MAPSCorps’ Annual Scientific Symposium Highlights Student Collected Data and Findings
MAPSCorps and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced an innovative collaboration to bring critical information about local businesses and organizations to communities across Chicago. The collaboration will enable residents to access MAPSCorps data, which provides information such as the number of food pantries or health clinics in each neighborhood, via CDPH’s Health Atlas website. This partnership marks the first time that MAPSCorps data, collected by Chicago youth, will be used by CDPH for distribution to the public. The announcement was made at MAPSCorps Annual Scientific Symposium sponsored by AT&T.
“Information is power and MAPSCorps is committed to providing communities across Chicago with quality information about community assets to support residents’ well-being,” said MAPSCorps Executive Director Andres Alvear.
MAPSCorps is a non-profit organization that provides youth from high-poverty communities with meaningful employment opportunities and hands-on STEM training through a comprehensive, technology-based community asset mapping program. Working in teams with near-peer mentors from City Colleges, the University of Chicago and other universities, MAPSCorps participants walk block by block using a smartphone-based MapApp™ to observe, collect, catalogue, and analyze data about all public-facing businesses and organizations in Chicago communities.
“Our collaboration with the Chicago Department of Public Health is a critical step towards our goal to ensure that every resident in every neighborhood in Chicago has access to the resources they need to do good, stay well and live long” said Stacy Lindau, MD, founder and president of MAPSCorps.
Since 2009, MAPSCorps has provided meaningful jobs and training to more than 900 youth. About a quarter of MAPSCorps’ workforce this year were students returning to the program, which offers a pipeline of leadership opportunities.
“Partnerships are a critical part the City's Healthy Chicago 2.0 plan. The opportunity to work with youth data scientists helps build the next generation of data stewards concerned with the health and well-being of communities,” says Dr. Julie Morita, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health Department. “We are committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of income or zip code, has accessible, quality information about health and wellness resources in their communities.”
“The collaboration will enable residents to access MAPSCorps data, which provides information such as the number of food pantries or health clinics in each neighborhood, via CDPH’s updated Health Atlas website that will launch later this year.”
The Scientific Symposium, held at Malcolm X Community College, marks the second time MAPSCorps is partnering with City Colleges, who supply several students as mentors to the high school students. Youth who participated in MAPSCorps presented their research on specific community-based topics using data and discoveries generated this summer.
The symposium, sponsored by AT&T, featured a keynote address by Dr. Julie Morita, Commissioner of the CDPH. Other speakers and presenters included Paul La Schiazza, President of AT&T Midwest, Smita Shah, CEO of Spaan Tech, Ken Fox, Chief Health Officer of Chicago Public Schools, and Doriane Miller, MD, Director of the Center for Community Health and Vitality at the University of Chicago Medicine.
“This year’s symposium is not only a culmination of the spectacular work our students have produced, but a celebration of MAPSCorps’ collaboration with CDPH, City Colleges, AT&T and our many other cherished and longstanding partners,” said MAPSCorps Executive Director Andres Alvear.
“AT&T is investing in the technology — and the people — of today and tomorrow. That is what MAPS Corps is doing, with the support of its more than 120 youth scientists and its college age mentors,” said AT&T Midwest President Paul La Schiazza. “By supporting MAPS Corps — and projects like this — AT&T is working to facilitate opportunities for success, for a better tomorrow, and for these bright young minds to change the world.”
MAPSCorps collaborates with Hyde Park-based IT company, NowPow, to enable health, human and social services organizations strategically manage critical referrals. NowPow grew out of a population health initiative led by Dr. Lindau to create sustainable solutions to social injustice.
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. The company’s signature philanthropic initiative, AT&T Aspire, drives innovation in education to promote student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $400 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) works to make Chicago a safer and healthier place by working with community partners to promote health, prevent disease, reduce environmental hazards and ensure access to health care for all Chicagoans. Visit us at www.cityofchicago.org/health to learn more about how CDPH is transforming the health of our city.
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