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The UDS Mapper.

The UDS Mapper was developed by HRSA, John Snow, Inc., and the Robert Graham Center to display the geographic reach, extensiveness and penetration of the Health Center Program. Although it may require practice and tutorial, the Mapper is an excellent tool that can display in map format the UDS data of a specified area. The following is a quick, introductory tutorial on using the UDS Mapper.

Anyone can sign in to become a user of the Mapper. Once prompted for registration, the user can log on and begin the process of utilizing the Mapper on the default Map tab. You will then be asked to specify a geographic area of interest that the mapper should display. Here you can specify a state, county, zip code or a health center program grantee and select it from the drop down menu of suggestions. For this tutorial, the state of Texas will be used as an example.

The next step is to define the information (or Map Elements) to display on your map. The following are some examples of the Main Map Elements to select from: grantee penetration by low-income population, low income population not served by grantees, % poverty, % low-income and % Hispanic. It is important to note that selecting from the Main Map Elements results in data that is displayed on a color spectrum with graded values for each color. Figure 1 below displays the % of Low Income Population as a Main Map Element for the state of Texas. The darker the color is, the greater the value represented; in this case, a greater percentage of low income population.


The Mapper also includes Optional Map Elements such as grantee locations, rural health clinics, health professional shortage areas, county boundaries, and medically underserved populations. For example, adding Grantee Locations to your map results in colored dots, as shown in Figure 2 below.


There is also a way to view Health Center Program data in table format. Selecting the ZCTA Data Table tab instead of the default Map tab will prompt you to specify the ZCTA (or zip code) of interest and select it from the drop down menu. ZCTA's are Zip Code Tabulation Areas and are closely aligned with zip codes. The data will be displayed in table format, as illustrated by Figure 3 below.

How Can the Mapper be Used?

The UDS Mapper website states that possible users can include HRSA project officers, Primary Care Associations and State Primary Care Offices, Section 330 Grantees and Look-Alikes, Prospective Section 330 Grantees and Look-Alikes, Other policy makers and planners (state and local) and Staff from other types of health centers. The Mapper can also be used by researchers and students in general interested in learning more about health center demographics.

The Mapper is a tool by which to display the data collected through UDS reports across geographic space. As shown in the example above, the data can be displayed for one area of interest to learn about the patterns that exist among health center location and other demographic factors. However, the Mapper can also allow for the comparison of health center data across different states and communities. It also shows where there are deficits in health center locations. For example, in Figure 2 above, we can conclude that despite there being a significant percentage of a low-income population just southwest of central Texas, there are no grantees in the region to meet their health needs.

By Erika Garcia, Product Development and Resource Specialist, NCFH
Figure 3: Displays the ZCTA Data Table for a sample zip code.

 # of Grantees Dominant Total Income
ZCTA Serving ZCTA Grantee Population Pop

xxxxx 4 8,578 5,451

 Total # Unserved (by Penetration
 Sec 330 Grantees) of Low Penetration
ZCTA Patients Low Income Income of Total Pop

xxxxx 4,489 962 82% 52%

 % Low-Income %
ZCTA Pop Hispanic

xxxxx 66% 96%
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Author:Garcia, Erika
Publication:Migrant Health Newsline
Date:May 1, 2012
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