How Can We Mobilize Data?
Mobilize data, research, and evaluation to make the case for, assess, and inform interventions for health equity (Read actions you can take below)
One asset public health departments can bring to equity movements is their data, research, and evaluation capacities. Data helps us understand, investigate, and spread awareness about the causes of inequities, and helps point to social and environmental interventions to improve health. There are many different ways to utilize data, including:
- Identifying priorities to hold the department and other agencies accountable to advancing health equity
- Developing reports that highlight health inequities across programs and issue areas; partnering with other government agencies to identify, analyze, and report data about the social determinants of health
- Providing community-level data and profiles that show opportunities and challenges; collecting and reporting data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, income, gender, neighborhood, etc.
- Working with community members to identify indicators of interest and progress towards their goals
- Making data available to communities so they can use it in their own efforts to advance equity
- Using qualitative methods and community-based participatory research to bring quantitative data to life, as well as to lift community voices and strengthen community relationships
Case studies that mobilize data, research, & evaluation
Actions to Advance Equity Using This Practice
Your leadership, staff, and department take the following actions to mobilize data, research, and evaluation:
- Regularly collect, analyze, and report demographic and socio-economic characteristics to profile population trends and better understand who is affected by health inequities.
- Regularly collect, analyze, and report data on the social determinants of health (e.g. as indicators, in the CHA/CHIP, in policy development/evaluation).
- Use data about inequities to identify department priorities.
- Use community-based participatory research and/or qualitative methods (surveys, interviews, focus groups) to ground-truth and bring to life quantitative data and to lift community voice.
- Incorporate demographic characteristics and health equity metrics into ongoing department data collection and analysis efforts (e.g. disease surveillance, performance evaluation/QI, program evaluations, satisfaction surveys).
- Work with other government agencies and partners to: 1) identify, analyze, and report data about the social determinants of health and 2) apply parallel approaches to data collection, analysis, and reporting in a way that is accessible to the public.
- Enable ongoing capacity building for health department staff to improve and advance their health equity data analysis, research, and evaluation skills.
- Actively engage community members in selecting focus areas and project-specific and department-wide indicators, data, and priority measures to hold agencies accountable for advancing health equity.
- Respond proactively to community requests for data on issues that impact their lives, (e.g. police shootings, deportations, evictions, and incarceration). Make data available to communities so they can use it in their own efforts to advance equity.
- Use maps and other compelling graphics, short reports/briefs, and fact sheets to disseminate data.
- Acknowledge missing data, biases, and limitations of the data and our LHDs.
- Translate research and data into different languages.
- Highlight the most striking inequalities in data and publications — and the reasons for these inequalities — through clear, consistent, and widespread messages to decision-makers, affected communities, partners, and the general public.