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Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems

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Community Commons

Ever wonder who creates and maintains the data, Map Room, and Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) report on Community Commons? Wonder no more.

The Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems, kindly referred to as CARES, is a research center at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Founded in 1992, CARES has been developing and supporting mapping, reporting, and engagement systems since its inception.  Initially, CARES focused on agriculture and environmental data collection and application, but has since branched out to collect and host data related to the economy, education, health, civic engagement, and even some international data.

CARES Engagement Network

While the CARES team may be small (currently 12 staff), they are mighty – updating and integrating thousands of data layers into their warehouse each year. The team maintains capacities and expertise in mapping, visualization, and engagement – positioning them to serve both big data needs, like their recent project with U.S. News & World Report, and small, underserved communities like those in the Health in Appalachia project. CARES believes in providing web-based technologies that help organizations and policymakers make more informed decisions about access, equity, and allocation of resources.

CARES has collaborated on projects with support from a number of foundations, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and university researchers.  Selected projects include:

Through these collaborations, CARES has developed a significant portfolio for data collection and management, web-based content delivery, and spatial analysis.

University of Missouri IMPACT Portal

In 2017, CARES made a strategic move to University of Missouri Extension and Engagement. This move enables the center to align its data, technologies, and tools with extension field faculty across the US to support people, places, and processes. Also, as part of this alignment effort, CARES is building out its national Engagement Network; a public good platform that includes data, mapping, and reporting systems for organizations addressing community, regional, and state-level issues. If you have a Hub or a member of a Hub on Community Commons, you’ll be visiting the CARES Engagement Network soon. As Community Commons prepares to launch a new iteration of their platform, the CARES Engagement Network will begin hosting all current and future Hubs.

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