Gathering information and collecting data are critical to support understanding of the health of populations. There are various uses for local health data and information and the following resources include key information and data sources available to help address factors that affect population health, as well as prepare public health professionals.

Click the links below to explore each resource collection.


Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity

Using data to broaden our understanding of the relationship between the social determinants of health such as income, employment, or access to care and the health of population is crucial to addressing the social determinants of health and reducing health disparities.

  • Community Commons, CDC: A cross-cutting resource that includes data, tools, and stories to improve communities and inspire change.

  • County Health Rankings, University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. They provide a starting point for change in communities.

  • American Fact Finder, US Census Bureau: Source for finding population, housing, economic, and geographic data from the national to the local level.

  • My Tribal Area, US Census Bureau: Source for quick and easy access to selected statistics from the American Community Survey, which provides detailed demographic, social, economic, and housing statistics every year for the nation's communities.

  • Sources for Social Determinants of Health, CDC: Tools for understanding data on social determinants of health, such as income, educational level, and employment, can help focus efforts to improve community health.

  • Practical Playbook, Duke University Medical Center, CDC, de Beaumont Foundation: Helping Public Health and Primary Care work together to improve population health.

  • Community ToolBox, Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas: Learn how to build a multisector collaborative.

  • National Collaborative for Health Equity,  The mission of the National Collaborative for Health Equity is to promote health equity by harnessing evidence, developing leaders, and catalyzing partnerships across the many different sectors that share responsibility for creating a more equitable and just society.

  • Health Equity Institute, San Francisco State University: The mission of the Health Equity Institute (HEI) is to create an intellectual environment that encourages diversity of perspectives, challenges conventional approaches, and produces innovative action-oriented research in the biomedical, social, and behavioral sciences in order to improve health, eliminate health disparities, and establish equity in health. 

  • Roots of Health Inequity, National Association of City and County Officials: This course provides an online learning environment from which to explore root causes of inequity in the distribution of disease, illness, and death. Funded by the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health, its audience is primarily the local public health workforce. It seeks to ground participants in the concepts and strategies that could lead to effective action.

  • Social Determinants of Health Maps, CDC:  Quick Maps of Heart Disease, Stroke, and Socio-economic Conditions.

  • Visualize Health Equity, National Academy of Medicine: The National Academy of Medicine (NAM), a nonprofit research organization in Washington, DC, called on artists of all kinds to illustrate what health equity looks, sounds, and feels like to them. Whether it’s access to healthy food or safe neighborhoods, good education or a living wage, clean drinking water or affordable housing, connection to cultural heritage or lack of discrimination, health equity means something different to everyone.

Training and Facilitation

Access free, comprehensive training and educational resources to support professional development and public health practice.  

  • CDC TRAIN, Public Health Foundation: A gateway into the TRAIN Learning Network, the most comprehensive catalog of free public health training opportunities.

  • National Coordinating Center for Public Health Training National Network of Public Health Institutes: The Center partners with 10 Regional Public Health Training Centers and 40 local performance sites to offer high-quality training, tools, and resources for thousands of professionals engaged in the critical work of advancing public health practice and improving population health.

  • CDC Learning Connection, CDC: A source for information about public health training developed by CDC, CDC partners, and other federal agencies.

  • Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center, Colorado School for Public Health: Trainings are developed for the public health workforce, broadly defined as those who work in public health agencies as well as those who work in other organizations impacting the health of the public, including the health care workforce in medically underserved rural areas and in American Indian Nations. 

Needs Assessment and Action Planning

Community health needs assessment and improvement planning is an important process designed to help understand the health status of a community and population. The process utilizes a community driven approach to gather information and collect data regarding local assets and gaps,  identify priority health issues, and develop an action plan to address the health of a community. 


Public health is an essential component to improving population health, focused on preventing disease and improving the health in where we live, work, learn, and play. If population health is really going to improve, public health fills the gap where health care does not, addressing the social, economic, and environmental factors that affect health outcomes. Why not prevent illness?

Brownson RC, Baker EA, Deshpande AD, Gillespie KN. Evidence-Based Public Health. 3rd Edition. New York: Oxford University Press; 2018

Brownson RC, Baker EA, Deshpande AD, Gillespie KN. Evidence-Based Public Health. 3rd Edition. New York: Oxford University Press; 2018


Evidence-Based Public Health

Evidence-Based Public Health is a practice which guides the development, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs and practices guided by science. Access resources that support evidence-based public health practice.

  • Evidence-Based Public Health, Prevention Research Center in St. Louis: The purpose of this site is to provide public health professionals and decision-makers with resources and tools to make evidence-based public health practice (EBPH) accessible and realistic.

  • Evidence-Based Public Health, ASTHO: Evidence-based interventions lead to more successful programs and policies, greater workforce productivity and better use of resources.

  • Winnable Battles, CDC: Winnable Battles are public health priorities with large-scale impact on health and known effective strategies to address them.

  • The Community Guide in Action, The Community Guide: Stories feature decision-makers, program planners, employers, and leaders from across the country who have used The Community Guide to make people safer and healthier.

  • Healthy People 2020 Structured Evidence Queries, Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce: This resource provides pre-formulated PubMed search strategies to find published literature to support achieving Healthy People 2020 objectives.


Data can also be a powerful vehicle for understanding the health of a population---   highlighting both the existence of problems and opportunities for improvement, as well as guide community action and improve program effectiveness guided by evaluation. Access cross-cutting data sources that provide a link to a comprehensive set of data. 

  • Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce: Links to data on the health of a population.

  • Data, Tools, and Statistics, National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR), Datat U.S. Library of Medicine: Contains selective links representing a sample of available information. Items are selected for their quality, authority of authorship, uniqueness, and appropriateness.

  • DASH (Data Across Sectors for Health), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: DASH aims to identify barriers, opportunities, promising practices and indicators of progress for multi-sector collaborations to connect. information systems and share data for community health improvement

  • Data Sources & Tools Relevant to Rural Health, Rural Health Information Hub: Find Statistics and Data Related to Rural Health.

  • Data & Benchmarks, State, Tribal, Local & Territorial Public Health Professionals Gateway, CDC: Data and indicator analyses provide descriptive information on demographic and socioeconomic characteristics; they can be used to monitor progress and determine whether actions have the desired effect.

  •, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: This site is dedicated to making high value health data more accessible to entrepreneurs, researchers, and policy makers in the hopes of better health outcomes for all.

  • CDC Evaluation Resources, CDC: A “how to” guide for planning and implementing evaluation activities.

Technical Writing and Communication

What good is a successful public health program to improving population health, if no one knows about it. Access resources that guide you through diverse methods for disseminating findings to a variety of audiences.

  • Evergreen Data, Intentional Reporting & Data Visualization, Stephanie Evergreen: Offers a research-based approach to visualization and design to help awesome people be even better at what they do.

  • Data Visualizations, Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation: Here you can watch how trends in mortality change over time, choose countries to compare progress in a variety of health areas, or see how countries compare against each other on a global map.

  • Dissemination & Engagement Planning Checklist, CDC: Provides guidance for translation of evidence-based programs, practices, or policies—broadly defined to include evidence-based communications, campaigns, guidelines, and other interventions and tools.

  • Resources for Writing Briefs, CDC: Four types of briefing documents that can be used to clearly communicate public health evidence. Public health professionals can use the resources to develop briefs that succinctly inform decision makers and stakeholders of the best available evidence on a public health problem, policy, method, or approach.

  • How to Develop a Success Story, CDC: A success story can document program improvement over time and demonstrate the value of program activities. When presented effectively, success stories can be a useful tool for educating your stakeholders about the outcomes of your work and the results you are achieving.

  • Getting the Word Out: New Approaches for Disseminating Public Health Science, Brownson, Eyler, Harris, Moore, & Tabak (2018): By employing ideas outlined in this article, scientific discoveries are more likely to be applied in public health agencies and policy-making bodies.

Program Development and Implementation

  • Program Planning & Implementation, Health and Human Services: A smoothly operating program that fits the needs of its target population is positioned to achieve its desired outcomes and address challenges in its path. Effectively planning and implementing a program takes time and commitment.

  • Program Planning, Implementation & Evaluation Tools, National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools: This tool will be helpful for program planners, managers and program evaluation specialists. It can be used to assist with program planning, implementation and evaluation phases to inform continuous quality improvement strategies.

  • Supporting successful implementation of public health interventions: protocol for a realist synthesis, MacDonald et. al. (2016): This synthesis will provide evidence to support effective implementation of public health interventions taking into account the variable context of interventions. A series of knowledge translation products specific to the needs of knowledge users will be developed to provide implementation support.

  • Evidence-Based Public Health Implementation Toolkit, ASTHO: The Evidence-Based Public Health Implementation Toolkit provides a collection of resources and tools aimed at helping state and territorial health agencies implement and build on their existing evidence-based public health (EBPH) policies and practices.

  • Rural Community Health Toolkit, Rural Health Information Hub: This toolkit provides rural communities with the information, resources, and materials they need to develop a community health program in a rural community.

Grant Writing and Coordination

  • Federal Agency Grants Federal website to identify grant funding opportunities to apply for from different funding agencies, e.g. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Smart Growth Program  A team of experts will help community members develop strategies and an action plan for using planned or existing broadband service to promote smart, sustainable community development.

  • Rural Funding & Opportunities , Rural Health Information Hub: Summaries of funding programs for rural communities are provided by RHIhub.

  • Foundation Center: An innovative nonprofit that gathers and analyzes data, shares it worldwide, and empowers people like you to understand and increase philanthropy’s ability to improve the world.  

  • Applying for Grants to Support Rural Health Projects, Rural Health Information Hub: This guide can serve as a starting point for those who need assistance to begin the grant writing process. It will cover tips on searching for rural-specific funding, grant proposal preparation, building successful funding relationships, and planning for program sustainability.

  • Introduction to Grant Writing, Purdue University: Professional grant writers use clear, specific language to focus the reader’s attention, and to persuade the reader to fund their proposal. Learning to write successful grant proposals is no small task, but the writing process can become easier with practice and awareness of a few common missteps. Learn tips about how to get started with grant writing.

  • Planning & Writing a Grant Proposal: The Basics, University of Wisconsin-Madison: The site offer information ways of thinking about grant proposals and advice about the process of planning and writing a proposal.