Check out the new open data portal!

CHHS Open Data

The CHHS Open Data Portal is taking a big step. After nearly three years and over 250 datasets published, we migrated to an open source platform that uses the CKAN technology. This move helps users better leverage the tremendous data assets available on the portal. Look out for improved navigation and usability, a wider range of data formats, as well as upcoming charts, maps, and dashboards to visualize the data and bring it to life.

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We made these enhancements because the CHHS Open Data Workgroup, which has representation from all CHHS departments, found that evolving the portal was important to furthering the Agency’s shared goals of transparency, innovation, and engagement.

Please share your feedback at and follow @CHHSDataNews on Twitter.

— CHHS Open Data Workgroup


Apply for the Let’s Get Healthy California Innovation Challenge 2.0


Are you currently exploring a new approach or scaling an existing effective practice that is changing the health landscape of California? Let’s Get Healthy California wants to hear from you!

The Let’s Get Healthy California Innovation Challenge 2.0 seeks to uncover innovative approaches and solutions that improve the health of all Californians. This effort encourages all of us—state policymakers to local communities to individuals—to find groundbreaking ways that will help make California the healthiest state in the nation.

A webinar will be held on October 4, 2016 at 1:00pm to provide information to interested participants and answer questions. Click here to learn more and sign up for regular updates.

The theme of this year’s challenge is focused on the social determinants of health—defined as the conditions in which people are born and live. By sharing effective models and inspiring ideas, we can work together to design solutions that will help improve the health and wellbeing of Californians.

Click here to apply today!

Help spread the word by sharing the Innovation Challenge with partners who are making an impact. Use the hashtag #CAgetsHealthy.

HHS Open Data Fest III videos now available

Datafest-Logo_Rv-3-300x154In case you missed it – earlier this year, the California Health and Human Services Agency partnered with Stewards of Change to host two exciting California HHS Open DataFest events. The symposia, held in both Palo Alto and Sacramento, showcased new developments, highlighted innovative solutions, explored emerging knowledge, and shared practical applications from across the state.

The video for these events is now available on YouTube.

CHHS launches Data Playbook

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The California Health and Human Services Agency has launched a new resource for data initiatives: the CHHS Data Playbook. The Playbook is designed to help build an organizational culture that is focused on data and data-driven decision making. The Playbook is a mechanism to disseminate best practices and lessons learned across the Agency, consisting of resources and toolkits to help staff navigate data projects and discuss data-related topics with common terminology.

The Playbook is available on GitHub so that other organizations can leverage and adapt it for their needs.

CHHS holds second annual Data Expo

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On June 17, the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and the Agency’s Data Subcommittee hosted its second annual “Data Expo.” The event brought together CHHS leadership, managers, and analysts from across departments to connect, share, and learn. The event linked initiatives and highlighted efforts underway throughout the Agency with presentations, panel discussions, and state and local showcases. Special guests included Amy Tong, State CIO; Carrie Hoff, Deputy Director with San Diego County HHS; and Joel Riphagen, Brigade Captain of Code for Sacramento.


Over 200 CHHS staff attended the Expo in person and via web conference

At last year’s event, the focus was on education and discussing the data needs and goals of CHHS departments. In 2016, the attention shifted to highlighting approaches, lessons learned, and the strategic direction set by the Agency over the past year. Onboarding all 12 departments to the CHHS Open Data Portal was an important milestone, along with the agile procurement approach adopted by the Child Welfare System, the launch of the Let’s Get Healthy California website, and the Innovation Office pilot currently underway.

The 8 Government Health IT Trends You Need to Know

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In May, 2016, GovLoop released a guide titled “The 8 Government Health IT Trends You Need to Know.” The guide takes a look at the current state of government health IT, innovations, and how government is driving the adoption of IT in health care.

Acting Agency Information Officer, Scott Christman, participated in an interview for a public sector spotlight on unifying health and human services in California. Scott said:

“We should be able to move data between departments in order to put the data together, provide better analytics, and drive better programs, better service delivery, and better outcomes.”

GovLoop aims to inspire public sector professionals to better service by acting as the knowledge network for government. GovLoop helps government leaders foster collaboration, learn from each other, solve problems, and advance in their careers.

You can download the full guide from GovLoop’s website by clicking here.

California Research Bureau releases open data case study

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The California Research Bureau, a division of the California State Library, recently published a case study on open data titled: “Making Open Data Work in California’s State Government: Lessons from Early Adopters.”

The paper summarizes the experiences of both the California Health and Human Services Agency and the California State Controller’s Office, including findings on governance, existing state law and policies, as well as privacy and confidentiality in the context of open data.

The report identifies several lessons learned from California departments working with open data:

  • To open your data, you have to know your data
  • Data can be messy
  • Strong, involved, executive sponsorship is critical
  • An inclusive governance team can develop comprehensive policies
  • Start from a strategic strong point
  • Create opportunities for learning, training and asking questions
  • Use events to build momentum
  • Learn from other organizations

The California Research Bureau provides nonpartisan research services to the Governor and his staff, both houses of the Legislature, and other elected State officials.

The case study is available online and on GitHub.

2016 UC Davis hackathon focused on coding for social good

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This past May, 300 students descended upon the UC Davis campus for 24 hours of “hacking for social good.” This was the first major collegiate hackathon at UC Davis run entirely by students. There were three different tracks: environment, health and wellness, and education. The California Health and Human Services Agency partnered with Hack Davis for the event.

The Davis student organizers put forth a compelling mission:

“We want people to build projects with a meaningful impact and hope to foster a community dedicated to social change. We find that most hackathons often don’t result with projects as practical solutions to specific societal problems and we’re looking to change that.”

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A packed house inside the UC Davis ARC Ballroom

Companies like Synaptics, IBM, and AT&T took the opportunity to interact with the many bright computer science students in attendance. Informative and engaging workshops were held throughout the day and into the wee hours of the night, including a class on personal branding as well as “Ruby on Rails 101.” At the end of the weekend, 51 applications were created and submitted.

CHHS joined in to share about the data available on the CHHS Open Data Portal. Several groups of enthusiastic students were excited to check out the data available and tackle the health and wellness track.

A number of health-related apps emerged, including two using Amazon’s personal voice assistant, Alexa. One of these apps, called NutriCount, interfaces with the USDA’s API to access nutrition information and uses voice recognition to tell users about the nutrition content of the foods they ate. For the next iteration, the coders plan to provide healthy food recommendations as well.

With another health app, a team of UC Davis students tackled the problem of locating and identifying health providers in California. The app allows users to input their health plan and symptom to find the appropriate general or specialty care providers in their area. The app makes use of the Medi-Cal fee-for-service providers dataset available on the CHHS Open Data Portal, as well as other data sources from private health plans.

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UC Davis freshmen of the “CA Health” team demoing their app

In developing this app, the coders found some quirks in the data, so the CHHS Open Data Team is taking their feedback to the state subject matter experts that can help make improvements to the data going forward. Data transparency can provide insight into data usability and quality, and participating in hackathons is a great way to help crowdsource the “hygiene” of the data.

Check out the 2016 California Impact Challenge in Precision Medicine


How can we improve the health of Californians? How do we leverage new and exponentially growing technologies, such as digital health tools, environmental sensors, big data analysis and integration, and predictive analytics?

The 2016 California Impact Challenge in Precision Medicine

We invite you to develop or propose a novel precision medicine approach with which California can leverage the convergence of new and exponentially growing technologies to build upon our ability to foster prevention, early detection, and better management of existing diseases. Learn more about this challenge.

Teams of two or more can submit a revolutionary new idea for this challenge. The winner will receive $10,000 in cash and a paid trip (up to $5,000) to attend and present at the Exponential Medicine Conference October 8-10 2016 in San Diego.

Enter your team and idea by September 6, 2016.

This challenge is presented by the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz), and Singularity University.

Click here to apply today!

Become a FUSE Corps Fellow with CHHS


Exciting FUSE Corps fellowship opportunity to work with the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) to “Utilize Data-Driven Strategies to Improve Client Outcomes.” See this detailed summary of the FUSE Corps fellowship opportunity.

CHHS’s goal is to evolve into a more data-driven agency by better utilizing internal data and analytics to help it make smart decisions and investments that ultimately lead to more effective services for California residents. To accomplish this goal, CHHS will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level Fellow for one year who will help create the infrastructure, processes and approaches for the sustainable collection, use and analysis of data across departments and programs. The Fellow will not only help establish the necessary systems for utilizing data, but will also help transform the Agency’s perception of data by working to educate agency staff about the ability of data to improve services for clients. Ultimately, this shift in culture will benefit the health and wellbeing of the individuals and families served by CHHS and further the Agency’s reputation as a model for innovative thinking among agencies throughout the region and the country.

This fellowship is 12 months and starts October 3, 2016.

FUSE Corps is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that enables local government to more effectively address the biggest challenges facing urban communities. FUSE partners with civic leaders to identify strategic projects and then recruits entrepreneurial professionals to serve in year-long, executive-level fellowships. Fellows work full-time within targeted issue areas such as education, health, poverty, workforce development, and the environment.

Click here to apply today!