Public data set highlights: Crime and police misconduct in Chicago and refugee demographics

Monday, November 30, 2015

Last week's Data is Plural newsletter featured two data sets of interest: one on complaints of police misconduct in Chicago (which is interesting as it comes on the heels of the APHA Annual Meeting held in Chicago this year) and one on demographic data of refugees settled in the US since 2002:
Complaints against Chicago police. The newly-launched Citizens Police Data Project has collected more than 56,000 allegations of police misconduct. The data, covering 2002-2008 and 2011-2015, includes demographic information about the complainant and the officer, as well as the type and location of the incident. Click here to download the raw data. Related: The City of Chicago’s wide-ranging data portal includes a spreadsheet of every reported crime in the city since 2001; you can explore neighborhood trends via the Chicago Tribune.

Refugees in America. The Department of State publishes demographic reports on refugee arrivals since 2002. The data includes country of origin, resettlement city and state, religion, age, gender, and more. Related: At BuzzFeed, I used the data to chart the past decade of refugee arrivals. Also related: The UN’s refugee data portal.

Public data set highlights: Arms transfers and health data breaches

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This week's Data Is Plural newsletter highlights two data sets of interest to public health:
Follow the F-17s. The Arms Transfer Database tracks the international flow of major weapons — artillery, missiles, military aircraft, tanks, and the like. Maintained by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the database contains documented sales since 1950 and is updated annually. SIPRI provides a download tool, which outputs rich-text files, but it’s also possible to download the data as CSV.
Health data, unprotected. Under the HITECH Act of 2009, companies must notify the government of any data breach involving the HIPAA-protected health data of 500 or more people. Summaries of those reports are available at the Department of Health and Human Services’s Breach Portal, which currently contains more than 1,300 incidents. Related: In April, JAMA published an analysis of the breaches.

The trouble with models

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Note: This was cross-posted to the IH Blog.

As a research epidemiologist, I love all things data. I will totally nerd out with a book on best practices for designing and maintaining disease surveillance systems all over the world (which I may have done this summer by reading this book by my apartment complex pool). My husband joked once that "you are one of probably five people who read MMWR in the entire country...ten, tops." I spent a significant portion of my time at APHA in Chicago scoping out doctoral programs, so research is kind of my thing. Nonetheless, I found myself agreeing with an editorial in Lancet Global Health two issues ago which discussed the value and limitations of theoretical/mathematical epidemiological models. I had intended to write about it, but things have an unfortunate tendency to slip off my radar during busy days...and then, unexpectedly, another editorial in the current Lancet Global Health issue, this time on a malaria vaccine trial, jogged my memory.

@Lancet editorial: Iran and Global Health Diplomacy

Friday, November 13, 2015

Note: This was cross-posted to the IH Blog.
Global health diplomacy is an emerging field that has been gaining traction and attention recently. There was a session on it at this year's APHA Annual Meeting (which I unfortunately had to miss), as well as a pre-conference workshop for the bargain price of $30 - certainly a steal compared to the $100 pricetag on the Global Health Fellows Program's Saturday session. Interestingly, Lancet Global Health ran an editorial on global health diplomacy in its new issue that was released this week, focused specifically on Iran. The piece is open access and short enough to be worth copying here in full.

Data Newsletter by @JSVine Spotlights Public Data Sets

Thursday, November 12, 2015

For all you data scientists, analysts, coders and netizens who like to nerd out on data, I recently discovered a delightful weekly e-mail newsletter that spotlights various publicly available data sets on related to all kinds of health, government, and civil society issues and activities. The newsletter, Data is Plural, was launched last month by Buzzfeed's data editor Jeremy Singer-Vine and contains links to, and short descriptions of, data sets on everything from police department activity and traffic stops to behavioral data on American habits and Wikipedia editor activity. Each newsletter features four or five data sets and distributed once a week on Tuesdays.

#APHA15: The Highlights

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A few readers may have noticed that this blog has been taking a nap over the last few months. Part of this is due to increased responsibility at work, but most of it has been because I was preparing for the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association in Chicago. The meeting went pretty well, and I had a lot of success with my own personal goals related to advocacy on the forced HIV testing in Korea issue that was ruled to constitute racial discrimination by the UN CERD earlier this year. In addition to presenting my abstract on the topic, I also authored a late-breaker policy resolution that passed in the Governing Council meeting on Tuesday. You can read my play-by-play blogging of the conference here.

I also got a "Ninja for Health" t-shirt.