As a civic health innovator in the Healthy Public Project at Civic Hall Labs, we’ve partnered to curate a list of open data resources to help you center equity in your data-driven decisions.
Welcome to the Data for Delegates web portal!
Here we share an equity-based framework to help you find relevant data to evaluate project ideas and develop proposals that address the deepest needs in your community. The factors that lead to community health are representative of the social and economic forces that drive many dimensions of equity, so we’ve adopted a public health lens as a way to focus your thinking.
EXAMPLE PROJECT: Data for Greensboro, NC
We used this framework and data resources to prepare a Data for Delegates research report for PB in Greensboro, NC; check out the report as a PDF here.
YOUR TURN: Steps to use this framework
You’re invited to use open, local data to guide your democratic decision-making by following these steps. RESOURCE: try using this research template spreadsheet:
- Define what to look for. Start with the public health frameworks (see below); focus on topic areas related to your committee’s list of projects. Then, find specific metrics related to your projects. For example a social services or education committee may be interested in projects that support workforce development. Employment is part of the public health framework, and metrics on unemployment help us understand how Employment is doing in this community.
- Research using relevant data. See below for an organized catalog of open data that you may want to use. Use the search features to select the resource(s) that include(s) all the data you’ll need.
- Prioritize needs and issues based on data about your community. As you develop projects, it can be helpful to compare the metrics you’re exploring in your district or city to those metrics in your state or in the United States as a whole. For example, does your neighborhood have poor transportation access or great water quality relative to your city or state? It can also be helpful to visualize your research as charts or graphs to make the information easier to understand.
To explore a data source, simply click on the tool directory below, and sort as needed. You will see tool descriptions, why we recommend it, limitations, and the tool’s web address.
Equity Data in a Public Health Framework
Taken from the framework called “County Health Rankings,” we focused tools containing data related to health factors. As such, these tools offer insight on Social and Economic Factors, and the Physical Environment:
- Family & Social Support
- Community Safety
- Air & water Quality
- Housing & Transit
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) states it simply in their report on A New Way to Talk About the Social Determinants of Health: there’s an “integral relationship between our health and where and how we live, learn, work and play.”
Public health provides a useful framework for thinking about equity, and especially so in this political moment. We’re appreciative of our partners at Civic Hall Las for sharing their expertise, questions, and resources with our team at PBP, and we’re excited to share what we’ve learned and created with you!
- The Boston Public Health Commission offers clear distinctions between health equity, health disparities or inequalities, health inequities, and other key concepts in the public health field that inform our understanding of the relationship between racism and health outcomes. The Commission presents critical information on racial and ethnic health disparities by highlighting the difference between genetics and experiences of racism: racism over a lifetime—rather than genetics—contributes to a variety of serious health threats.
- The Healthy People 2020 report titled An Opportunity to Address Societal Determinants of Health in the United States lifts up key distinctions between the social and physical environment, explores the importance of focusing on health equity, and shares specific actions we can take to address social determinants of health. The overarching goals of Healthy People 2020 include creating social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
Look for data on any or several of these indicators (as relevant to your committee) to help you evaluate the need in communities, and the impact that projects would have.
Note: Not all these indicators will be relevant to your committees. Pick the tools and indicators that would be most useful.
Please share your feedback
We would like to hear from you! Fill out this feedback form to let us know about your experience using the Data for Delegates portal. Our staff will review all feedback and use your suggestions to make this tool even more useful for lifting up equity in PB and beyond.