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Data and Information:  The  United States of America 2020

The Health of the Nation 2020  provides you with information and data that will help you be part of the national conversation.  We start with information and data that is related to health issues. Taken together, the selected indicators reflect the overall health of the nation and the efficiency and efficacy of U.S. health systems.


Data is a tool for more informed decision-making about, not a decision itself. Data is crucial for scientific advancement, and in the policy arena crucial for comparison of options. Of course data, numbers can be manipulated to serve particular interests. It is nearly impossible to accurately project the future status of complex systems such as economics, the human body, etc... The challenge is to present the information in a simplified manner that allows for utilization into meaningful discussion and decision-making. Clarifying terms and concepts that are central to proper decision-making need to be aired and critically reviewed. Having an agreed-upon base of data, or a way to challenge the data will elevate the discussion to a more productive level, a more deliberative conversation built on respect rather than fear and that allows for problem-solving.


Caltech's 122nd Commencement Address by surgeon, writer, and public health researcher, Atul Gawande, M.D., M.P.H. Introduction by David L. Lee, Chair of Caltech's Board of Trustees.

Read the transcript on the website of the “The New Yorker”

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