Conference Overview

Both academic researchers and community groups recognize the importance of data for improving health and the social, physical, and economic environments in which people live, work, and play. Useful data are central to population health in both academic and community settings. In community settings, data help identify needs, improve interventions, and measure outcomes. In academic settings, data are the heart of most empirical advancements. The Leveraging Data Symposium seeks to bring together academic and community partners to expand awareness of how each group uses data for health, identify models for mutually beneficial data collaborations, and teach practical data skills

The keynote session describes results from an academic/community data collection partnership in South Jersey. In two roundtable discussions, stakeholder experts and conference attendees interact to first identify data gaps and then discuss different models for academic/community partnerships. In a series of three workshops, conference attendees have options to gain practical skills in: retrieving and working with publicly available secondary data sets, translating academic research to community-facing documents, and GIS-mapping. In a brainstorming session, conference attendees will identify potential structural or procedural changes that might make it easier to start and maintain academic/community data partnerships. Finally, the conference will include networking time to establish or strengthen partnerships.


General registration (free event)
  • Attendance Selection

  • Additional Guests

  • Please enter a number less than or equal to 10.


Session Information

Keynote: “South Jersey Health Needs: Connections, Community and Care”  presented by Sarah Allred, PhD. Associate Professor of Psychology, Faculty Director of The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs.

Overview. Health outcomes in South Jersey are far worse, on average, than those in other parts of the state. The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers-Camden partnered with hospital systems and County Health Departments to study health needs in five South Jersey counties. Thousands of South Jersey residents and stakeholders participated through interviews, focus groups, and surveys. We all know that health behaviors like exercise and healthy eating influence our health. We found that our social behaviors – our connections with friends and communities – predict physical health in similar ways. Crucially, we learned from our research that some members of our South Jersey communities feel more isolated than others. Here we explain how connections between people and places are surprisingly strong predicters of physical and mental health.

The presentation will take approximately 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes for questions from the audience and 30 minutes for panel response. Panel participants will receive the keynote presentation several days before. Each panelist will have approximately 10 minutes to respond to the keynote (either by asking questions or in the form of comments).  Audience members will then ask questions of the keynote speaker and the panel. Panelists will be announced soon.

Following the keynote, there will be a wine and cheese reception. This will provide an opportunity for symposium participants to network.



Format: A moderator will introduce the topic (2-4 minutes) and the panelists (brief bio).  Prior to the conference, panelists will receive a list of potential questions. Panelists will be invited to contribute to question development process (but will not be expected to do so).  Moderators will ask questions of the panelists and provide guidelines on time for answers.  Audience participation is invited. Moderators should aim for approximately 20% audience time.  Panelists may prepare notes for questions, but there will be no formal presentations. Each panel will meet for approximately 90 minutes.

Panel 1: Data gaps between stakeholder communities and academics. This panel explores the types of missing data or knowledge in different stakeholder communities with the goal of thinking more strategically about how to align community and academic partnerships. Panelists will represent the spectrum of community groups, including funding agencies, hospital systems, policy makers, non-profits.  Sample questions: (1) Within your own organization or another organization, can you describe a specific time you didn’t have either (a) data you needed, or (b) analysis or interpretation of data you had? (2) Within your own organization or another organization, can you give an example of the kinds of data that would you help you do your job? (3) From your perspective, do you need help: (a) interpreting data you already have; (b) gathering new data; (c) understanding what data already exists? (4) Does your organization need help using data to: (a) decide on a course of action? (b) understand the effects of actions you have taken? (c) communicate yourselves to others? (5) From your perspective, how could an academic partner benefit you? 

Panel 2: Models of academic/community partnerships.  Academic partnerships take many different forms.  Some principally provide programmatic support for community programs (e.g. HIV-testing). Some provide practical help for communities and educational experiences for students. In others, community members and academic researchers collaborate on solving a problem or answering a research questions (e.g. CBPR). This panel explores the spectrum of academic/community partnerships and the benefits of each for both community members and academic researchers. Sample questions for roundtable participants (questions are under development) include: (1) How would you characterize your community/academic partnership? What are the roles of each partner? (2) What are the benefits to the community partner? What are the benefits to the academic partner? (3) Do you have funding? If so, from who? (4) What are the impacts, both practical (e.g. direct improvements to health, changes to policy, capacity building) and academic (e.g. peer-reviewed publications) of the partnership?  (5) How do you measure or characterize these impacts when you talk about the work (e.g. stories, statistics, white papers, number of publications etc)? (6) In what ways does the partnership help or hinder the career development of both partners? (7) What is the added value of academic/community partnerships?  (What happens as a result of these partnerships that could not happen if community partners worked alone? If academic partners worked alone?) 



Format: Workshops are 2 hours each and provide attendees with tangible skills that will advance their capacity to utilize data for population health-related research. Three workshops will be offered. If there is sufficient enrollment, multiple sessions may run concurrently, allowing people to attend at whatever time works best for their schedules.  Attendees can drop in for one or all sessions. Workshop instructors will work with conference organizers to develop the workshop and communicate (in advance) to attendees about any needed materials.

Workshop 1: GIS mapping. This workshop will explore spatial technology and how it can be used to visualize population health data. Participants will learn basic mapping skills and practice with real data. Healthy People 2020 recognizes physical environment as a social determinant of health and emphasizes a “place-based” approach. GIS mapping has become an important tool for visualizing disparities by geographic regions. Participants will practice making maps with their own data (or data provided by instructors). Participants can work on Rutgers computers or bring their own. Potential attendees will be asked in advance about their software familiarity. Potential Instructors: TBD

Workshop 2: Translating/Disseminating Scholarly Research. This workshop will train participants on making their work accessible to stakeholder communities. Often, academic research contains findings that are important for stakeholder decision-making but the findings never make it back to the stakeholder communities in forms that are useful to them. Acknowledging the need to disseminate academic research in traditional spheres, this workshop will offer strategies for dissemination so that it also reaches stakeholder communities. The workshop will be very practical in nature, with faculty encouraged to bring their own research articles to “translate”.  Potential Instructors: TBD

Workshop 3: Accessing Publicly Available Data Sets. This workshop will show participants how to access data sources relevant to population health, focusing on data specific to New Jersey and the greater Southern New Jersey Region. There are a number of data integration projects within Rutgers alone of which participants may not be aware. This workshop will introduce participants to some of these data sources and show them how to access the data. Participants will be encouraged to identify a small project to complete during the workshop. Potential instructors: TBD


Brainstorming Session: Think Big!

When: Lunch, second day

Overview: What structural, procedural, or programmatic improvements within Rutgers-Camden could improve academic/community data partnerships?

Format: During a lunch session, a facilitator/moderator will lead a brainstorming session about structural changes. We will develop a list of questions before hand to throw out to the audience to discuss at their tables.  (Some preliminary ideas: a regular course where grad students embed with community groups; a new office on campus staffed by knowledgeable student employees; a position within organizations filled with students (maybe with a faculty preceptor-type of person) on a rotating basis. What are barriers/facilitators to participation by faculty?)



Day 1: October 7
(Please note that this is a preliminary schedule and times may change slightly.)

9 am-9:45 am: Coffee & Registration

9:45 am-10:15 Welcome & Goals for day:  Sarah Allred / Jeannie Garmon

10:15 am-11:45 am:  Panel 1

11:45 am-1:00 pm: Lunch (on your own)

1:00 pm-2:30 pm: Panel 2

2:30-3:00 Break and coffee

3:00-3:10: Chancellor’s Remarks/Introduction to Keynote

3:10 pm-3:55 pm: Keynote

3:55 pm-4:30 pm: Keynote response/panel

4:30 pm-6:00 pm: Wine & Cheese Reception/Networking


Day 2: October 8

8:30 am- 9:00 am: Coffee & Continental breakfast

9:00 am-11:00 am: Workshop 1

11:00 am- 11:15 am: Break

11:15 am-1:15 pm: Workshop 2

1:15 pm- 2:30 pm: Box Lunch and Brainstorming Session

2:30 pm-4:30 pm: Workshop 3

Date & Time
October 7, 2019-October 8, 2019
9:00 am-8:00 pm

Campus Center
Campus Center
326 Penn St.
Camden, NJ

Admission Information

Mary Godleski-Cantin

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