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A mobile app can help communities improve their health and well-being

A Stanford professor explains how a relatively simple tool can empower individuals to identify and advocate for meaningful changes in their neighborhoods.
Photo of a street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
How do you build a healthier community? | iStock/Bastiaan Slabbers

Take a look around your neighborhood and you’ll see a few things you like — and, most likely, a few you don’t. Maybe you need a crosswalk near the senior home. Or garbage keeps getting dumped on the sidewalk.

Now imagine if you and others in your community could document what you saw, collect those data, identify and agree on issues to prioritize, and then find feasible solutions for them?

In this episode of Stanford Engineering’s The Future of Everything, Stanford faculty member Abby King, professor of epidemiology and population health and of medicine, explains how this scenario is possible, starting with a mobile app called the Our Voice Discovery Tool. King and host, bioengineer Russ Altman, also discuss how this by-the-people type of citizen science can help improve the well-being and health of communities in the U.S. and around the world.

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