The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) collaborated with the Center for Spatial Data Science and School of Social Service Administration to determine how well the distribution of public spending on health and human services across Chicago’s geography matches with the distribution of needs across the city. We developed a process and diagnostic tool with CDPH to allow health system planners to connect the dots between needs assessments and service investments from their city, county, and state. With the big picture in view, health planners will have a much better baseline from which to make decisions about ongoing spending once improved service contracts data become available.
We encourage interested organizations to implement a number of important prerequisites before embarking on plans to replicate this project. It is essential to first obtain the support of the city’s or department’s leadership for tracking service investments in relationship to need. In addition, contracts data must be accessible, including contract recipient name, address of headquarters and service delivery locations, dollar amount, service type, and start and end dates. Needs data must also be accessible, whether internal or public. Other requirements for replication include familiarity with using Python code or GIS. If these prerequisites are in place, our blueprint and code documentation outline the details of the analysis.