Just Read: S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C.

Ironically, CBS-WUSA-Channel 9 new anchorman Bruce Johnson told me years later that a lot of the media professionals were going through the same issues that I was going through with drinks, drugs, alcohol and women. – Marion Barry, Mayor for Life

This is the story of one of those people, The Washington Post’s Ruben Castaneda (@RCastanedaWP), who was himself addicted to crack while he was covering the crack addiction of Washington, DC.

Drugs that consumed people, not the other way around

Ruben’s book, Barry’s book, and even Janet Mock’s book (see: Just Read: Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood – memoir of a young trans woman) portray the lives of 3 different people, in different parts of society, all touched by the cocaine and death epidemic in the late 20th Century. It’s hard to believe they didn’t know each other, they are so connected.

In Castaneda’s and Barry’s case, the very thing they were working to stop they were promoting at the same time. Is it lack of individual control, or is it greater social determinants and community conditions out of a person’s control? What happens when a community already without a strong foundation is flooded with an addictive substance? It didn’t seem to leave anyone untouched, including the President of the United States and the infamous Lafayette Park incident.

The Post had gone into overdrive after the Barry bust . Reporters were assigned to keep an eye on the disgraced mayor or his house around the clock. My colleagues downed coffee to make it through their late-night Barry watches, but when it was my turn, I took a couple of hits of crack . The irony of riding a crack high while conducting surveillance on a mayor who’d been busted for possessing the same substance was lost on me.

Castaneda, Ruben (2014-07-01). S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C. (p. 4). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.

What caused the violence spiral to end? It’s unclear.

S Street slingers

Castaneda takes us through the S-Street Northwest of the 1990’s, destroyed once in the 1968 riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and again by drugs and murder. S Street and 7th is just 1.5 miles away from the White House and downtown Washington, DC. If you visited Washington, DC in your youth (the most common way people seem to experience it), you wouldn’t believe that just a 20 minute walk away from the majesty of our monuments are a people struggling to live. Actually, that’s still the case today, you just walk in a different direction.

The BBC did a great job putting together a show about Ruben’s work and Washington, DC, which is a good summary, as well as heartbreaking.

Since I am an afficionado of all things in the district, I took the time to visit some of the places mentioned in the book, including the most notorious open air drug markets in the city. Some of them are just blocks away from the current Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health. One of them is adorned with a very large Kaiser Permanente billboard:

Compare the Hanover Place of today to 1984

How did it all end?

I can’t seem to find a good explanation as to how/why the drug wars as they are called ended. Was it because of increased law enforcement? Did the drugs consume enough people that the demand subsdided? Did economic development make a difference? There’s an interesting analysis here from 1999: Cracked up – Salon.com.

Really makes you think about social determinants of health.

The fact is that the murder rate in Washington, DC is down, but it is still significantly higher per capita than New York City, by a factor of 4 (Homicides remain steady in District, Prince George’s – The Washington Post), and we still live in something of a divided city (“New Maps of DC health data – Not yet one culture of health”).

I remember

Just as I once took a wrong turn into Janet Mock’s neighborhood in the early 90’s, I also did a student rotation in Washington, DC in 1995. It was true, walking even 2 feet east of 16th Street Northwest was like walking into a different world. It it is an interesting feeling to walk in the neighborhoods today that were the places that no one would dare go. It’s…. a feeling of respect and honor for our nation’s capital, which is hard to explain.

If you love Washington, DC, or need a reminder of where our cities came from, I highly recommend this book. There’s so many amazing stories about people brought together with little to no hope, in a place that should be overflowing with it.

Neighborhoods that are less comfortable places still exist; it is our challenge today to not wait until they are safe enough for us to spread health.

Just Read: In DC, there’s up to a 14 year life expectancy gap between blacks and whites that hasn’t changed in 15 years

The life expectancy of a black male in Washington, DC as of 2009 is the same as a man in North Korea as of 2012. For a white male, the life expectancy is higher than Israel, lower than Switzerland.

Sources: World Health Organization; Harper S, MacLehose RF, Kaufman JS. Trends In The Black-White Life Expectancy Gap Among US States, 1990-2009. Health Aff. (Millwood). 2014;33(8):1375–82. View Life Expectancy World and DC – Male – 46576 on Flickr.com

The life expectancy of black females in Washington, DC as of 2009 is in between The Russian Federation and Syria or Iran as of 2012. It’s higher than North Korea, which is 73 years. For white females in Washington, DC, it’s just below the highest life expectancy in the world, Japan.

Sources: World Health Organization; Harper S, MacLehose RF, Kaufman JS. Trends In The Black-White Life Expectancy Gap Among US States, 1990-2009. Health Aff. (Millwood). 2014;33(8):1375–82. View Life Expectancy World and DC – Female – 46577 on Flickr.com


This article caught my eye because of my recent trip to Anacostia, in Washington DC’s Ward 8, where health disparities are extremely tangible (underscore): The People of Washington, DC’s Anacostia are Building a Culture of Health | Ted Eytan, MD

They are not just tangible in Anacostia, they’re visible on my walk to work through the city, where I pass through about 8 years of life expectancy. Just do a search of “#activetransportation” on my Twitter feed to see photos of what this looks like; it’s obvious.

This paper, published in this month’s Health Affairs (Harper S, MacLehose RF, Kaufman JS. Trends In The Black-White Life Expectancy Gap Among US States, 1990-2009. Health Aff. (Millwood). 2014;33(8):1375–82) is an analysis of the disparity in life expectancy between whites and blacks in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, using census data.

It confirms what I see on my walk to work, and adds another piece of data that I don’t see, which is that this disparity has continued, unchanged, for the last 15 years:

The estimated state-specific racial gap in life expectancy among males in 1990 ranged from 14.4 years (95% CI: 13.3, 15.4) in the District of Columbia to 0.0 years (95% CI: −5.2, 5.3)

For females, the District of Columbia and New Hampshire also had the largest (10.4 years; 95% CI: 9.5, 11.2) and smallest (1.2 years; 95% CI: −3.9, 6.2) gaps, respectively, in 1990. In 2009, despite overall improvement at the national level, the enormous racial gap in the District of Columbia remained almost completely unchanged for both males (+0.4 years; 95% CI: −1.1, 1.8) and females (+0.2 years; 95% CI: −1.1, 1.6). Life expectancy there remained dramatically more unequal than in every other state.

And then if you compare the change in life expectancy for women (men show the same trend), it’s been constantly disparate since 1990.

And then there was New York

New York State has shown a different trajectory, as you can see from this chart. There has been a massive upgrade in life expectancy for black men and women compared to their white counterparts, narrowing the gap the greatest.

The largest decrease in the gap for males occurred in New York (−5.6 years; 95% CI: −6.0, −5.1), largely because of a dramatic increase in black life expectancy, from 63.9 years to 75.4 years. This was a gain of 11.5 years; the national average gain was 6.5 years.

I’ve written about this previously (New Yorkers Living Longer Than Ever, Outpacing National Trend, a look at the data | Ted Eytan, MD). It’s real. And since I’ve written about it, a review of what happened in New York has been published just this year (Preston SH, Elo IT. Anatomy of a Municipal Triumph: New York City’s Upsurge in Life Expectancy. Popul. Dev. Rev. 2013). A lot of New York’s success has come from identification and treatment of HIV, as well as the same for drug and alcohol related injury/death. It’s worth a read for sure.

Our cities are changing, we just need to make the change happen for all

A few more really important DC datapoints:

  1. Population in 1950: 802,178
  2. Population in 1990: 606,900, 70 % black
  3. Population in 2010: 601,723, 50 % black
  4. Population in 2013: 646,449

In this map you can see where the black and white population live. The green color represents black residents, the blue represents white residents:

You can grab and manipulate this map yourself at the continually awesome CommunityCommons.org (@CommunityCommon)

I cross the “dividing line” in the middle when I walk to work. Ward 8 (Anacostia) is in the lower right. Every other map you could draw, from bikeshare rentals to income to education is going to show the same disparity. With this visual, it’s not hard to tell why an “enormous” disparity still exists between black and white people.

I still see proclamations of Washington, DC as the “third thinnest” state, which badly misrepresents the huge disparities here and harms our ability to understand the health of our community.

Why this is not good

There is good news, which is that life expectancy for both black and white men and women has increased in Washington, DC (by 4+ years for both black and white women, by 8+ years for black and white men).

A significant inequality still exists and that’s a problem. This means that the opportunity of black men and women to achieve their life goals starting with a long life is blunted compared to white men and women.

Diversity brings with it a torrent of innovation. If this trend does not change, we’ll learn less every day, and enjoy our community and the world a lot less. And why would we want to do that?

We share our community with incredible leaders who don’t support the status quo:

I’m with Ruby. We are going to change everything 🙂 .

Permission to reproduce the images courtesy Health Affairs (@Health_Affairs)

The People of Washington, DC’s Anacostia are Building a Culture of Health

The last time I was in Anacostia, Ward 8 of Washington, DC, was almost exactly 2 years ago (!) when I walked with Kait Roe (@Fuse_Kait) and Pierre Vigilance, MD (@PierreVigilance) (see: My #walkwithadoc and patient, exploring the determinants of health in Washington, DC Ward 8 | Ted Eytan, MD). Well actually, I was *near* Anacostia when I walked the future 11th Street bridge (@DCBridgePark) (Photo Friday: Walk With a Doc over a future, beautiful park over water, in Washington, DC, USA | Ted Eytan, MD).

On the ride back to much-less-obese Ward 2 in 2012, I remember asking Pierre about the determinants of the social determinants of health in Ward 8. If people didn’t want to die any earlier in Ward 8 than in Ward 2, how did they want to live? There was so much in the media about dog parks, bike lanes, and food deserts at the time, what was the answer?

It’s now 2 years later, and this time, I didn’t go to Anacostia to go see Anacostia, I was invited, along with my friend Lane (@tlanehudson), to meet Khadijah Tribble (@tribbleme), who is a person who lives in Anacostia. We chatted in the brand newish NURISH Anacostia (@NurishAnacostia) cafe, one of only 3 sit down restaurants in the Ward, one of which has a sign on the door that says, “Please have your shirts on.”

Khadijah used to be over 300 pounds. She’s now at 208 and she let us know that she’s working to create a culture of health in Anacostia, because when she looked for one, it wasn’t there.

“Culture of Health” were her exact words – she said she picked the phrase up from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s newest initiative. Hey I know some people that know a little something about that @RWJF :).

The Maps

Thanks to the still awesome Community Commons platform (@CommunityCommon) I ran some maps of Washington, DC with data on food access, poverty, and high school education. Poverty plus high school education gives you a vulnerability index.

It doesn’t matter which map you look at, you can tell which parts of the city are most in need. The Northwest part of Washington, DC is the least obese, has the greatest income gradient, lowest poverty rate, highest educational attainment, highest access to healthy food. The Southeast part of the city, across the river, where Ward 8 is, the opposite:

The county level obesity data is not useful, as you can tell, and actually tends toward being harmful, because it implies that Washington, DC is in the top quartile of obesity status and that there isn’t a problem. I’ve explored this in a previous blog post – you have to look at sub-county level data (Do national numbers inaccurately represent Washington, DC’s obesity condition? what electronic and personal health records can do to help | Ted Eytan, MD). There is a problem. There are impressive disparities in this city.

I ran a comparison of San Francisco, CA on the food access data, which shows that even the less vulnerable parts of Washington, DC are more challenged in food access than in San Francisco.

The Walk

Khadijah took us on a walk down Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave SE, past “The other U Street” (Southeast, we inhabit U Street NW, which a generation ago was strikingly deprived itself). We passed the largest chair ever made (“The Big Chair”), rededicated as a sign of hope for this community in 2006. The convenience store that I visited in 2012 didn’t seem to be open this time.

I took photos. See if these images are the signs of a healthy community:

I was so lucky that I got to meet The Advoc8te (@TheAdvoc8te), fellow blog writer of the I’ve-been-following Congress Heights on the Rise Blog. She’s in the photo with myself and Khadijah. It was a cool moment for me 🙂 . I also got to meet Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick (@askdrfitz), who’s currently enrolled at the Harvard Kennedy School mid-summer program.

The Culture (of Health)

Lisa and Khadijah are part of (founded?) The Community Wellness Collective (@comemovenlearn) which is based at the Anacostia Arts Center (@AnacostiaArts), where NURISH is also housed. So where I left Ward 8 2 years ago with a lot of questions, this time I left with a lot of ideas, that are not from me. Those are the best kinds of ideas.

As Khadijah explained, there isn’t yet a sense of “comfort” for women in the community who want to exercise. A lot of messaging (and the assumptions that go along with them) are not appropriate for this audience. Here’s a great example of that: How Low-Income Commuters View Cycling – CityLab. People don’t know how to use health services well, and they don’t know how to shop healthy within their immediate environment, based on what’s available. These add up to challenges that need to be solved at many different levels, because as the data shows, there are large disparities.

The Community Wellness Collective is working toward this, with exercise classes and food instruction. I hope to attend some of these, because all I know is that I don’t know about what’s needed.

Our Cities are Changing

The new Ward 8 7-11 looks a whole lot like this Ward 2 7-11 from 2012, and that’s a healthy thing View on Flickr.com

I just noticed this post on CHOTR: Congress Heights on the Rise: Anacostia welcomes it’s 1st national retailer to the neighborhood!, which is about the first 7-11 opening up in Ward 8. And guess what. The photographs of the Ward 8 7-11 show a similarity to the photographs I took of the Ward 2 7-11 in 2012, right down to the fresh fruits and vegetables..

She writes:

As we were exiting I noticed that several discount stores on Good Hope Rd had undertaken a little upgrade of their own. The shop directly across from 7-11 was sporting some freshly cleaned windows (possibly a first in the 6 years I’ve been in the neighborhood) and a newly organized window display. It seems consumers aren’t the only ones taking notice of the new kid on the block. 😉 Here is to hoping the upgrades continue.

I came to Anacostia for the same reason my generation came to health care – we are not satisfied with the status quo, we love the places that we live in, and we’re here to change everything. Yes, here is to hoping the upgrades continue, because, to quote community leader Ruby Corado (@CasaRubyDC):

Photo Friday: Total Health includes Green Building, @USGBC Headquaters

Left to right: Kelly Worden, MPH(c), Ted Eytan, MD, Matt Trowbridge, MD, Robin Dilworth, Chris Pyke, PhD (@chrispyke) View US Green Building Council Tour 38627 on Flickr.com

When my colleague Robin Dilworth and I walked into US Green Building Council (@USGBC) world headquarters, she said, “this feels like such a healthy work environment,” to which I responded, “Of all places, it better be…” And of course, it is.

The headquarters of US Green Building Council is LEED Platinum certified. What we learned, though, is that there is not one way to be LEED Platinum, and about all the different ways USGBC helps people and organizations build green, for the health of humans, which are the most precious asset in a building (we agree!).

Green building is important to Kaiser Permanente: Kaiser Permanente Share | Kaiser Permanente to Pursue Minimum of LEED Gold for all New Major Projects

The rest of my photos are below. USGBC offers regular tours, which helps educate people like us about the value of intentional, healthy design. Note that new dynamic LEED plaque they are developing…

Just Filmed: Center for Total Health Tech Focus – Connecting Social Care and Medical Care

Lights, Camera, let’s talk about social care and medical care…View on Flickr.com

I’ve written previously that as much as we feel our health is as threatened today, at the same time, our cities are changing to become healthier (check out these posts for proof). Our health care system is doing the same (it’s true!). 

About two years ago (!) I wrote this post, with some optimism: Exploring Health Care’s blind side with RWJF, AAMC, and TEDMED – its vision is improving | Ted Eytan, MD, and now here we are and things are happening.

At the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health (@KPTotalHealth) we love highlighting technology that improves not just personal health but social determinants too. With that in mind, here’s our broadcast from last week, featuring Health Leads (@healthleadsusa), Healthify (@healthifyUS), excellent physician Tom Tesoriero, MD, from Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center, and acting pre-legend Erin Meade (@erinm81) illustrating the reality, and looking at the future. Keith Montgomery (@kmontgomeryndc) is our host (and producer, and director… he teaches me fancy words like “blocking” and “desk read”), and special pop-in visit from Jennifer Christian-Herman, PhD, from Kaiser Permanente Healthworks. A doctor is delighted to know that their health system is looking at many solutions for the social needs of our members 🙂

You can read more about this session at the Center for Total Health blog: The Next Total Health Focus at CTH: Connecting Patients & Social Support for Better Health | Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.

I’m including some photos from the shoot at the bottom of the post. Behind the scenes we interacted with a dedicated group of people, clincians, technologists, and social innovators. I have been saying lately that we are a social innovation center. See what you think, comments welcome.

Action Design, the CFPB, and producing financial health for people

As it was relayed to me by another attendee, Action Design DC (@actiondesignDC) is the prototype for the high engagement meetup group. It’s got close to 1,000 members. We, in the gallery, postulated that this is because it has achieved that just-right intersection of a topic that is cross-discipline, cross-industry, with opportunities to learn from the superstar people and organizations who are doing great things in the field, in this, America’s most social city.

From the brand new Action Design DC website, action design as defined as:

build(ing) products that are effective at helping people take action and change their own behavior. A product designed with action design in mind might help its users accomplish goals that they haven’t been able to achieve before…

I come to this conversation looking for analogies to health and health care, and of course I find dozens, every 10 minutes…

As last week’s event, our presenters were Peter Jackson, Director of the Office of Consumer Engagement (photo – CFPB has a flickr stream, hooray!), and Margaret (Maggie) Anderson (blog posts on cfpb website), from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (@CFPB) who spoke about the design of what I would call “healthy choice architecture” for people buying homes. As you’ll see in the slide deck and video below, the prototype for health was described by Peter as a scene from the Golden Girls, with people sitting down (or walking…) at their kitchen table, making informed choices about their finances together.

Peter told the information asymmetry story for buying a home, which is the moment when a person is signing the stack of documents with the keys to their dwelling sitting on the other side of the table from them.

I was thinking:

  • do these stories happen in health care? (they do)
  • don’t we want a better approach like this for health care, too? (we do)
  • is this approach happening anywhere in health care? (yes)
  • does the CFPB’s work support overall health, not just financial health? (yes)

The “where this is happening” is over at Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, where our consumerista, Lygeia Ricciardi (@lygeia) is supporting access to machine and human readable versions of a person’s health record, also known as….. blue button

Both of these are examples of smart disclosure, which I have written about here previously: Now Reading: Smart Disclosure, Behavior Change, The Green Button | Ted Eytan, MD. By itself, the formatting of data is not enough, it’s the design of the use of the data that matters, and you’ll see in the video below that CFPB has partnered with IDEO to create user stories around people using data effectively to make healthy decisions. And of course, there’s yet another analogy to health care, as the Kaiser Permanente Innovation Consultancy (@kpinnovation) and Innovation Learning Network (@healthcareILN) brings IDEO experience in all of its human-centered design goodness in health care.

Given that the Innovation Learning Network’s next in person meeting will be in Washington, DC in May, 2014, I think it’s worth a visit for that group to see action design in action in financial services…:)

Thanks to Steve Wendel (@sawendel) and the Action Design DC (@actiondesigndc) team for creating connections between science and practice in behavior change and between its practitioners in our nation’s capital. We’re all in a place where we believe that everything is possible, because it is.

Action Design DC: 14 Jan 2014 Peter Jackson, CFPB Speaks on Mortgages and Complex User Decisions from HelloWallet on Vimeo.

The Next Total Health Focus at CTH: Connecting Patients & Social Support for Better Health | Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health

The Next Total Health Focus at Center for Total Health: Connecting Patients & Social Support for Better Health | Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.

Our January 23 event will feature Healthify and Health Leads, two organizations with innovative models that help people with unmet social needs connect to available community services.  Join us for a discussion on how clinicians can be part of a health system solution.

From mHealth to Sustainable mobility : DC Transportation Techies Meetup

My colleague Connie Chen, MD (@ConnieEChen) recently asked me while walking in Washington, DC, what kinds of conferences I go to these days, if not mhealth ones. I replied, “mobile health, but not as in cell phones, as in transportation.”

Last evening I attended a new meetup in the metropolitan Washington, DC area, “Transportation Techies” (@TechiesDC), which is

A meetup group for programmers interested in transit, biking and walking.

And… I learned that there are a lot of programmers here interested in transit, biking, & walking. My photographs are below. I’ll be honest, I understood most of the words they were using, but I wouldn’t know how to sit down and create what they’ve created, and I loved them all.

I had a blast. Data can be fun, funny, and the sociology of how it’s made available by various agencies, organizations, is fascinating to watch from outside one’s own industry. I posted photos below, and you can link to all of the awesome projects/presentations here : Metro Hack Night: Transportation Techies @ Mobility Lab – hackpad.com. One thing (among many) I love about techies is that they know how to use open tools to document.

Why Transportation and Heatlh?

Besides enjoying the presentations, I was there to pitch a special edition of this meetup, on March 6, 2014, on “Transportation and Health” (can anyone suggest a short hashtag for us?). Given all the geekery I had witnessed, I was surprised when our host, Michael Schade (@mvs202) asked the group if they were interested in health applications. Nearly all the hands went up. 

With that I launched into my pitch, which is that we recognize now that the design of our cities has as much impact on our health as our health care system does … maybe more. And that part of health is outnumbered and outspent by acute care activities in this country. Indeed, after the session, I talked to an engineer who told me that he’s been trained to create highways that allow the largest trucks to pass – potentially at the expense of community members who need to cross those roads safely. Roundabouts are being enlarged, not being made smaller, because the size of large trucks is increasing. This means potentially sickening an entire community, while an unaware health system treats the injuries/heatstroke/frostbite of those who were not able to cross safely.

We want to change that by inviting talented groups like this in to show the health system how it can understand, collaborate, and co-innovate with transportation for a healthier society. Check out the grid “Looking at the numbers,” comparing numbers of people, $, %GDP, of the food, transportation, and health industries, in my presentation below – we are industries of comparable size that are generally not working together, maybe at cross purposes. Let’s join forces!

Meetups can be healthy, too

The other thing we want to change is the meetup culture. It is great in many ways … except maybe in producing health at its events. Pizza and sugary drinks tend to be the norm, I have noticed. At the last meetup we hosted, we brought in healthy and delicious food. Let’s do the same here – a meetup about health has to be healthy, right?

We’re very excited to learn from each other, and with huge thanks to our sponsors, Kaiser Permanente Digital Technology and Operations (@kpdigitalhealth) , and Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit (@kpcommbenefit). This is important to us because health is important to us.

In addition to the twitter handles above, I highly recommend following the newest , favorite of mine: @KPGreenHC , which will update you on the health system’s drive to create healthier people on a healthy planet, together, at the same time (it can be done!).

Thanks to last night’s hosts, the nationally awesome Mobility Lab (@mobilitylabteam), and for all the attendees for their interest in inspiring us to be better doctors, nurses, staff, patients, citizens. Last night’s hashtag was “#MetroHackNight” if you’re interested in following the tweetexchange.

Mapping the Determinants of Health across the span of the future DC 11th Street Bridge Park

In preparation for tomorrow’s Walk With a Doc (and actually several docs now) (Click here to sign up & Join), I ran a few maps showing large-ish differences in the determinants of health across the future walkable span. What could/will a beautiful park connecting them do to produce health?

Let’s talk about it tomorrow, as we walk.

One problem that exists today around mapping DC is that a lot of this data is at the county level, which misrepresents DC’s health diversity, a lot ( see: Do national numbers inaccurately represent Washington, DC’s obesity condition? what electronic and personal health records can do to help | Ted Eytan, MD) – we keep getting ranked as among the “thinnest” even though there are huge differences across our city.

There’s some census tract data that’s more precise that’s available, though. Thanks again to the Community Health Needs Assessment (@CommunityCommon) platform for making it easy.

Photo and Map Friday: The Social Determinants of the NoMa Neighborhood, Washington, DC USA

Our cities are changing.

I had the best opportunity this week to capture our nation’s capital in transition, from the vantage point of the 7th floor of the brand new NPR building (see: Designing the future of work to be collaborative, and healthy: National Public Radio’s New Headquarters, Washington, DC USA | Ted Eytan, MD) . This is the view east, into the spectacularly changing NoMa neighborhood.

Looking east onto NoMa, changing rapidly View NPR Headquarters Building Tour 33148 on Flickr.com

See that curved roof in the background? That’s the former Washington, DC, Coliseum, the location of the first Beatles concert in the U.S., on February 11 1964 (see: Feb. 11 1964, the Beatles’ first concert in the United States – O Say Can You See?). Now the Uline arena, is an indoor parking lot and a graffiti canvas. However, it is about to be re-imagined, too, complete with reanactment of the first Beatles’ performance, 50 years later.

The story told by data

The NPR building happens to sit on the border of a census tract, which shows the starkest contrast in terms of social determinants of health. Note the difference in high school attainment and poverty levels on each side of North Capitol Street. Also note a relative explosion on population. You’ll see that there’s not much happening right next to the Center for Total Health (@kptotalhealth) – that’s because a large development is being built across the street from it right now – that area will turn blue soon enough.

Here’s the view looking west, instead of east. It will be important to save these images. Note the cranes in the background there, as well. That’s Mount Vernon Square. It won’t look like this for much longer.

Looking west, greater deprivation (today) View NPR Headquarters Building Tour 33133 on Flickr.com

You can access close-ups of the data here. What do you think – does this information make you want to think more broadly about health?

All maps were created at Community Commons, a great resource that’s open to the public to learn more about data and health.