Health Information and Technology

Objectives of the Center for Public Service Communications (CPSC) include:

  • Providing expertise and guidance to individuals, communities and public sector organizations using telecommunications and information technologies to improve health

Highlights of CPSC Experience

HealthReach

HealthReach is a national collaborative partnership, managed by the national Library of Medicine and coordinated by CPSC, that has created a resource of quality multilingual, multicultural public health information for those working with or providing care to individuals with limited English proficiency. Resources include:

  • Health education materials in various languages and formats (brochures, handouts, audio recordings, and videos).
  • Provider information (reports, toolkits, and fact sheets).

Special collections on women’s health, substance abuse, and mental health.HealthReach offers easy access to quality health information in many languages that healthcare providers can share with LEP individuals. HealthReach is also an important resource for health professionals and public health administrators seeking best practices and population-specific tools, such as cultural backgrounders and tips for effective use of interpreters.

HealthReach grew out of the Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) when it became apparent that the information resources in the database are useful to all new Americans and those who have limited English proficiency. RHIN was founded by the Center for Public Service Communications.  For a summary of the RHIN program, please read History of RHIN.

Mapping the Health of Communities

While access to quality health information is frequently a focus of attention in efforts to reduce health disparities in underserved communities, the ability to visualize spatial data and information has received less attention. This is in part because the historic scarcity of affordable and intuitive data collection and mapping applications. Additionally, the cost to train users, and sustain operations, has been prohibitive for communities and community-based organizations whose health budgets are already strained. This recognition has prompted the Center for Public Service Communications and its partner Bird’s Eye View, together with the National Library of Medicine (NLM), to develop the Community Health Maps (CHM) initiative.

CHM’s premise is that community-based minority health organizations, environmental health advocacy groups, as well as public health agencies are in a better position to serve their populations when they are able to collect and maintain their own data, rather than relying solely on national or state agencies, or majority-institution partners to provide data to them. CHM has dedicated a number of resources and trainings to train students, teachers, community members, and researchers to empower and utilize these resources.

The CHM approach involves using relatively low cost tablets and smartphone platforms, combined with a selection of low/no-cost applications that run on them for data collection. Data can then be analyzed and presented using low cost/open source software. These tools allow expert and novice users, with little budget resource, to implement mapping workflows. Introducing such workflows to community-based and minority public health professionals empowers users to collect, analyze, display and share their own spatial data. Importantly, many of these tools can also be used to share data collected using other programs, such as ESRI’s ArcGIS and national/state- derived databases such as CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and Public Use Data files from National Center for Health Statistics.

For additional background about this initiative visit: https://communityhealthmaps.nlm.nih.gov/?s=John+Scott or contact CPSC's John Scott at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN)

Founder and director of national initiative to provide health information to refugees and immigrants and health professionals working in the field of refugee health. Funded through competitive peer-reviewed National Library of Medicine grant and with support from the Office of Minority Health and Robert Wood Johnson

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Response and Recovery after 2010 Haiti Earthquake

Consultant to PAHO/WHO initiative to provide health information and knowledge management support to the Government of Haiti and other Health Cluster partners after the January 2010 earthquake

Hurricane Katrina Assessment

Conducted assessment of the affects of Hurricane Katrina on minority health professions schools in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Coordinator for post-Katrina disaster health information initiatives at Southern University, Xavier University and Dillard University in New Orleans and Baton Rouge

South East Asia Tsunami Disaster Health Information

Principal Investigator for assessment of need for South-East Asia regional disaster health information network, on behalf of the Emergency and Humanitarian Action division of the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia Region Office, Assessment included mission to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia

World Health Organization Worldwide HINARI Assessment (12 countries in Africa, Asia and the Americas)

Principal Investigator for HINARI program offering free access to full text online versions of 2,500 plus leading biomedical and healthcare journals to research and academic institutions, medical, dental, nursing and pharmacy schools, national governmental ministries, departments and policy units in 104 of the world's poorest countries.

After Mitch: Improving Access to Health Information in Disasters

Project Implementation Manager for Central American Disaster Health Information Network, a partnership of the Regional Disaster Information Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, the US National Library of Medicine, Pan American Health Organization/WHO and the Center for Public Service Communications: A program to improve collection and management of disaster health information in Central America.

Interactive Health Equity Atlas (iHERA) – GIS Mapping of Health Disparities

Developer and Project Manager for iHERA, a community oriented GIS initiative with pilot programs at the Seattle Indian Health Board/Urban Indian Health Institute and the Native Hawaiian health organization, Papa Ola Lokahi.

Video Medical Interpreting

Project manager for multi-institution demonstration project to develop and assess feasibility of Internet-based video interpreting systems to bridge the language and cultural gap between health care providers and patients

U.S. Congressional Working Group on Telehealth

Co-founder and coordinator of the Congressional Ad Hoc Steering Committee on Telehealth, a policy advisory group sponsored by Senators Kent Conrad, Mike Crapo, Representatives Rick Boucher and Charlie Norwood, established to advise legislators on integrating Telehealth into health care reform strategies (1993 – 2006).

Assessment of Telehealth Capabilities of Minority Health Professions Schools

Principle Investigator for assessment of health applications of telecommunications and information technology within/among minority health professions schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences

Member of IOM’s "Committee on Evaluating Telemedicine: Clinical, Economic, and Policy Issues," and contributor to Telemedicine: A Guide to Assessing Telecommunications in Health Care, published by the Institute of Medicine IOM Human Factors: Issues and Implications for Telemedicine

Working Conference on Telemedicine Policy for the National Information Infrastructure (1994) 

Coordinator and co-chair of invitational “Airlie House Conference” involving government agencies, Congress and the private sector, on behalf of the Health Information and Applications Working Group of the White House Information Infrastructure Task Force Committee on Applications & Technology

Telecommunications and Information Technologies in Support of Disaster Mental Health Services

Consultant to the Center for Mental Health Services of the Department of Health and Human Services. Developed white paper on applications of "Tele-Mental Health" to support training and delivery of disaster mental health services and to support US and Kenyan authorities response to the terrorist bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi Telemental Health in Disasters and Emergencies: 1999  and Telemental Health Projects List: 1996

Applications of Telecommunications & Information Technologies in Humanitarian Health Initiatives

Organizer and Chair of international meeting of experts on use of technologies for diagnostic support, training, disease surveillance, and physical and mental health needs in humanitarian health initiatives (Honolulu, 1998)

The Human Dimension of Telemedicine

Co-author and principal investigator of report to the Office of Rural Health Policy on human factors related to practitioner acceptance of telemedicine (1995) CPSC-Office of Rural Health Policy Human Dimensions of Telemedicine Report

Health Care and the National Information Infrastructure

Coordinator, on behalf of the Department of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, of Putting the Information Infrastructure to Work, a live interactive telecommunications demonstration of various health care applications of information technology.

Application of Telehealth to Improve Prevention &Treatment of Landmine Injuries (Ispra, Italy, July 1997)

Co-convener (with the Council of Europe) and Chair of expert meeting development of telehealth technologies to reduce landmine injuries and improve effectiveness of medical and mental health treatment of landmine victims.

USAID Hospital Partnership Program in the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union

Program and technical consultant on communications and Telemedicine to USAID New Independent States hospital partnership program established by the major hospital associations in the U.S. to mobilize teaching institutions in support of clinical and administrative exchanges with counterparts in NIS.

Center for Public Service Communications
10388 Bayside Drive
Claiborne, MD 21624 USA
Phone: 703-307-3260   Fax: 703-782-1620   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.