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Achieve dashboard focuses on community needs

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City of Pensacola
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A wealth of community information is now at your fingertips.

“People were interested in this data and people wanted solutions for our community that were data-driven,” said Clair Kirchharr, associate director of the Escambia County Healthy Start Coalition and the chair of the Achieve Healthy Escarosa Data Project.

“That led to the creation of the Achieve Dashboard, (which) has existed before, mostly focused on educational indicators with Achieve Escambia. But this new dashboard is a huge community collaborative with the HAAS Center, Achieve Healthy Escarosa, and Achieve Escambia, and takes a much wider lens on different issues in the community to hopefully inspire more community action.”

“The site is focused on the key indicators that measure our community’s success or failure across five key sectors," said Nicole Gislason, executive director of the HAAS center at The University of West Florida. "Health and well-being, quality of place, education, economic vitality, and workforce and demographics”

In 2020 Achieve Healthy Escambia presented a data walk compiled by community leaders in health, education, business and public service. In putting together the new dashboard they looked for the data that would be most in-demand and asked questions about expanding it.

“What are those indicators that we are using in our professional lives that we think are important and what’s the data that we want to find out?" said Kirchherr. "That’s how we started with our original data-walk. So for this data dashboard, we are able to take that same data, updated it for (2021), but also take (the) feedback we got from that original data-walk of indicators that people felt were missing, for instance, drug and alcohol abuse. We had one or two indicators about that on the data walk and people felt that there was more we needed. And so we were able to expand that (information for the new dashboard). But really it was just a great community collaboration of what all of us in our own professional sectors, the HAAS Center with economics and Achieve Escambia with education, what we knew. The data was out there, and what we were hearing in our circles as something that people wanted to know more about.”

The Achieve Dashboard is intended to supplement other existing data dashboards and will be updated routinely and improved to meet the growing and changing needs of the community. The HAAS Center’s Nichole Gislason says she hopes people will go to the site and absorb the data that’s available in the five key areas of measurement.

“We hope that they will also explore opportunities to improve key areas. So if a thought leader in public education comes to our site and is looking to write a grant to bring more resources into our community, then she might go into the education section (and) look at how we’re doing. She’ll be able to see why does this particular measurement matter, how do we measure it collectively both at the HAAS Center and with our partners, and what call to action is linked to this particular indicator.”

The dashboard will be a continuing work in progress. Kirchharr says she would like to see the section on physical health expanded with more information, and as data from the most recent years become available, they will also be incorporated into the site. She also points out that in addition to data, there are also calls to action on these issues on the site.

“Not only ‘here’s what the data means’ but ‘here’s how we hope you’ll be able to use the data.' Pointing out organizations that we know are working on these issues, or things that people can do on an individual level. Not only do I think that is helpful for folks wanting to make a difference in our community, but again, using that feedback if you are an organization or an individual working on these issues, let us know. We’d be happy to add you to be part of that call to action and continue that growth and improvement.”

All of the information and graphics on the dashboard site are available for anyone to use. It’s all online now at achievedashboard.org.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.