A Focus on Open Data for Racial Equity in the Health Housing, and Workforce Sectors

This post first appeared on IBM Business of Government. Read the original article.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Our Center partnered with The Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) late last month to host a panel of subject matter experts to focus on sector-specific data for racial equity in health, housing, and the workforce.

We were honored to host keynote speaker, April Chen, a Presidential Innovation Fellow with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Ms. Chen highlighted the Biden Administration’s focus on applying executive action to equitable policies and programs.  The Administration is also working on building best practices and addressing gaps in data services that affect various communities.  Ms. Chen provided Executive Order 14034 (Protecting Americans’ Sensitive Data From Foreign Adversaries) as an example of how best to protect citizens’ privacy while making more information and open data available.

With the excellent moderating of Natalie Evans Harris, Founder and President, Harris Data Consulting, the panelists discussed how to best understand data issues within and across sectors. Jeanita Pritchett, the Chief Scientific Diversity Officer at the National Institutes of Health at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, explained how equity and data are deeply integrated within NIH with equity councils and implementation teams, performance elements that are integrated into staffer’s work, and a culture change that is both top-down and bottom-up.

Dr. LaShawn McIver, Senior Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Former Director of the CMS Office of Minority Health stressed the importance of making data tangible. She shared that many agencies may not understand the data and so a focus on making the data more comprehensive will advance health equity.  Dr. McIver shared that “we might not yet have all the data we need, but if we are strategic with the data we have, it can get us far.”

Kathryn Pettit, a Principal Research Associate at the Urban Institute shared many resources and program links for attendees to review.  These include:

  • National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) website: The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) is a learning network, coordinated by the Urban Institute, that connects independent partner organizations in more than 30 cities that share a mission to ensure all communities have access to data and the skills to use information to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods.
  • NNIP Newsletter:  The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), a network coordinated by the Urban Institute, consisting of local organizations with a shared mission to ensure all communities have access to data and the skills to use information to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods
  • Philadelphia case study: “Arming Philadelphia Organizations with Data to Change Lives.”
  • Cleveland case study: “Improving Homeless Services for Youth in Cuyahoga County.”
  • Catalyst Grant Program: The Urban Institute and the Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative are collaborating on the Catalyst Grant Program to provide organizations funding and technical assistance for local projects to use data and technology to advance racial equity and reform in the adult criminal legal system.

The session also included a demonstration where attendees were able to visualize the data-driven themes of the open data for racial equity program.  Please visit the storymap website and the demonstration video to learn more about this resource.

To explore the session further, read the transcript of the panel event, listen to the recording, and review our reports on racial equity:



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