Return to Home Page Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Follow us on Youtube Rockefeller Institute of Government
Skip Navigation

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

Open Health Data Open Opportunities - Presentations and media links
(Begin Content)

Open Health Data Open Opportunities


Background about opening health data

Since President Obama’s 2009 Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government , thousands of federal data sets have been released and an infrastructure to support a health data ecosystem has grown. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched, an open data portal focused on administrative and other public use health data. State and local governments are also starting to release their data, following the principles of the federal open data directive. Policies such as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are providing financial incentives and guidance to increase the use of electronic health records, further intensifying the amount and type of personal health data collected and available. To promote the release and innovative use of open data, the Health Data Consortium brings government, nonprofit, and private sector organizations together through activities such as Health Datapalooza events and challenge programs. Professional associations such as the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers are also working to advance public health informatics and improve the capacity of state and local information infrastructures.


The workshop introduced public health researchers from across the state to newly available open health data resources. In addition, participants provided input to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) on what kinds of data for research are in demand.

Specific objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Promote academic research on health issues confronting New York State by providing researchers with information about how to access and navigate the state’s open data portals;
  • Provide the New York State Department of Health and other policy leaders with feedback on the usability of the state’s open health data for research purposes;
  • Facilitate networking among health researchers and practitioners in New York State;
  • Further develop a community of health policy scholars among State University of New York campuses.


Researchers, clinicians, database managers, and directors from eight New York university campuses and private industry joined policymakers and practitioners from the New York State Department of Health. Participants represented a variety of disciplines, including medicine, computer science, informatics, public health, public affairs, economics, and criminal justice.

List of participants

Erika Martin, Rockefeller Institute of Government-SUNY and University at Albany-SUNY,
Natalie Helbig, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany-SUNY,

Advisory Committee
Tania Allard, Director of METRIX Project and Health Data NY Director, NYSDOH
Gus Birkhead, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Public Health, NYSDOH
Courtney Burke, Deputy Secretary for Health, New York State Executive Chamber
Meghan Cook, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany-SUNY
Thomas Gais, Director, Rockefeller Institute of Government, SUNY
Janine Jurkowski, Associate Professor, University at Albany, School of Public Health
Theresa Pardo, Director, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, SUNY
Nirav Shah, NYSDOH Commissioner
Hao Wang, Chief Information Officer, SUNY

Advisory Committee