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

First Health and Human Services Open DataFest

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stewards of Change Institute is proud to announce the first health and human service Open DataFest, taking place in Sacramento, California January 21st and 22nd.  The purpose of this symposium is to build broad awareness, knowledge and utilization of open data in general, but more specifically within health and human services across California.

The Latest Revolution

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Throughout the developed world, and at all levels of government, the latest explosive innovation linked to government use of IT is the rush to make government data open. Particularly in larger cities in the U.S. and Europe, state and local governments are finding more and more datasets never heretofore made public and are publishing these new sources of information that may be relevant to solving important social problems.

Announcing the Stewards of Change Institute: A New Not For Profit Organization

Thursday, September 5, 2013
As the Chairman of Stewards of Change Institute, I am proud to announce that the Institute has received official recognition by the IRS as a tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity.  SOC Institute was organized exclusively to research, support, and educate the general public, government agencies, judiciary, private businesses, foundations, and not for profits about sharing and utilizing information across the continuum of health and human services.  

Linking at the Edge of the Enterprise

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
When designers and programmers have put their best thinking into creating an enterprise information system, their energies and mental focus are on the collection, storage, retrieval and manipulation of the data that the enterprise needs to do business.  Whether it is criminal justice, health, human services or education, the enterprise is the primary purpose, and the design of systems is limited to the information technology it needs.  We seldom have considered what happens at the edge of the enterprise, where the connection is made to other domains or communities of interest.

New England Consortium Convenes Information Sharing Symposium to Link Health and Human Services

Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Since 1999 Health and Human services leaders in New England have been partnering to leverage each other’s service improvements and cost containment initiatives. In 2011 those collaborative relationships resulted in the award ofa CMS funded Early Innovator grant to the region ( to test the concepts of reusability in building state-based health insurance exchanges.  In the midst, CMS made available funding for states to build and enhance their Medicaid eligibility systems, and HHS leaders quickly realized the many new opportunities and challenges to a changing health and human services world.  Concepts of integration and interoperability between and among state programs go far beyond technology. It also means rethinking structures and policies, and the use of resources including the state workforce.