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Catholic Healthcare West & Hot Spotters- Mapping for Health

With Census 2010 data coming online for spatial analysis, the health field is busy mapping trends, some more insightful than others. Recently HealthCare West – a huge western US outfit – put together a very clean interface that offfers a quick capture of the relative ‘health’ across zip codes, essentially. The methodology is complex and academic, and rightfully so, to get to the criteria. At first glance, I assumed there would be a very direct correlation with economic variables, ie average household income per tract, but no. A check of the UES and UWS of Manhattan suggests that there’s a more complex dynamic at play.

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Community Needs Index Map Interface.
Hot Spotters
Photograph by Phillip Toledano.

Certainly last month’s The Hot Spotters article in the New Yorker went straight to the heart of the matter: extremely local geography can play a disproportionate role in USA health trends, especially in dense urban neighborhoods. That a lone medical doctor with way too many databases on his hands was the one to find the current trend – and then have it recognized by no less than the current administration – is classic in the John Snow sort of way.