Better Data for Better Health

Data resources for analysis of the many factors that shape health in communities.

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Data are a powerful tool for helping community leaders better understand health in their neighborhoods and advance health equity.

National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems

RWJF established a first-of-its-kind commission to reimagine how health data are collected, shared, and used, and to identify the public and private sector investments needed to modernize our health data infrastructure and improve health equity. The commission is charged with identifying how data can better illuminate the ways in which structural racism drives health inequities.

Read the report

Where we live has a profound impact on how long and how well we live. Data can illuminate where some people and places are cut off from nutritious food, good schools, stable and affordable homes--and other conditions that shape health. RWJF supports multiple efforts to provide community leaders and residents with local health data, as well as data about the drivers of health at the state, county, city and census tract levels. These data resources allow communities to uncover health challenges, better target resources, and measure progress toward ensuring that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to achieve good health.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed serious gaps in our health data systems. We must modernize these systems putting equity at their core, so that public health crises do not harm some people more than others because of their race or ethnicity, what they earn, and where they live. We work with our partners to address systems-level challenges, including how data are collected, shared, and broken down by age, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, neighborhood, and other factors. When used properly, data can help us identify and address barriers that perpetuate structural racism in America.

Health Data Resources

Related Content

From Data to Action

What Works for Health

A County Health Rankings' tool helping communities identify what policy and system changes may be the best fit to address local health needs.

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Health Data for Action

An RWJF program to expand access to rich data for research on issues related to population health and and well-being.

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President's Corner

To transform public health, we must reimagine our data systems

Data systems that only document racial health disparities without measuring the inequities and racism that fuels them contribute to the problem. This failure results in a society such as ours where health disparities are often perceived as biological or behavioral rather than structural. It's a system that stigmatizes. RWJF president and CEO Richard Besser explains that properly measuring and understanding racism, and investing in the public health infrastructure to collect, aggregate and analyze data, are essential steps toward ensuring every person in the United States has a fair and just opportunity to live a healthier life.

Visualizing COVID-19


The US COVID Atlas is an interactive, open-source data visualization tool connecting near real-time COVID-19 case, testing, and vaccination data with community indicators across U.S. counties and states. Updated daily, the Atlas includes state-level vaccination data, as well as customizable features and on-the-ground stories highlighting the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color.

View the Atlas

The Power of Data for Healthy Communities

A print-friendly brief contains additional details about how to use the health data resources featured in this collection, and additional resources currently under development.

Download brief

Additional Resources

Healthy and Equitable Community
—Recommendations for the emerging ecosystem of tools, approaches, and data sources to support community investment’s impact on health and equity in communities.

A New Portrait of Rural America—Report from the American Communities Project uses data and on-the-ground reporting to explore those differences and blow up the mythology that too often has come to definite rural America.

Elevate Data for Equity—National Neighborhood Indicators Project shares how philanthropy, local governments, and more can invest in data capacity and make data practices more equitable.

RWJF's official data archive, the HMCA, houses data from select funded research projects and facilitates secondary analyses of data.

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Selecting Indicators for Early Childhood Systems Change Projects

A reference guide for groups working toward optimal and equitable health outcomes for young children and their families, to identify, select, and track data indicators that can inform and advance their efforts.

Explore the data
Learn More About Our Work
Learn how is working with others to create healthier communities nationwide.
Browse research and resources supporting efforts to achieve better health for all.
Explore RWJF's vision for improving health, equity and well-being in America.