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The Power of Data Sharing for the Benefit of Public Health

VIA LINK in New Orleans, LA, winner of the 2022 AIRS Innovation Award in Disaster preparedness, is an active example of a true public health partner and community leader. This organization cultivates deep and mutually beneficial relationships with local community partners through data sharing that directly benefits the community. While the dashboards aren’t all encompassing, VIA LINK is publishing 10 years of data to include dashboards concerning COVID-19, caller demographics, and caller needs. During natural disasters, the state of Louisiana contracts with the 211 system to act as its official source of information and assistance for residents.

These kinds of strong trusting relationships can only come from an organization that has a history of providing accurate and up-to-date information to community partners. During the COVID-19 pandemic, VIA LINK’s 211 data was used to determine where to put mobile testing sites based on caller data. As VIA LINK continues their work providing resource information and referrals to the residents, community partners, and state officials of Louisiana, their data is being used to inform policy, address community health concerns, and care coordination.

As part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Grant, VIA LINK is enhancing its data sharing with its health partners by providing a deeper analysis of their data to inform public health initiatives and policy advocacy in their communities. With a resource database of over 4,000 organizations in Louisiana that provide a wide range of services that are uploaded to the National Data Platform, VIA LINK is 1 of 7 of the region’s most comprehensive sources of information for social services and resources in the state of Louisiana and they anticipate to further their work and reach in the community.

The American Public Health Association states that true public health is “organized and holistic efforts to improve policy, education and access to make the healthiest choice the easiest choice for everyone.” Using their data to inform access to resources, health information, disaster preparedness and policy, VIA LINK is providing a holistic approach to public health through shared information and well put together data dashboards.

You can view VIA LINK’s community Dashboards HERE and learn more about their partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Public Health around their opioid crisis text line HERE.

VIA LINK serves as part of the Louisiana 211 statewide network, to learn more about Louisiana 211 please visit