Monday, August 10, 2015

Internship Blog: Topher Hoffman, Post #3

Lots of data: plus a bit of party planning

The distinct culture at DOHMH deserves to be mentioned, which I haven’t really done yet. In my building alone, there are thousands of people, spanning 22 stories. Walking through the halls, elevators, and lunchroom, you can hear all kinds of languages spoken by people from different cultures. It’s a great place to work because of this, and because, in my experience, everyone’s attitude comes from a place of dedication, hard work, and passion for the work being done.
My work has picked up and expanded even more since my last update. In the last few weeks, my biggest points of focus have been logging all of the missing HIV testing data for the New York Knows project, and implementing a plan to collect it; updating HIV testing site information for NYC’s 311 list; helping with an evaluation of DOHMH social media outreach efforts; and planning a 200-person event to thank our HIV testing partners in Brooklyn.
The New York Knows project collects five data points pertaining to HIV testing for each quarter since the beginning of the project (see my first post for specifics). For the Bronx, this was 2008; for Brooklyn, it was 2010; and for the other three boroughs, it was this January. What this translates to me is database maintenance. I’m pinpointing holes in these data and collecting data to fill the holes.
Second on my list has been updating the 311 list. Anybody in NYC can dial 311 from their cell phone and be connected to a directory of city services. The webpage also has a services locator for residents to get connected with services they need. The New York Knows team provides HIV testing location information to 311 and the services locator so that when a member of the public wants to know where they can get an HIV test, these services can be resources for them. But remember: this is NYC. Things are constantly changing, and people are constantly moving. My team is currently calling each HIV testing location in our database to verify/update their information so that we are providing accurate information to the public.
To continue, this brings me to another major task that’s picked up recently. Last year, DOHMH promoted free HIV testing events that were occurring in NYC on five CDC-recognized HIV/AIDS awareness days. The promotion occurred using a Tumblr post, which was linked from ads on social networking sites like Grindr, Scruff, and Facebook.
Now we want to know if this worked. We are using data from surveys that each testing site filled out on the days of the events that reported how many people were tested, their demographics, and how they heard about the testing event. This is my first time using SPSS on my own – and outside of a class setting – so hurrah!
Lastly, I am planning a 200-person event to celebrate our testing partners in Brooklyn. Between 2010 and 2014, our partners in Brooklyn conducted hundreds of thousands of HIV tests. That’s a big deal! We want to thank them and bring everybody together to meet each other.