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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, []

Data Impact/Ease of Use

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 Health.

First Portal

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.


The 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.

Strategic Plan

The 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.

Data Categories

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.

      Survey Data:


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