The Institute for Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of Texas

The Institute for Health Policy (IHP), based in the School of Public Health at The University of Texas, contributes to improving public health by developing creative ways to bridge the gap between scientific research, practical programmes and policy solutions. The IHP brings its technical expertise and non-partisan analysis to health policy issues, with special focus on the Texas and the Texas-Mexico border areas.

The Institute for Health Policy was established at The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston to assist researchers throughout the UT Health Science Center in translating their technical findings into usable advice for program administrators and practical recommendations for health policymakers.


The Institute aims to disseminate health data in a user-friendly way and will be involved in ensuring the results of the recent 2010 Health of Houston survey are available throughout the state. This is the first year of the survey which is based on the California Health Interview Survey – the largest state health survey in the United States. The survey is used by state policy makers to improve the public health in California.

We interviewed Thomas Reynolds, research associate at IHP. He represents the team at the IHP who are all involved in using data presentation software. Thomas’ experience includes the application of geographical information systems technologies and he has been involved in de­veloping several web-based local and regional health data query and dissemina­tion systems.

The team at The Institute for Health Policy works as a catalyst for converting academic research into recommendations for more effective public health policy and better healthcare. The team also hopes to foster more productive exchanges between the worlds of academic research and of public health problems and policy concerns.

Thomas explains that the Health of Houston survey will run biennially and will be able to provide longitudinal analysis of health data across the Houston Metropolitan Area. Although the main data set is not currently available, the IHP has been using interactive data presentation software with existing vital statistics data. The Behavioural Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) is one example where InstantAtlas is being used to present data in an interactive online format. The images below [bottom left] highlight these reports which are currently being used for the University’s Applications of GIS in Epidemiology course.

InstantAtlas Double Map dynamic report - Houston Community BRFSS Indicator Comparison | Map 1 "Access to care > Unable to care" Date period 2004-2007 | Map 2 "Reported health > Fair to poor health" Date period 2004-2007






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Introduction to InstantAtlas Templates (English)

Video Summary text for Essentials #1

Welcome to an overview to the templates available with InstantAtlas.

InstantAtlas Templates come in 6 main variants:

Single Map

  • Most commonly used
  • 1 map, table, bar chart, time series chart, pie chart
  • Ideal for time series and comparing of different geography features

Double Map

  • 2 maps, same geography
  • Table
  • No bar chart, time series chart, pie chart, BUT:
  • Scatter plot to see how different indicators correlate to each other

Double Map Time Series

  • 2 maps, different  geographies
  • 2 tables, bar charts, time series chart, pie charts (one for each map)
  • Like 2 single map reports in one

Area Profile

  • See all indicator values for one area in a profile
  • Different configurations:

Spine Chart – Horizontal bars showing differences to e.g. national value

Performance Result – horizontal bars are superimposed over shaded ranges indicating the performance of the geographic feature

Radar Chart – all indicators for all themes or all indicators of current theme

– same scale for all indicators

– as higher the value as further away id dot from the centre

CHP – created as custom template for Association of Public Health Observatory

– very similar to Performance Results

– tailored to match the requirements of the client which are:

o   Different columns

o   3 grey shaded areas representing national quartiles

o   National value always centre aligned

  • All these configurations allow selecting of more than one area for comparison

Election Results

  • Mapping results of elections based on winning parties
  • Table with results by area
  • Table with overall results
  • Horizontal bar chart showing area-by-area details and breakdown of results for each candidate in that area
  • Designed for multiple candidates representing different parties
  • Can support one or more winning candidates per area

Bubble Plot

  • Very flexible
  • Bubble Chart can plot up to 4 variables simultaneously (x, y, size, colour)
  • Different configurations:

Bubble-Advanced – 4 variables are 4 indicators which can be changed by end-user

Bubble Simple – also up to 4 variables but end-user can only change 1

– Other 3 are pre-defined by administrator

Scatterplot –  3 variables are 3 indicators (x, y, colour)

– end-user can change them

– bubbles to points

Funnel Plot – see how areas differ from an average or target

– scatterplot with confidence limits superimposed

– which observations are significantly different from average or target

Introduction to InstantAtlas Templates (Spanish)

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston – Copyright This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

2 thoughts on “The Institute for Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of Texas

  1. Pingback: El Instituto de Política Sanitaria, La Escuela de Salud Pública, Universidad de Texas « Software para analizar y visualizar datos | InstantAtlas

  2. Pingback: The Institute for Health Policy, School of Public Health … medical university

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