3 Health and Education Leaders Who are Making a Difference with Data

By Michelle Wallace 2014/07/11

“Our mission is data for public good,” says Glen Szczypka, a Tableau customer we recently had the opportunity to meet. Glen is Deputy Director at the Health Media Collaboratory, and is one of a growing number of people who use data to improve access to health and education services.

We're constantly inspired by data rockstars like Glen. Lucky for us, a number of them have recently shared their stories with us—including Dan Scott of Goodwill Education Initiatives of Indiana (Goodwill Education) and Jordan Slice from the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (South Carolina Campaign). And we're excited to share some of the awesome things they're doing with data.

At the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, data visualizations help pinpoint high-risk communities. Learn more here.

By increasing the access and visibility of data, these three organizations have seen improvements to services even when resources are tight. Here are some of their major achievements:

  • Goodwill Education, a nonprofit adult education service, has seen its course completion rate triple. It also identified its most impactful offering: a certificate course. "That gave us a sort of ‘magic bullet’ as far as a way to keep students engaged," says Dan, who is the Director of Data Services there.
  • The South Carolina Campaign has replaced static handouts with interactive dashboards at staff meetings. The result has been a dramatic acceleration of the decision-making process.
Health Media Collaboratory analyzed a year’s worth of tweets referencing cigarette smoking to identify peak opportunities for outreach.

Hear Glen tell the story of this visualization—and more—here.

  • The Health Media Collaboratory has used Twitter data to identify opportunities for outreach about quitting smoking. Glen also cites the visual component of Tableau as a key strength for communicating findings. "You get an immediate response to taking 1.7 million tweets and sticking it on a histogram and charting it weekly to see where the peaks are. It just pops out at them."

Dan sums it up nicely: "The school is going to do a lot better overall—not because anyone's working harder, but because people know where they can get the biggest return on their time and energy."

We couldn't have put it better ourselves! You can read his full story here.

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