On September 28, 2017, Community Health Maps (CHM) was presented to the Community Health class at the University of Maryland School of Public Health in College Park. The session was provided by Julian Argoti, research assistant at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and three University of Maryland Public Health interns completing their capstone project at the NLM. The primary goal was to expose the students to the resource and to help them explore how it might be used in their research.
The presentation took place within a 95-minute class period with 53 students. The presenters introduced the CHM blog and briefly touched on using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)/spatial analysis to address a public health concerns, as English physician John Snow did in 1854 by mapping the source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London, and as a former NLM intern did by mapping local curb ramps to help those with mobility issues cross streets safely.
The students then completed a hands-on data collection exercise. They were introduced to Fulcrum, a low cost tool that allows users to build custom data collection forms for use on iOS or Android devices. Next, they left the classroom to collect data in real time, from the locations of trashcans and water fountains inside buildings to the positions of benches and signs outside them.
The session ended with the students exploring a series of exercises designed to help them through the entire CHM workflow, from field data collection to online data presentation. A post-class survey indicated that most participants felt they could use CHM in upcoming assignments.