About the Mapping Tool

Research shows that where we live, learn, and work influences our health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthy People 2020 notes that “health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities; the resources and supports available in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities; the quality of our schooling; the safety of our workplaces; the cleanliness of our water, food, and air; and the nature of our social interactions and relationships” (CDC, 2014). The World Health Organization, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and many other public health organizations also recommend addressing and highlighting these social determinants of health.

Of course, addressing social determinants of health is something that the school-based health care field has been doing for decades. Now, with the introduction of the Children’s Health and Education Mapping Tool, the field has a resource that can help us show our impact and strategically plan for future expansions.

What is the Children’s Health and Education Mapping Tool?

Our mapping tool was developed in partnership with HealthLandscape to harness the power of geographic information systems (GIS) technology for data-driven decision-making. It allows users to assess community child and adolescent health, identify areas of need to target with new services, examine characteristics of public schools and school-based health centers (SBHCs), collaborate with and learn from nearby partners, raise awareness to policymakers, and fundraise. Until now, a tool with these capabilities has not existed.

The tool has two main layers:

  1. Child Health and Education Indicators contains county-level data on population health, education, and socioeconomic status to map high need areas
  2. SBHCs and School Characteristics has locations of SBHCs and public schools to be mapped, filtered, and key characteristics displayed.

In addition to these two layers, the Basemaps and Optional Layers includes the ability to view other health care access points including hospitals and  health centers, as well as health care shortage areas. Community HealthView, Map My Data Point, and Map My Community’s Data allow users to explore additional publicly available data and add their own data. Download the User Manual to learn more.

What can I do with the Children’s Health and Education Mapping Tool?

The tool can be used for a variety of public health functions:

  • Assess Community Health: The tool can be used to compare a community to surrounding areas based on health and social determinants of health. Users can select indicators across multiple dimensions of need, such as educational, demographic, and socioeconomic factors that are linked to population health.
  • Identify areas of need: The tool can be used to identify areas with good access to health services, as well as shortage areas to target with additional services. Users can examine facility-level data, including the locations of schools, SBHCs, hospitals, and Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Look-Alikes, as well as medically underserved areas/populations (MUA/P) or health care professional shortage areas (HPSA).
  • Plan: Users can target identified areas of need with additional health and social services. A user might ask: “Given that this county has higher obesity, food insecurity, and eligibility for free and reduced lunch rates than the national average, and several public schools, would an SBHC be an important service to add to support improving children’s nutritional health?”
  • Examine characteristics of public schools and SBHCs: Use the tool to display public school and SBHC locations, and filter the locations based on key characteristics. For example, a user can view public schools that are Title I eligible and filter schools based on school population size, grade levels served, or the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch.
  • Collaborate: Users can use the tool to identify potential partner organizations in the local area and collaborate to provide more comprehensive, coordinated care to the community. Users can also identify communities with strong population health outcomes and services and form relationships to learn what works.
  • Raise Awareness: Maps can be a powerful resource for data-driven decision-making and a key tool to deliver messages to local, state, and federal policymakers. Users can print the maps they create during the assessment, identification, planning, or collaboration process and take them to their key stakeholders.
  • Fundraise: The tool combines data from a variety of sources to give users easy access to create maps or provide analysis supporting grant applications. Users can export and print a map or create data tables that they can use for reports to funders or in grant applications.

Who Can Use the Children’s Health and Education Mapping Tool?

Anyone! The tool is designed for diverse audiences who are interested in making data-driven decisions to target health services. The tool aggregates data traditionally reported in separate silos, making it easier for users to access county-level data across multiple indicators.

The tool will be helpful for:

  • school and child health supporters and researchers
  • federal and state policymakers
  • state departments of health and education
  • county officials
  • insurers/payers
  • national, state, and regional grant makers

Hospitals and community health centers and other organizations interested in opening an SBHC will find the tool useful to identify areas that are medically underserved and should be targeted as locations for health services. SBHC administrators, clinicians, and practitioners interested in collaborating with other SBHCs will be able to connect, collaborate, and share challenges and best practices. As SBHCs increasingly serve populations other than the students in the school, the mapping tool could be used by individuals searching for a place to access care within their community.

Ready to Get Started?

Click here to access the tool