About the Mapping Tool

Research shows that our health is influenced by where we live, learn, work, and play

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 availability and cleanliness of our water and food; and the nature of our social interactions and relationships—all of these factors influence our health status.

Of course, addressing social determinants of health is something that the school-based health care field has done for decades. Now, with the introduction of the Children’s Health and Education Mapping Tool, the field has its own resource to show the impact of school-based health centers (SBHCs) and strategically plan for future expansion of the model.

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

Our mapping tool empowers users to assess community child and adolescent health, identify areas of need that may welcome new services, examine characteristics of public schools and SBHCs, collaborate with and learn from nearby partners, raise awareness to advocates and policymakers, and fundraise. This tool was developed in partnership with HealthLandscape and uses geographic information systems (GIS) technology to support data-driven decision-making.

The tool has four layers:

  • Child Health and Education Indicators:county-level data on population health, education, and socioeconomic status to accurately map high-need areas
  • SBHCs and School Characteristics:locations of SBHCs and public schools that can be mapped and filtered to display key characteristics
  • Basemaps and Optional Layers: locations of additional health care access points—including hospitals and health centers—as well as health care shortage areas
  • Map My Data Point allows users to add their own data points

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

We’re glad you asked! You can use the tool for a variety of public health functions, including:

  • Assess community health: Our mapping tool enables you to compare a community to its surrounding areas based on health and social determinants of health. Users can select indicators across multiple dimensions of need—such as the educational, demographic, and socioeconomic factors linked to population health.
  • Identify areas of need: This technology allows you to identify both areas with good access to health services as well as shortage areas that should be targeted for additional services. Users can examine facility-level data like the locations of schools, SBHCs, hospitals, Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and Look-Alikes, as well as Medically Underserved Areas and Populations (MUA/P) and Health Care Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).
  • Make a plan: After using the tool to identify areas of need, you can make a plan to target those areas for additional health and social services. You may ask, for example, “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, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers, would adding an SBHC in the county help improve children’s nutritional health?”
  • Examine characteristics of public schools and SBHCs:You can also use our tool to display public school and SBHC locations and then filter those locations based on key characteristics. For instance, you can view Title I eligible public schools and then filter those schools based on school population size, grade levels served, or the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch.
  • Collaborate: Our mapping tool also lets you pinpoint potential partner organizations in a given area that you can collaborate with in your efforts to provide more comprehensive, coordinated care to the community. Likewise, you can find communities with strong population health outcomes and services and foster relationships with them to learn what has worked so well in their communities.
  • Raise awareness: These maps are powerful visual devices—perfect for delivering messages to local, state, and federal policymakers as well as informing data-driven decision-making. We recommend printing the maps you create during the assessment, identification, planning, or collaboration process and take them with you when you meet key stakeholders.
  • Fundraise: Lastly, the volume of data within the tool guarantees you easy access to maps that can provide analysis that supports your grant applications. Users can export and print a map or create data tables to use for reports to funders and grant applications.

Who can use the Children’s Health and Education Mapping Tool?

Anyone and everyone! We designed this tool for diverse audiences who are interested in making data-driven decisions to target health services. The tool aggregates data that has been traditionally reported in separate silos, which makes it easier for users to access county-level data across multiple indicators.

The tool will be especially 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, community health centers, and other organizations interested in opening an SBHC will find the tool valuable as they attempt to identify medically underserved areas that should be targeted as locations for new health services. SBHC administrators, clinicians, and practitioners who are interested in collaborating with other SBHCs will be able to connect, join forces, and share challenges and best practices with each other. As SBHCs increasingly provide services to populations other than the students in school, this tool could also be used by individuals searching for a health care access point within their community.

Ready to Get Started?

Click here to access the tool