Using the zip code [19133 in PolicyMap], it was so helpful to see what’s in the neighborhood and what they’re most likely to have in that community. Ms. Jamie Smith, MSN, RN, CCRN
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For nursing faculty members Mary Hanson-Zalot, Jane Tobias, Jamie Smith, and Mary Bouchaud, being a healthcare provider requires more than knowing how to treat different medical problems—they wanted to teach their undergraduate students how to combine medical knowledge with knowledge of a patient’s social determinants of health.


The instructors created a project where students read the book Third and Indiana by Steve Lopez and then treat one of the characters in the book by understanding the socio-economic conditions and healthcare resources in the character’s zip code. By analyzing the healthcare providers and agencies viewable in any zip code on PolicyMap, nursing students are learning how to treat patients according to resources available in their communities. Not only does using maps and data in the classroom help students to envision a more comprehensive form of care, but it also exposes students to the diverse sets of conditions and challenges associated with place.