Today, at the 138th Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), Dr. Howard Koh, our Assistant Secretary for Health, and I joined a distinguished group of health leaders for a discussion about the new “Leading Health Indicators” for Healthy People 2020 – a set of 12 categories that capture 26 key measures of health from our Healthy People 2020 collection of health measures.  Through these Leading Health Indicator (LHI) measures, communities can identify vital health issues and track how they are doing compared to other communities.  Good measures and good data are essential to making progress to improve health.

These Leading Health Indicators help track access to health care, rates of health conditions, environmental factors contributing to health problems, and more.  They place a focused set of parameters in the hands of policy makers, researchers, and the public – metrics that can help capture status, important trends and progress and support effective decision making and action.

We’re launching a new application development challenge to bring technology innovators and public health mavens together to develop tools that can be used to help communities apply the power of the Leading Health Indicators to improve health.  Some of you may recall that last year at this time, we held a very successful app development challenge focused on the use of the Healthy People 2020 indicators.  Building on that experience, we’d like to see tech and health innovators work together to leverage the Leading Health Indicators to help communities understand and take on the issues of greatest importance to them.

I encourage you to form your team today to answer the LHI Apps Challenge – you can find out more about this competition at www.challenge.gov or visit the Healthy People 2020 site at www.healthypeople.gov.  Very much looking forward to seeing what innovators dream up and put together!

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