Press Release
 April 1, 2014
Melaney Arnold (217) 558-0500

State’s Top Doc Announces Illinois Public Health Datapalooza Challenge Winners

Open health data fuels new app and map creations

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck recently announced the winners of the Illinois Public Health Datapalooza App Challenge. The challenge was designed to highlight the availability and benefit of having open (readily accessible) health data from government agencies. Teams built apps or maps that provided the best use of health data in solving a problem faced by health care communities in Illinois. The challenge was announced at the first statewide Illinois Public Health Datapalooza held in November 2013, an event that brought together experts from technology and health care sectors to show how health data can be put to work in Illinois and other states.

“The datapalooza challenge was an innovative way to highlight the benefits of making health data readily accessible and we received many great submissions,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “IDPH will continue to find innovative ways to work with health data and further Governor Pat Quinn’s commitment to improving health outcomes and access to health care in Illinois.”

For first place, IDPH, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) awarded $10,000 for the HealthNear.Me app, a simple tool to help residents find public health providers near them. HealthNear.Me compiled a list of nine types of health providers and made them searchable via a website built to work on smart phones, phones that can send and receive text messages, tablets and desktop computers.

The app aggregated information from the website and included the IDPH Hospital Directory, Community Service Centers, Condom Distribution Sites, Cooling Centers, Licensed Substance Abuse Providers, Mental Health Clinics, Senior Centers, STI Specialty Clinic, Warming Centers and WIC Clinics datasets.

HealthNear.Me delivers on the promise of open data - it takes raw information, provided by Illinois state agencies, and makes it usable for all Illinois residents.” said Smart Chicago Collaborative Executive Director Dan O’Neil.

For second place, IDPH, DCEO and RWJF awarded $5,000 to the creators of the Illinois Teen Pregnancy and STI Hot Spot Detector map app.

The map helps health care practitioners and administrators determine where sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies are most prevalent in Illinois. Each map has also been outfitted with location markers where county residents can go for low cost or free treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

The map utilized data from the IDPH 2008-2012 STD Illinois by County Gonorrhea; IDPH 2008-2012 STD Illinois by County Early Syphilis; IDPH 2008-2012 STD Illinois by County Chlamydia; IDPH Births to Teen Mothers, by County, by Age, 2008-2009; Condom Distribution Sites; STI Specialty Clinics; and IDPH Pregnancy Termination Center datasets from

An additional award from Illinois Public Health Datapalooza partner Esri, was presented to the creator of the “Measles Then and Now in Illinois” app. It is an interactive Esri ArcGIS webapp, which uses open data to compare past and current measles data and allows health care practitioners to see where potential outbreaks may occur due to lower vaccination rates. The winner of the Esri award will be the guest of Esri as its annual International Users Conference in San Diego.

“It was Esri’s pleasure to sponsor the map challenge of the Illinois Public Health Datapalooza, and we share the vision of the IDPH, the Health Data Consortium (HDC) and others who organized and participated in this event,” said Esri Health and Human Services Manager Angelica Baltazar. “Open government data is a valuable resource that can be used to help people make more informed health decisions.”

“We were thrilled to be involved in this exciting program and were impressed with the quality of the submissions,” said HDC CEO Dwayne Spradlin. “Open data enables these kinds of competitions and is helping to focus real innovators locally and across the country on improving health and health care. We extend our appreciation to the Illinois Department of Public Health and all the great partners that came together to make this program a reality.”

IDPH is also releasing the agency wide Open Data Directive, affirming IDPH’s commitment to making publically accessible as many datasets as permissible under law.

Dr. Hasbrouck would like to recognize and thank all of the organizations that supported and participated in the two day event last November; Smart Chicago Collaborative, 1871, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, HDC, California Healthcare Foundation, Socrata, Esri, RWJF, DCEO as well as others.

To learn more about the first statewide Illinois Public Health Datapalooza, held in conjunction with the first in a series of regional forums sponsored by the Health Data Consortium focused on “Putting Health Data to Work in Our States and Communities,” visit You can also visit the Statewide Open Data Portal,, to find health datasets and other government data that is readily available.

IDPH is committed to improving data utilization to promote awareness of health issues and how to address them. Data use is one of IDPH’s priorities in its Five Year Strategy 2014-2018, along with reducing health disparities and developing/expanding partnerships. Open data enables collaboration and can help develop partnerships among government, researchers, educators, advocacy organizations, health professionals and others working together to improve the health of Illinoisans. Open data also helps reduce health disparities by enabling stakeholders to more readily analyze health data, identify disparities and develop plans to eliminate them. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to

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