“PolicyMap does not require deep knowledge or expertise in data analytics. Folks can sometimes get overwhelmed, caught up in the technicalities of another platform that is not as intuitive. PolicyMap is much easier to use. By clicking on a few indicators, members can really begin to understand what’s happening in their area.”
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ChallengeFeeding America strives to create equitable access to nutritious food through partnerships with food banks, policymakers, supporters, and the communities they serve. Their vast network of food banks serves every county in the country.
To research, understand and address the root causes of inequities in food access and health, Feeding America and their partners gathered data from various sources. But consolidating resources and simplifying access to data on food insecurity and related indicators would have been much more efficient. So, they began searching for a reliable vendor with national social determinants of health (SDOH) data at the local level - curated, cleaned, standardized, always updated. With dozens of food banks and partner agencies already using a lower cost- and limited-version PolicyMap’s mapping platform and data, Feeding America looked to PolicyMap for an enterprise solution.
SolutionFeeding America sponsored access to PolicyMap for a portion of their food bank network and worked with PolicyMap to create a custom version of the mapping platform designed to support their health equity work. The Feeding America network can now access curated navigation menus, pertinent SDOH datasets, and other branded elements specific to their work. (Learn more about our white label integrations here.)
The custom data menu overlays Feeding America’s own national data on food insecurity with PolicyMap’s extensive catalog of SDOH data (such as poverty, unemployment, homeownership, disability prevalence, health risks, etc.) and indicators on food security, food systems, and nutrition access. The curated menu options streamline analysis for professionals less familiar with GIS and data analytics, minimizing errors and maximizing insights.
With access to PolicyMap, a group of Feeding America’s partner food banks are now embarking on new community-based health equity projects. They’ve begun performing community needs assessments, mapping both community assets and service gaps. Understanding which populations are most impacted by food insecurity and health disparities allows the food banks to build life expectancy maps for their community and narrate the story of why disparities exist in particular communities. The findings will lead to actionable and effective improvements in food and nutrition security, such as developing new food distribution methods like mobile food pantries and healthcare interventions. Insights from PolicyMap also help food banks connect and collaborate with other community-based partners.
PolicyMap is excited to continue our partnership with Feeding America as they expand access to our mapping platform and data to additional members of their partner network.