Public Health Data Warehouse (PHD): Overview

Proposed Development and Implementation Plan

Table of Contents

Authority and Purpose

M.G.L c. 111 s. 237 authorizes the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) to assemble and maintain data systems necessary to collect, record, and analyze data and population health trends, prioritizing the analyses of fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses. In addition, the Commissioner may identify and determine additional priorities for the reduction of morbidity and mortality in the Commonwealth.

Project Lead

The Office of Population Health (OPH) operationalizes the PHD by leveraging public and private partnerships to identify and answer key policy questions using this unique data asset. OPH disseminates timely and actionable information to policymakers and program planners to target measures to address the Department's public health priorities, with an initial focus on fatal and non-fatal opiate overdoses.

Proposed goals

OPH is proposing the following goals for successfully accomplishing the implementation of the PHD:

  1. Link data from within DPH and across state agencies to create a reliable population health data asset to inform policies and programs aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality.
  2. Establish a governance structure that enables fair, secure, and appropriate access to the PHD to study and address public health priorities as determined by the Commissioner.
  3. Coordinate multi-disciplinary teams comprised of DPH and non-DPH staff to design and conduct studies and provide actionable recommendations to address the Department's public health priorities.

Proposed structure

We envision four primary cornerstones to support the PHD:

  • Governance: ensures a sustainable inter-agency data warehouse by establishing guiding principles, organizational structure for decision-making, and stakeholder access and roles.
  • Legal: establishes accountability for a secure data environment and the collaborative framework in which data contributors and users operate.
  • Technical: provides expertise for defining the technical architecture, linkage algorithms, data configuration and the overall analytic principles for the environment, and develops a roadmap for PHD future expansion to account for new computing environments.
  • Operations: oversees the funding and implementation strategy for program sustainability, and provides ongoing support for the management of PHD daily functions.


Executive Leadership

Sets the direction for the PHD, establishes priorities, and utilizes data findings to inform policies and other actionable strategies

PHD Governance Committee

  1. Makes decisions about how to translate the goals and priorities articulated by the executive leadership into analytic toolsets, projects, then final reports.
  2. Makes decisions to ensure there are sufficient expertise, knowledge, and skills to maintain and use the PHD.

Data Stewards/SME’s

This is our pool of experts. These people have substantial technical and legal knowledge related to particular datasets, programs, agencies. They may also be people with expertise in a particular field, analytic methodology, or other areas of knowledge. They participate in the Governance Committee (or sub-Committee work-groups), as necessary.

OPH Special Analytic Projects (SAP)

Within the Office of Population Health, the Special Analytic Projects unit is responsible for the day to day operations of the PHD including liaising with data providers, data documentation management and stewardship, and conducting data analyses.


Technical infrastructure that surrounds the PHD and makes it all possible.

Additional Resources



Special Analytic Projects Director: Dana Bernson Dana.Bernson@MassMail.State.MA.US


Office of Population Health - Special Analytic Projects
250 Washington St.
6th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Date published: September 1, 2018