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An Interactive Dashboard for Exploring and Addressing Barriers to Health in Rural Virginia

A partnership between the Extension Foundation, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the Virginia Department of Health.

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Rural counties often face challenges in providing health care access to its residents given few health facilities available, lack of broadband infrastructure that limits providing telemedicine access, and inequalities that pose barriers to health care access and use.  Identifying areas of high need can also be difficult for rural areas without adequate resources to acquire, analyze, and interpret relevant data.  Our Extension Foundation project addressed this gap, leveraging social and data science to construct a dashboard that can enhance data-driven health access decision-making in rural Virginia counties.

Information available through the portal can help Extension professionals better understand where underserved populations live and how to advocate on their behalf.  Local stakeholders can use the dashboard to identify broadband access gaps that limit access to telemedicine, grocery store access gaps, and areas with high proportions of older adults in poor health.  It can suggest optimal locations for placing free wifi hotspots, providing grocery delivery services, devising mobile health unit routes, and inform other solutions that could benefit communities.

In this webinar, we will:

  1. Outline our community learning through data-driven discovery process and partnership that made this project possible.
  2. Showcase the interactive dashboard and its features for Extension professionals and local stakeholders.
  3. Provide hands-on time for participants to explore the dashboard.
  4. Discuss use of the dashboard for community improvement.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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