Blog Post

Visualizing Public Health Data

Public health marketers need to have data in a visual format to engage stakeholders and get funding. But they will often start with complex data from different sources that need to be synced in order to obtain reportable results. Data visualization programs such as Tableau can help public health marketers organize and present data in ways that more clearly convey its meaning to a range of audiences, including funding agencies and members of the public more broadly.

The Data

One of the useful features of Tableau is the variety of file types it will accept. Unlike other data visualization programs, Tableau can input data from formats such as text files, PDFs, and JSON. This versatility in design is helpful when aggregating data from different state agencies that might not use the same format. And connecting data from various agencies in this way can help you identify meaningful, local trends.


There are a number of ways that you can use tableau to organize and visualize your data, from line and bar charts to scatter plots to geographic mapping. In fact, Tableau even recommends different formats based on the type of data you enter into the field. There are also useful features such as colorization, labeling, and sizing that can further aid in data presentation and clarity.

Too often data comes from different sources and needs to be pieced together to get results. Tableau is a useful tool for visualizing and aggregating data. Effective data visualization is important for public health marketers to get their message across, reach their audience, and gain funding.

Blog Post

Data Visualization and Community Comprehension

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For health officials, one of the biggest hurdles for starting a new initiative is explaining it to the community effectively, and the complex nature of health information does not help the situation. A large table filled with data can be overwhelming to audiences that are not accustomed to receiving information that way. Therefore, public health officials need to focus on the presentation of data. Not all audiences will have the same knowledge base, so making things clear and understandable is a must.

There is no one size fits all for data visualization. Different types of data sets call for a variety of different visualization tools. If you are looking to convey population or geographic data, it is helpful to overlay this info on a map so that people can easily find the information as it relates to them. Whereas publishing the same data in a list format might not be as clear or usable for the same audience. For other types of data, such as systems that have multiple steps, infographics are often the preferred method since they can pair text with visuals to clearly depict each element of the system.

In sum, it’s essential to pay attention to the content and audience of the message to determine the best form for that particular message. Combining elements effectively can make information much more understandable and useful for public audiences.