Partner Spotlight: Partnership for a Healthier America’s Place-Based Mapping Tool

Collecting and analyzing data can be a tedious task, one that requires significant amounts of time and research capacity, even in an ever-evolving technical era. As The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) continues to expand their private sector partnerships and scale their initiatives, they discovered a need to be able to manage more partner and community data, more quickly. Doing so would amplify their ability to provide more timely decision support, prioritize areas of greatest need, and best match strategies to community needs.

Problem, meet solution.

Place-Based map built upon the Vulnerable Populations Footprint

To maximize resources and potential for impact, PHA partnered with Institute for People Place and Possibility (IP3) and the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES) to develop the Place-Based Mapping (PBM) tool.

The PBM tool provides a powerful way to analyze data related to poverty, obesity, and vulnerable populations specific to a particular geographic area. Using the architecture of the Community Commons Vulnerable Populations Footprint (VPF), the PBM tool combines partner locations and key equity indicators to inform a comprehensive community indicator report, a demographic summary, and a series of maps and other data visualizations showcasing a community’s assets and opportunities. PHA Hub members are also able to upload their own data to create new footprints – a solution which supports real-time and hyper-contextualized decision making.

Click the map to zoom to your area.

The PBM tool ensures that PHA and its partners are able to identify the most vulnerable geographies for their interventions. Business partners, in particular, have found value in the PBM tool. They see it as a way to enhance their understanding of community needs, evaluate their potential impact, and keep public good and data-informed decision making at the forefront of their work. With organizations like Kwik Trip and Sheetz, businesses that make commitments with PHA agree to a collective goal of transforming the marketplace – making retailers more equitable, accessible, and focused on community health.

As stated by their Chairman, James Gavin III,

That’s why PHA places a special emphasis on reaching the children who live in neighborhoods that are not only disproportionately affected by obesity, but least likely to have the means to combat it. Our staff is trained to structure and direct partner commitments to ensure they reach those geographic places and socioeconomic groups that are the most challenged.

PHA is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by helping to solve the childhood obesity crisis. PHA brings together public, private, and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most importantly, PHA ensures that commitments are made and kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress their partners are making to show everyone what can be achieved by working together. 

The development of the PHA Place Based Mapping Tool  was made possible through support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation COGIS Project.

To learn more about the PBM tool, contact


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