Radio: Using new technology and data collection for the public good (Foodborne Chicago)

Today I did a segment on WBEZ Morning Shift on Foodborne Chicago.

Social media and Web traffic is more than an easy way to track our daily distractions. Researchers are using that data to find cases of illness. A new study from Boston Children’s Hospital claims that visits to Wikipedia are a faster indicator of flu outbreaks than a public health agency is able to provide. Closer to home, an app lists incidents of food borne illness, allowing other consumers to see what dining spots are best to avoid. We talk to the researchers and analysts behind the data to learn how this information can improve public wellness.

Here’s a download of the spot:

News: Foodborne Chicago Turns One

Nice ref here: One Year After Launch, Foodborne Chicago Continues to Enhance Food Safety
City’s online food reporting app turns one

Foodborne Chicago identifies public tweets from residents and visitors about food poisoning, then replies privately, providing assistance for the individual to file an online complaint through 311. An alert is then sent automatically to CDPH’s Food Protection Program, which investigates the complaint and updates any actions through Chicago’s 311 Service Tracker.

Last year, Foodborne Chicago classified over 2,600 tweets related to food poisoning in Chicago which led to 233 food poisoning reports submitted to CDPH. From those reports an additional 150 restaurant and food service inspections occurred.


Foodborne Chicago was created by Smart Chicago and civic tech developers in partnership with CDPH. More information on Foodborne Chicago is available at and on Twitter at @Foodbornechi.

Presentation: The Evolution of Open Data at NNIP

Today I participated in a session at the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership Meeting in St. Louis that focused on helping local partners consider how their organizations can work with governmental and non-governmental advocates and practitioners of open data.

From the dais
From the dais

Y some video:

D2 D Open Data Part 1 H.264 from NNIP on Vimeo.

D2 E Open Data Part 2 H.264 from NNIP on Vimeo.

News: State’s Top Doc Announces Illinois Public Health Datapalooza Challenge Winner

Today I was part of the announcement of the winners of the Illinois Public Health Datapalooza App Challenge. Here’s how they describe it:

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck recently announced the winners of the Illinois Public Health Datapalooza App Challenge. The challenge was designed to highlight the availability and benefit of having open (readily accessible) health data from government agencies. Teams built apps or maps that provided the best use of health data in solving a problem faced by health care communities in Illinois. The challenge was announced at the first statewide Illinois Public Health Datapalooza held in November 2013, an event that brought together experts from technology and health care sectors to show how health data can be put to work in Illinois and other states.

And here’s a snip:

HealthNear.Me delivers on the promise of open data – it takes raw information, provided by Illinois state agencies, and makes it usable for all Illinois residents.” said Smart Chicago Collaborative Executive Director Dan O’Neil.