City Health Dashboard

More than 80 percent of the United States population lives in urban areas. A key ingredient for thriving communities is healthy people, yet neighborhoods right next to each other can provide drastically different opportunities for health and well-being. Adding to the challenge of differences in opportunities for health and health outcomes among populations is that for mayors, city managers, community development staff and local health officials seeking to drive health improvements, there has been no standardized tool for understanding and benchmarking a city’s performance and relative standing on indicators of health and health risk.

The City Health Dashboard bridges this gap by measuring and comparing health at the city -- rather than at the county and state -- level. It equips the largest 500 cities in the U.S., those with populations of about 66,000 or greater, with a one-stop resource allowing users to view and compare data from multiple sources on health and the factors that shape health to guide local solutions that create healthier and more equitable communities. The project is led by NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation  and in partnership with NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, the National Resource Network, the International City/County Management Association, and the National League of Cities.

The City Health Dashboard gives city officials and key community stakeholders the ability to see health outcomes and the factors impacting health, both within their own cities and compared to other peer cities.

The Dashboard presents 36 measures related to health represented across five domains: Health Outcomes, Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, and Physical Environment. These domains align with those used in the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a well-known program that provides data on health and health drivers at the county level. The City Health Dashboard was piloted in four cities, Flint, Michigan; Kansas City, Kansas; Providence, Rhode Island; and Waco, Texas, in January 2017 and launched in the nation’s 500 largest cities on May 15, 2018.

Previously, decision-makers and community stakeholders lacked a common framework, mapped to their city's boundaries, for prioritizing health improvement strategies, which is vital not only to containing health care-related costs but also to optimizing economic productivity and community well-being. Since> so many factors that influence health and well-being are shaped at the municipal level, it was time to support city-level decision making with a standardized, comparative, and actionable dashboard for health.

The Dashboard is available at cityhealthdashboard.com.