Turning Health Data Into Information – archived webinar

Originally presented on September 10, 2010

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Presentation Slides in PDF



Humans in the modern world are awash in data. Psychologists have begun to study the effects of what has been termed “data smog”, the perpetual bombardment of facts and figures that characterizes life in the developed countries of the 21st century world. Public health professionals find themselves no less enveloped by the smog as sources of data proliferate and the pressure to access, analyze and utilize these data for planning and surveillance continues apace.

This workshop will focus on practical skills to enhance the participants’ ability to turn data into information that can inform public health planning processes. The workshop will begin with a refresher on statistical concepts and terms and progress to exploring methods for clearly presenting data to maximize informational content. A primary focus will be on techniques to graphically display data for communicating information.



Participants in this web-conference will be able to:

1. Describe the different levels of measurement
2. Describe the best type of visual displays for each type of data
3. Describe how various visual elements such as points, bars, lines, color, shape, shading can be used to effectively encode data in visual displays
4. Describe how principles from the science of cognition and perception can be utilized to effectively present data


Target Audience

IPLAN coordinators, administrators, health educators, nurses, preventionists and health promoters are encouraged to participate.



Mark Edgar, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Public Health Policy at the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) and a consultant to the Illinois Public Health Institute on issues of evaluation, assessment and planning. He received his PhD in Public Health from Saint Louis University and his master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Springfield. Past positions include senior research associate at Saint Louis University School of Public Health, Researcher at SIU School of Medicine, director of epidemiology at the Adams County Health Department and adjunct faculty at UIS and Quincy University. His research has been published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice and Public Health Reports and presented at the annual meetings of the American Public Health Association, the National Network of Public Health Institutes and Academy Health’s Public Health Systems Research Interest Group. Dr. Edgar’s teaching includes graduate, undergraduate and community-based courses and workshops in statistics, research methods, public health administration and policy, program planning, outcome measurement, and program evaluation. He has over 20 years of experience working with public health and human services programs, schools of public health, medicine and nursing, and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Most of his work has focused on assessment, evaluation, program development, and public health research in both academic and practice settings. Funding sources for Dr. Edgar’s work have included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The National Network of Public Health Institutes, the Office of Rural Health Policy and the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.