Press Release

September 7, 2007


State public health director announces $1.2 million grant to develop web based public health information system

 New system will give public health professionals and public access to more comprehensive Illinois health data  

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Eric E. Whitaker today announced a $1.2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create a web-based public health data center for the state. The Illinois Health Data Dissemination Initiative (IHDDI) will provide a one-stop-shop approach to anyone looking for comprehensive health care data in Illinois. A user would only need to make one request for information and the new system would pull together health statistics and information from various state agencies. IDPH along with the Illinois Public Health Institute will work to develop the system over a five-year period.

“Health statistics and information are gathered by numerous State agencies and having access to all sources of information by making only one request will provide the user a more comprehensive picture of health in Illinois,” said Dr. Whitaker. “For example, if someone asked the system for information about diseases related to obesity, the system would be able to provide weight and population statistics from the Illinois Department of Public Health, medical insurance access information from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and diabetes data from the Department of Human Services.”

The IHDDI will improve the state’s ability to monitor progress towards achieving national, state and community health objectives; assess information to develop public health policy; and track progress toward addressing health disparities among various populations.

“The recent Illinois State Health Improvement Plan called for improving access to health data to help communities and policy-makers identify and solve health problems, with a priority on addressing health disparities among racial and ethnic minority groups. This Cooperative Agreement will help make that vision a reality,” said Elissa J. Bassler, executive director of the Illinois Public Health Institute. “We're looking forward to partnering with the Department of Public Health and stakeholders to implement the IHDDI.”

The State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) is a long-term, strategic roadmap for improving the health of Illinois citizens and the effectiveness of the public health system in the state. The Plan identifies areas that both government and private organizations can work on to help prevent disease and promote the overall health of the state. Those areas include improving:

  • Access: Access to health care and public health services, including quality prevention programs, oral health, mental health, medical and long-term care.
  • Data and Information Technology: Assure that current health status and public health system data are used to plan and implement policy and programs.
  • Disparities: Monitor health disparities and implement effective strategies to eliminate them.
  • Measure, Manage & Improve the Public Health System: Assure accountability, ongoing improvement, and performance management.
  • Workforce: Assure an optimal, diverse and competent workforce.
  • Priority Health Conditions: Monitor priority health conditions and risk factors, and implement effective strategies to reduce them.
Recommendations from SHIP were included in Senate Bill 547 – Health Data Task Force, which Governor Rod R. Blagojevich recently signed into law. The legislation calls for the creation of a health data task force to create a system to access integrated health data. The CDC grant to develop IHDDI will work to fulfill the goal of this new law.

A multi-agency steering committee and an advisory committee consisting of local health departments, colleges, universities as well as private sector and non-profit organizations will work to create the IHDDI. State, academic, private and public users will have access to IHDDI once it is up and running.

A couple examples of databases that will be incorporated into IHDDI include the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which consists of data obtained through surveys on various topics such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and more; the Illinois State Cancer Registry; and HIV/AIDS/STD statistics.

Partners will use the five-year, $1,249,835 CDC grant, which is 100 percent federally funded with no non-governmental sources, to incorporate as many state databases within each agency as possible one-by-one. In the future, other databases outside of state agencies could be incorporated.

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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