You have to dive in at the neighborhood level and look at the variation to find the area where you should target your limited resources. For this, PolicyMap is a great visual. Dr. Julie Carmalt
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Dr. Julie Carmalt is the Associate Director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management at Cornell University. In her class on population health, PAM 5280: Population Health for Health Managers, Dr. Carmalt wants students to acquire a better understanding of why some groups in an area are healthy and others are not. While developing an assignment on structural racism and health equity, she sought a source that not only had metro- and county-level data, but neighborhood-level data as well. After all, population health is defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of outcomes within the group.


Dr. Carmalt wanted her students to be able to dig deeper into the root cause of health inequities at the neighborhood level, so she worked with the library at Cornell to acquire PolicyMap. Through the platform, her class can easily find the data and insights they need to complete her health equity assignment. By layering maps with social determinants of health (SDOH), access level variables, built environment factors, and historical redlining (HOLC) maps, her students can visualize inequities and report on factors impacting a neighborhood’s health including poverty, education, insurance coverage, access to public transportation, and more. Dr. Carmalt also shared stories of students who used PolicyMap outside of the classroom to support research during case interviews. She says the tool has “real world practicality,” and has helped students get hired and jumpstart their careers.