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Children’s Optimal Health: Mapping Stories

These are just a few stories to illustrate how COH works with community partners to develop solutions:

78758

78758 is a diverse zip code.  It contains warehousing, industrial and retail sites in addition to residential areas. Any Baby Can and other social service providers suspected the existence of a neighborhood of need for newborns and their mothers based on anecdotal information.  The exact location of social, as well as health risks was not apparent; the reason being that when data is spread over large geographies such as zip codes, diffusion of the numbers causes exact locations (hot spots) to disappear.  When 78758 was mapped considering births, poverty, access to care and other contributors based on residence data, a hot spot appeared.  Not only was it very concentrated, it bled into two other adjacent zip codes.  This area of acute need would never have been illuminated on any map utilizing geo-political boundaries.

Absenteeism

Awareness of the individual and societal cost of high absenteeism was critical to this project entered into in partnership with E3 Alliance.   COH joined in a project to identify potential solutions to decrease the high rates of students missing school by better understanding the reason students missed school.  COH created multiple maps for several school districts.  The project took into account the parents’ reports of reasons for absences.  Nearly half of all absences were due to acute illness; flu being identified as a leading, preventable illness.   Mapping proved to be useful in that geographical location of hotspots vary with acute illness outbreaks. The discoveries led to an intervention in which flu immunizations were provided to schools in several districts in the Central Texas area.  In the first year (2014), an immunization program was instituted in 56 elementary schools at no cost to the patient, family, or school districts.

Child Maltreatment

COH Partnered with Dell Children’s Medical Center to understand spatial patterns of Child Maltreatment.  The project illuminated the widening over several years of the Eastern Crescent that so often shows concentrations of need on many levels.  This finding is consistent with eastward and outward migration away from the support resources found closer to the denser urban areas that is being seen as Austin grows and displaces many of the neediest of families.  Also noted was the appearance of areas of some concern across the county.  These maps and the analyses resulted in a publication called “Thinking Upstream” and have been presented at numerous meetings and conferences.  This project will inform planning for prevention and intervention projects and will be the basis for future studies and research.

Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse

A Call to Leaders:  Keeping Kids Sober in Travis County…by Enhancing Community Systems

As a result of our partnership with AISD. we were able to access data related to various Behavioral Health issues including substance abuse. Upon completing an extensive mapping project, we identified a need for a more collaborative and integrated system of interventions.  The Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (YSAP) was formed.  A summit was held to increase interest and to underscore the need for supportive policy changes to address the needs of affected students.  Recovering students presented powerful videos they had created.

Transportation Child Injury

During the spatial analysis of Phase 1 of this project, the question arose as to whether  a concentration existed where children resided who were identified as un- or under- restrained in car seats at the time of injury due to a car accident.  One area in north Austin popped.  Car seat distribution locations were overlaid in a drill down of the neighborhood of concern, as was access to those centers, socio-economic status, and other social determinants that were barriers to acquisition of proper restraint and child safety education.  It was determined that resources were desperately needed for these children.  Dell Children’s Medical Center immediately reallocated resources to that area.