RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) have launched a new portal to help improve the community’s access to health data.

VDH and VHHA partnered with the Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems (CARES) to develop this portal which is a tool that provides users with comprehensive information on the health status of their communities.

The portal will allow users to track health-related data and analyze specific areas of concern, such as infant mortality, chronic disease or injuries. The portal can be accessed HERE.

The Partnering for a Healthy Virginia (PHV) Initiative coordinates efforts between VHHA and its member hospitals and health systems, VDH, local health departments, local jurisdictions, the medical community, and other stakeholders to address community health improvement.

“This is a tool for everybody from the Governor’s office to the person at home on their phone who just wants to know more about their community” said VDH Community Health Improvement Trainer Breanne Forbes.

She said it will best serve local health departments and hospitals, but could also help those writing grants, lawmakers, libraries or anyone who needs a community assessment.

Dr. Ethlyn McQueen Gibson sits on several community health advisories and works with the American Heart Association and the Hampton University School of Nursing.

We asked her opinion on the new tool. She said, “it was a little busy at first – for me – but the great thing that I found is that it gave me some great information.”

She typed in “Hampton” and found useful information on the uninsured. “When I put in the information, it gave me a great bar graph which I wasn’t able to find before,” she said.

She said she can use that information to show her students why the work they are doing with COVID vaccine clinics at local Black churches is important.