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AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition Releases new Data and Vulnerability Indices to Assist with COVID-19

The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health's UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, led by Dr. Ninez Ponce, releases new data to assist with COVID-19

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Date: 
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
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15.9% of adults in California have been diagnosed with asthma.

26.8% are obese.

In Los Angeles County, that number is 27.9%.

Compton? 36.4%.

Whether you’re a policymaker interested in understanding the health needs of your diverse legislative district, a community organization advocating for a healthy food program, a journalist looking to uncover factors that lead to COVID-19 risk, or a concerned citizen, AskCHIS Neighborhood Edition (NE)™ has your data needs covered. 

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), led by Dr. Ninez Ponce, has unveiled new updates to AskCHIS NE, a data dissemination and visualization platform that provides health estimates at sub-county geographic regions in California. With AskCHIS NE, you can access and visualize reliable health data at census tract, ZIP code, city, county, and legislative district levels.

Drawing upon the responses of more than 20,000 Californians interviewed each year by CHIS, AskCHIS NE covers a wide range of health topics — from chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, access to medical care and mental health services, physical activity, food insecurity, and so much more. The new update, which includes data from the 2018 CHIS, includes several new indicators that are modeled small area estimates from CHIS to our new 2018 data: adults without dental insurance, adult dental visits in the past year, adults with teeth in fair/poor condition, adults using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, and adults performing volunteer work or community service in the past year.

In addition to the new indicators, this release includes the following vulnerability indices at the census tract level only:

  • Preexisting Health Vulnerability Index: captures risk of COVID-19 infection and death due to preexisting health conditions. This index comprises six different 2016 AskCHIS NE variables: adult diabetes, obesity, heart disease, health status, psychological distress, and food insecurity. This index was featured in a recent UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge study.
  • Area Deprivation Index: based on a measure created by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It allows for rankings of neighborhoods by socioeconomic disadvantage in a region of interest.
  • Healthy Places Index: created for the Public Health Alliance of Southern California. This index combines 25 community characteristics into a single indexed score.
  • Social Vulnerability Index: created for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help public health officials and emergency response planners identify and map communities that will most likely need support before, during, and after a hazardous event.

AskCHIS NE is one of several free online tools offered by CHIS. AskCHIS™, our online health query system that allows you to quickly search for health statistics by county, region, and state, is also used by policymakers, media, community organizations, and researchers.

“Last year, more than 100,000 queries were run in AskCHIS and AskCHIS NE. That’s nearly 275 queries per day,” says Todd Hughes, director of the California Health Interview Survey. "Now, more than ever, we need access to reliable data to identify COVID-19 vulnerabilities, protect the most at-risk communities, support decision-making, and inform policy."

by Tiffany Lopes


The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, founded in 1961, is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research, training future leaders and health professionals from diverse backgrounds, translating research into policy and practice, and serving our local communities and the communities of the nation and the world. The school has 631 students from 26 nations engaged in carrying out the vision of building healthy futures in greater Los Angeles, California, the nation and the world.