For eleven years, Angel Romero advocated for the uninsured population. Looking at social determinants of health affecting uninsured individuals, he was introduced to the Neighborhood Compass. Angel used the Compass to enter various neighborhoods, including his own, to make comparisons.
As shown in the map below, retail trade jobs – which are less likely to offer benefits for workers – employed nearly 13,000 Durham County workers in 2018 (Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages).
“My role changed last year. Before the role change, I worked with the uninsured and we used the Compass to find out more about specific neighborhoods. I had exchanges with John [DataWorks] about affordable clinics and mapping them.”
Being close to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies is one part of accessing the services required to maintain health and prevent or treat an illness. Homes near health care clinics in 2018 have been mapped below:
Broadening the scope
Angel’s use for this neighborhood tracking tool has since broadened into empowering community groups towards action. Angel currently works for Duke Population Health Management Office, Community Partnerships, serves as the Co-chair of the Partnership for a Healthy Durham, and as Facilitator of the Latino Health Roundtable.
“After my role changed, we started the Duke-Durham Neighborhood Improvement Project which provides presentations of the Compass and Community Health indicators. Currently, I am part of a team making presentations to community groups and neighborhoods. We want to know what they think about the tool and encourage them to use the data to put together interventions through grants, government support, etc.”
In October of 2019, DataWorks upgraded the Compass to be available in Spanish as well as in English.
“We were going to do the presentation for El Centro Hispano in Spanish but were later told that most of their staff understand English. We have not done any in Spanish yet.”
Not yet. But for those trained by Angel, who may engage next with folks who only speak Spanish, it offers directly accessible information.
What stories do the maps tell?
Not only does Angel lead workshops that introduce participants to the main features in the Compass– where participants are asked to choose a topic of interest, search for a neighborhood, compare neighborhood and county averages, and create reports–they are the catalysts to probe for deeper meaning. Those who attend are asked to think about their own neighborhood’s stories, their historical trends, and the root causes of their community’s health and growth.
What stands out for you? How do you envision the Compass being used to help activate your community around important needs?
These are just a few of the questions participants are asked to consider when exploring the Compass.
Community advocacy benefits our neighborhoods’ safety and health, and gives us the opportunity to envision the improved well-being of our neighbors. Using the Neighborhood Compass can be the first step towards realizing this vision.