Enhancing the community health information infrastructure

Health information is a critical resource for individuals and communities, but not all groups have equal access to this information. This research and the results derived from this collaborative planning project will help to shape an anticipated future large-scale research project focusing on enhancement of health information infrastructures for marginalized urban communities.

Start date: 10/1/2011
End date: 9/30/2012

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Access to health information is differential in US communities, and those with less access to information often experience health disparities. Community-level health disparities may be linked to the environmental features of the disadvantaged neighborhoods. Yet little is known about the role that information exchange dynamics and infrastructures may play in community-level access to health information.

The planning project and the subsequent study focused on conditions that are disproportionately prevalent in Inkster, Flint, and northwest Detroit, including diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and hypertension, as well as information related to the prevention of these conditions. The University of Michigan, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, Flint Public Library, Leanna Hicks Public Library of Inkster, and the Watsonia Park Block Association of Inkster participated in the project and explored the effectiveness of the collaboration between a public library and relevant community partners.

The study involved planning meetings in Inkster, Flint and Northwest Detroit and preliminary data collection about local assets and barriers to health information, the information behavior of residents and health information activities of local organizations. 

This research was a project of Veinot’s Community Health Informatics Lab. For more information about the organization and its research, please visit the project website here.


National Leadership Grant for Libraries: Enhancing the Community Health Information Infrastructure: Innovative Library and Information Practice for the 21st Century, Institute of Museum and Library Sciences: $49,947


The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences’ National Leadership Grants for Libraries program enhances the quality of library services nationwide by supporting innovative projects that can be widely replicated. Areas of funding include education, research, digitization, and library-museum collaboration.