APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD, spoke Tuesday in Washington, D.C., about the connection between broadband and health. Photo by APHA/Natalie McGill

APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD, spoke Tuesday in Washington, D.C., about the connection between broadband and health. Photo by APHA/Natalie McGill

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission launched its “Mapping Broadband Health” tool, which uses national, state and county maps to measure the intersection of connectivity — especially to internet — and health nationwide. During a conference in Washington, D.C., FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn referred to broadband as a “superdeterminant” of health, because access affects numerous social determinants of health including education and employment status.

APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin spoke at the event, discussing the health implications of “broadband deserts” in which people can’t quickly access health information and calling the broadband “a health improvement tool on the individual and population level.”

“Unfortunately we have 34 million people in our country who are disadvantaged — especially in health status — simply because they lack access to appropriate broadband,” he said in a news release. “In public health, we know that data is a powerful decision-making agent. This tool empowers us to identify and improve communities that otherwise wouldn’t have equitable health information opportunities.”

Clyburn thanked APHA for its advocacy and vision to create the healthiest nation, adding that “by working together, by leveraging connectivity and health care delivery, much can be accomplished for communities that need it most.”

Visit FCC to access the tool.