UCLA Launches Portal To Make Public Health Data and Tools Widely
Available And More Impactful
“As a school of public
health, we believe it is our responsibility to share our data as
widely as possible, since breakthroughs can come from around the
corner or around the world,” according to UCLA Fielding School of
Public Health dean Jody Heymann. She made this statement in her
message to visitors on the website of a new public data portal which
UCLA launched late last year, [https://tinyurl.com/ycct3zrz]
Data Impact/Ease of
Heymann told The Epidemiology Monitor of the school’s
deep commitment to using research to have public health impact, and
one way to help achieve that is to make it easy to access public data.
Data sharing is not a new idea and public use data sets are not a new
resource. However, the unfortunate reality is that many data sets are
not easy to find or easy to use, according to Heymann. UCLA’s goal is
to create a kind of “one stop shopping” location for public use data
sets which are easy to download from the Fielding School of Public
To date, there is no easy way to access the wide array
of public health data. Part of the UCLA Fielding School of Public
Health vision, according to Heymann, is to help create a snowball
effect among the different schools whereby each school’s data portal
could be linked, and a user entering any school’s page could link
readily to a vast array of public use public health data.
value of data sharing can be measured not only on the impact produced
but also on contribution it can make to advance training programs.
According to Heymann, data sharing is part of a broader vision which
sees the work of researchers as a shared public good to help the
health of all in as many ways as possible.
idea to create the first data portal of its kind arose from an earlier
strategic planning process. The enthusiasm was there to make a
difference with data, and this helped to inform the current
initiative. According to Heymann, the goal of the initiative has been
to facilitate faculty being able to make data and data tools public,
and to assist with overcoming obstacles.
The information on the UCLA portal is grouped into
three categories---survey data, data sets, and data tools. The 18
resources available to date (with more being added) are listed below
with links to the information.
Interview Survey (CHIS)
Guatemalan Survey of
Data User Categories
The UCLA data portal
provides easy access to a variety of data sets with explanations
provided for different types of users such as policy makers,
researchers, data enthusiasts, social entrepreneurs, and the media.
Each user enters depending on their category and finds the data sets
being made available in that grouping. For example, data enthusiasts
are offered the opportunity to access information from 8 of the 18
To obtain more information about the
data portal, contact Erin Bresnahan at
or call 310.825.8206