the data are not perfect and never will be, but are still useful and can help them continue to do the good work they are already engaged in.

Let the HealthLandscape team know about your data questions. Give us suggestions for new datasets we can add to our tools. Confess to us you are a data-phile. This is an inclusive, data-loving community and all are welcome!

P.S. I met one huge fan of the UDS Mapper this week, and I want to assure you all that if the future of public health data is up to her, we are in good hands.

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