An Opportunity to Promote Progress in HHS – by Listening

Friday, October 3, 2014
It’s always a pleasure for me to spread the word about important initiatives in our world – and even more so when I have the privilege to be involved in one. That’s the case with an ambitious new effort announced yesterday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, titled “Data for Health.” Its goal is to “explore how information and data on health can be harnessed to help people lead healthier lives,” largely through a “listening tour” of five U.S. cities in early 2015. I’m honored (and, honest, humbled given the company I’m in) to be on the advisory committee for this initiative; to read the Foundation’s press release for more details, click here.

New York State Confidentiality Toolkit Developed to Assist with Cross System Information Sharing

Monday, September 1, 2014

New York State continues in its efforts toward interoperability and toward using technology to improve services to its citizens, especially those most vulnerable and in need of public intervention to reach independence. 

Toward Seamless Information & Referral: A Polycentric Experiment

Monday, July 21, 2014
By Derek Coursen, Adjunct Faculty, NYU Wagner School of Public Service

Multiple levels of government and a myriad of nonprofit organizations offer an ever-changing array of specialized services to people who need them. But who directs traffic through all that complexity?

Our 9th Annual Symposium: Reflections on the Possible

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

At the end of our three-day symposium at Johns Hopkins University earlier this month, I asked the attendees to describe their experience in just one word. Here’s a representative sampling of what we heard: “Exciting.” “Energizing.” “Thought-provoking” (is that one word?). “Insightful.” And my personal favorite: “Inspiring.”

Health Datapalooza: A Call to Improve Care Through Open Health Data

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

By Dwayne Spradlin, CEO, Health Data Consortium --

  Great strides have been made in the public availability and use of health data, but we still have a long way to go in our efforts to improve health care in the United States. At the center of the efforts of the Health Data Consortium is the need to advance patient care.  It is essential that we continue innovating new ways to leverage and promote the use of health data to empower patients in their health care decision making and, in turn, improve care. 

Sustaining and Measuring Community Health in California – and Linking to the Human Services

Monday, February 17, 2014
Communities play a major role in determining and sustaining the health, fitness, and, ultimately, the longevity and quality of life of their residents.  Many studies indicate that community conditions and amenities impact the personal choices of residents in the areas of diet and exercise, disease treatment and management, and in engagement in behaviors that can be harmful to health. 

Often referred to as the physical or environmental determinants of health, such community attributes are the focus of exciting initiatives in states and localities across the country. Moreover, the burgeoning fields of open health data and health data analytics offer great promise in enabling state and local policymakers to track key community-wide health metrics and monitor the changing measures of health among wider population groups. These initiatives and indicators -- and the enabling technologies -- will be the focus of several events in which Stewards of Change Institute will be involved in 2014. 

The convergence of justice, human services, and health care

Sunday, February 16, 2014
In 2006, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that “At midyear 2005 more than half of all prison and jail inmates had a mental health problem, including 705,600 inmates in State prisons, 78,800 in Federal prisons, and 479,900 in local jails.These estimates represented 56% of State prisoners, 45% of Federal prisoners, and 64% of jail inmates.” The incidence of serious mental illnesses is two to four times higher among prisoners than it is in the general population. In a study of more than 20,000 adults entering five local jails, researchers documented serious mental illnesses in 14.5 percent of the men and 31 percent of the women, which taken together, comprises 16.9 percent of those studied — rates in excess of three to six times those found in the general population.10