New Jersey Health Initiatives - A Better State of Health
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program
Better Housing, Better Health

Trenton’s rich history is reflected in its housing stock, but the potential for value is undermined by health risks such as lead paint, asthma triggers, and other consequences of neglect and age. 

Poor housing conditions can lead to negative health effects, and often, carry a high social and economic cost for communities, families, and, especially, children.

Developing and implementing a process to accelerate action on this urgent upstream health issue is the goal of Trenton Health Team’s (THT) innovative data analysis partnership with Isles, Inc., an established community development and environmental organization providing “healthy home” assessment and remediation. 

The Trenton Health Team operates the Trenton Health Information Exchange (HIE) containing clinical records for more than 600,000 patients. Working with Isles, we are comparing clusters of health problems such as asthma and high lead levels highlighted via the HIE with Isles’ maps identifying housing conditions across the city.

This innovative data analysis will pinpoint geographic locations in our city where substandard housing stock and high rates of asthma and/or lead contamination converge, enabling targeted interventions to improve health and well-being for Trenton families.

Integrating information from these different sources, which requires combining housing data compiled by address with health information by patient, can be challenging. THT is exploring ways to compile the information while adhering to health information privacy laws. 

In addition, THT will convene community partners to consider developing a universal lead treatment protocol, update education materials, and standardize how lead screening data is added to the HIE. Our shared goal is a more effective, more efficient process to direct community resources to address underlying causes of health problems. This work addresses an urgent need in our community while also modeling a collaborative, data-driven approach to providing a healthy living environment for all Trenton children and families.

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Project
Author
Michelle Ruess
Organization
Trenton Health Team