County Showcases Innovative Local Health Data Pilot to Obama Administration

June 11, 2010
County of Sonoma

Santa Rosa, Calif.—On June 2, 2010, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Valerie Brown, along with Bruce Bronzan from Trilogy Integrated Resources and Dr. Deryk Van Brunt, PhD, from the Healthy Communities Institute spoke at the Community Health Data Initiative Forum at the Institute of Medicine, Washington, D.C.  Chairwoman Brown presented the innovative Sonoma Community Network of Care for Healthy Communities Pilot program. The Sonoma pilot was one of 15 projects demonstrated that exemplify the goals of the National Community Health Data Initiative recently announced by Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The Sonoma Community Network of Care for Healthy Communities Pilot program is a public/private partnership of the Public Health Division of the Sonoma County Department of Health, Trilogy Integrated Resources, the Healthy Communities Institute, and the National Association of Counties.

Chairwoman Brown commented, “Having Sonoma County right up on the national stage presenting with Google and Bing is quite breathtaking and shows the national impact we can have by working locally. Benchmarking community health data to chart progress toward local goals is essential. If evidence-based information is accessible in easy-to-understand information for individuals, communities, and policy decision makers, then you have an extremely powerful tool to improve health.”

At the Forum, Brown demonstrated the pilot using Sonoma County childhood obesity data, to show how the tool could monitor progress on childhood obesity goals, compare Sonoma County’s rates of childhood obesity to other counties, and layer multiple levels of complexity into one report, tracking related health indicators like exercise or fruit and vegetable consumption. The Pilot also provides best practices from programs across the country that address the health or societal factors, and provides contact information so interested parties can track down promising programs that address the same concerns and talk with their managers about their results and practices.

The presentation received national acknowledgement.  Aneesh Chopra, the United States Chief Technology Officer, in a Huffington Post article dated June 5, 2010, said that the Sonoma County pilot demonstrated “entrepreneurial creativity…Imagine every county official empowered with such tools to make a difference in the lives of everyday Americans.”

Brown says that when the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors began to look at County Health Rankings data, “We decided we needed more. We wanted to create a platform for change and, most of all, we wanted to create a health-conscious community.”

The tool includes:

1.  Over 121 health and quality of life indicators for the individuals and communities;

2.  Easy to understand presentation utilizing a dashboard with identification of target areas for improvement;

3.  Evidence based and promising practices as tools to improve individual and community health; 

4.  Direct emergency news feeds from the Centers for Disease Control;

5.  Local, State and Nationwide Health Information links and Health Library (20K links, 4K topics, 35K articles) quickly access a wide variety of important information related to health services;

6.  Tools for community engagement, surveys, special reports, password-protected health records, events calendaring, and social networking;

 7.  Network of Care for Healthy Communities provides a powerful tool to monitor, track and report progress on local health improvement and community efforts to improve health and well being.

The website is now live and can be viewed at: http://sonoma.networkofcare.org/ph/home/index.cfm.