All In’s Shared Vision for Racial Equity Includes Understanding, Acknowledging & Creating Inclusive Spaces

By: Miriam Castro, Program Manager, Data Across Sectors for Health and Susan Martinez, MUP, Program Associate, Data Across Sectors for Health

On October 22, 2020, All In: Data for Community Health hosted a webinar training, All In for a Shared Racial Equity Vision, led by Shavon Arline-Bradley, Founding Principal of R.E.A.C.H Beyond Solutions, LLC. Her training helped participants define what the All In community means when it talks about racial equity. Through this training, participants learned how racial equity and inclusion show up in multi-sector community collaboration and data sharing work; understood what racial equity is; and felt more confident to take the next step and act in their professional capacities to address racial equity

Watch the webinar recording of All In for a Shared Racial Equity Vision and download the handout here.

A shared vision starts with understanding our shared language and what we mean. As such, the training started with a level setting activity. Shavon opened with a set of images: the COVID-19 virus, the Zoom logo, the photo of George Floyd’s final moments on earth, an image of protests, and finally an image of the 2020 election. Her prompts brought a mix of reactions from the 154 participants who attended. Reactions ranged from outrage to pain to hope. 

“Our personal reactions stem from our understanding that the influence of society is reflective in our work and in the capacities in which we serve,” Arline-Bradley said. “Individuals bring their biases, perspectives, and worldviews to the table and it affects the way that we implement and engage in public health.” 

This simple but powerful concept and the following definitions guided the training:

Determinant A label/element has been placed on individuals by society and aligns with how someone is going to thrive. For instance, race has been a core determinant of an individual’s value in our country, as has class, a person’s access to finance, and their gender, be it identity or orientation. In America, this has shaped the policies and practices around how an individual is determined. If a person is not valued within their society, it will directly impact a person’s ability to thrive.
Race A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics. Used to define dominance and access.
Racism Institutional and individual practices creating and reinforcing oppressive systems of race relations. Whereby people and institutions engage in discrimination adversely restrict, by judgment and action, the lives of those against whom they discriminate. Racism is a harmful determinant of health by the system that has instituted racism has a major impact on the lived experience.
Lived experience How a person is treated, set against standards (imposed by someone else) and affects the jobs that are available to a person and environmental exposures, etc; based on a determinant (such as race)
Anti-Racism The process of identifying, challenging, and eliminating the values, policies, and behaviors within the interlocking systems of social oppression (sexism, classism, heterosexualism, ableism) to redistribute power and transform racial disparity outcomes. That is so the factors are no longer a predictor of success or failure for People of Color at the structural level. 
Anti-Racism in practice An operationalization of pushing policies and practices to redistribute power and to transform disparate outcomes. Race is no longer a factor.
Equality Equal distribution of resources
Equity Providing all people with fair opportunities to attain their full potential to the extent possible, including the presence of policies and practices to provide everyone with the support they need to improve the quality of their lives. Who defines full potential? Who defines this optimal experience? The intent for equity is around fairness, free from injustice, or free from systemic barriers. 
Racial Equity Race no longer determines your outcome. Race isn’t a factor in one’s ability to thrive.
Racial Equity Framework Whereas a lens can shift a framework is solid. A racial equity framework takes into account race and ethnicity and considers the disparities and structural root causes of critical issues.

A shared vision involves a careful decision around what lenses and frameworks are useful for shared work. Arline-Bradley walked through the differences between racial equity and racial justice as lenses. The latter involves acknowledging racial history and understanding how it shows up in our work and in our lives. Recognizing that individuals have not been in positions of power to create change, to be meaningfully involved and who haven’t had a seat at the table to help create structures that can help change their current circumstances. 

A racial equity lens separates symptoms from causes, while a racial justice lens brings into view the confrontation of power, the redistribution of resources, and the systemic transformation necessary for real change.

“I really appreciated how Shavon dove in the details about diction and what specific words truly mean, especially when they have a vast impact on different issues like health equity, representation in decision-making/programming, etc when acted upon. There are differences between equality vs. equity, outreach vs. engagement, acceptance vs. inclusion – and Shavon picks up on these nuances and can talk about why they matter in a way that anyone can understand and internalize,” Solomon Collins, Communications Associate with Data Across Sectors for Health, expressed.

Moving from shared language to shared action involves authentic community engagement. Participants were asked to differentiate between community outreach and community engagement. Participant comments included the following: “engagement is bi-directional, outreach is to engagement is with, outreach is a checklist exercise. Engagement is transformative.”

Arline-Bradley explained that community engagement has another layer of accountability and ensures that a community member is part of the larger team and that data is shared. Voice equals vote and power is shared so that community members are seen as experts and can impact change to their circumstances. Community members are experts who can impact changes and they are a resource that should warrant investment and advancing skills and develop training opportunities. True empowerment isn’t just gifts for time or focus groups, but rather creating sustainable practices in partnership with communities as a collective. 

“Getting started means having more participation, adding more people to the table, and adjusting as needed. We cannot prioritize, map, assess, hold preliminary meetings without having true engagement. Often, we get into our practice, space, tenure, and our leadership and we forget that the community we say we’re a part of brings assets to the table that many of us do not have. We can’t do the work collectively if we don’t start out with that support and humility,” Arline-Bradley said. 

As we move towards racial equity in practice, Arline-Bradley helped us recognize that it’s not an easy process, but it is necessary to create change. She challenged participants to open the door for community engagement, move beyond outreach to making it a standard part of the work. She encouraged participants to:

  • Welcome conflict because it leads to dialogue and new perspectives. 
  • Commit to ongoing learning and long-term transformation. 
  • Ensure that activities are sustainable because it will lead to transforming culture and systems. 
  • Adopt collaborative governance models which is a key difference for inclusive and equitable practices and transparency. 

“I heard Shavon speak for the first time during a New Jersey Health Initiative event – she engaged with attendees in a way that challenged us all to think about ways we could incorporate racial equity work into our daily duties, no matter our role in our organization. Afterwards, I felt inspired to learn more about her work and found she had the lived experience and expertise to provide the All In community with strategies that would help members take the necessary steps to begin applying or continue to apply a racial equity lens to collaboration and data sharing efforts to improve the health of their community.” Naomi Rich, Program Specialist, Public Health National Center for Innovations, recalled. 

 

“I appreciated Rev. Shavon Bradley’s presentation on a Shared Racial Equity Vision, and in particular, her clarity in comparing the difference between community outreach and community engagement. Our nationalInvest Health work thatReinvestment Fund leads seeks to help small to mid-sized cities make that distinction in their efforts to authentically engage the communities they partner with to advance equity. Rev. Bradley leaned in on not just how the boxes have been historically checked, but more importantly, what the specific tactics are that can build lasting trust and equity with residents.” Jennifer Fassbender, Director of Program Initiatives, Reinvestment Fund, said. 

 

“With the All In National Meeting approaching in December, it was exciting to hear Shavon guide us in understanding key differences between the concepts of racial equity vs. racial justice, as well as community outreach vs. community engagement. We look forward to applying the framework she shared to both understand where All In communities are in their journeys but also identify where we can make improvements to promote racial justice.” Anna Barnes, Program Director, with Data Across Sectors for Health and All In, reflected. 

This training is one activity leading up to the 4th Annual All In National Meeting, taking place Dec 8 – 10. Registration is now open to All In members and the general public. RSVP here.

Additional Resources:


All In for a Shared Racial Equity Vision Webinar

On October 22, 2020, All In with Shavon Arline-Bradley, Founding Principal of R.E.A.C.H. Beyond Solutions, LLC hosted a webinar training that helped define what the All In community means when it talks about racial equity. The training explored how racial equity and inclusion show up in multi-sector community collaboration and data sharing work. The training helped guide participants toward understanding what racial equity is and help them feel more confident to take the next step and act in their professional capacities to address racial equity.

Session objectives included:

  1. Participants will learn strategies to engage community members/people experiencing racial inequities in the design of community collaborations, data systems, and data-driven programs and policies.
  2. Participants will listen and reflect on a case study presented to examine how data ownership and power dynamics between organizations and community members can shape the design of initiatives to be centered in equity principles.
  3. Participants will identify how their personal and organizational beliefs and practices can support them in taking a step to address racial equity.

Resources from this training include:


All In’s Upcoming Virtual National Meeting Keynote Speaker Announced

Dr. Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. “Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code”

Dr. Ruha Benjamin will be kicking off the upcoming All In National Meeting. Dr. Benjamin is a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press). She has studied the social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine for over fifteen years and speaks widely on issues of innovation, equity, health, and justice in the U.S. and globally. Read more about Dr. Benjamin here.

Dr. Benjamin is but one in this year’s amazing lineup of inspirational speakers for the All In Meeting. Speakers will cover many compelling issues facing our communities, practitioners, and residents by sharing their stories, tools, and practical lessons. There will also be interactive opportunities for you to share your experience tackling common challenges as they relate to multi-sector community-based data sharing projects focused on health, well-being, and equity.
So, join All In: Data for Community Health on December 8-10, 2020 for our 4th Annual National Meeting. Registration is now live. The virtual space is limited to 300 participants in order to maintain opportunities for group conversations and networking.
Register here before November 30th to save your spot.

Webinar Talk-Back: Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration

By: Susan Martinez, Program Associate, Data Across Sectors for Health & Sallie Milam, Deputy Director of the Mid-States Region at the Network for Public Health Law.

Regardless of intent, data use can lead to harmful outcomes for vulnerable populations. Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (including some featured in All In Data for Community Health’s Lessons From the First Wave) highlighted the impact of inequitable data practices, most notably in the disparate health outcomes for communities of color. From these discussions within the All In Network came a three-part series hosted by All In, the Network for Public Health Law (NPHL), and Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) on Racial Equity throughout Data Integration. Part 1 served as an introduction to data integration and how it differs from data sharing. Part 2 delved into AISP’s Toolkit for Centering Racial Equity as well as the work of Baltimore’s Promise.  A racial equity lens in data integration can lead to implementations that are high risk and low benefit, further impeding trust (between those collecting data and the data subjects) which is a critical element in building equitable data systems.

Source: AISP, Toolkit on Centering Racial Equity in Data Integration

As a learning collaborative, All In is committed to sharing and learning from one another’s lessons and challenges to equitable data sharing. It’s important for us to meet organizations where they are in their journey. We asked the audience to rank where they felt their organization was in terms of how they’ve dealt with issues of racial equity. As evidenced below, responses reflect the wealth of knowledge and opportunity within the network.  

One of our presenters, Amy Hawn Nelson of AISP, stated during the second webinar, “Data moves at the speed of trust.” We took some time to speak with our moderator Sallie Milam, Deputy Director of the Mid-States Region at NPHL, to hear her perspective on why Racial Equity matters and where trust-building can occur in the data life cycle, including her work with Tribal communities.

All In: Sallie, thanks for sitting down with us as we reflect on these last two webinars. What practices and resources can we look to if we are interested in incorporating the concepts from the webinars into our practices?

Sallie Milam (SM): Of course, I want to begin with a big shout-out to AISP and their new toolkit Centering Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration. AISP provides information and resources to integrate racial equity throughout the entire data lifecycle as data are shared and linked by the individual. Because centering racial equity is a continuous process, this toolkit provides questions to ask at each stage, for example, lists of positive and problematic practices and work in action. Finally, activities are included to provide additional guidance around who should be at the table, mapping assets and engaging the community, and identifying root causes through factor analysis.

To prepare for the conversation around centering racial equity through data sharing and integration, the first webinar in this series highlighted AISP’s Introduction to Data Sharing & Integration. This intro offers a comprehensive and accessible overview of useful definitions, frameworks, privacy laws, data sharing agreements, use cases, and nuts and bolts guidance for the variety of considerations encompassed with beginning data sharing. 

All In: Throughout these past two webinars, the subject of legal issues (data privacy and the like) have emerged. Could you talk about how you see public health law interacting with this issue (of racial equity in data sharing)?

SM: Law and policies define all aspects of the data life cycle, including collection, use, sharing, and destruction. Data owners may not be able to share data needed to address racial disparities due to restrictions or ambiguities within law or policy. The Network for Public Health Law offers an equity assessment framework for public health laws and policies. This framework assists in identifying issues in the drafting, design, or implementation of a law or policy that could have a disproportionate impact on different population groups. The framework is meant to guide a discussion around how equity is considered in both process and outcomes and can help identify opportunities for improvement. This equity assessment tool is a critical tool at a critical time.

Law may also protect racial equity by prohibiting data sharing in certain situations. Concern over immigration enforcement can prevent immigrants from obtaining needed health care. Many immigrants worry that health workers will share their undocumented status with immigration authorities. Removing barriers to immigrants’ utilization of preventive and other health care services is important for public health. This Network for Public Health Law issue brief explores relevant federal and state health privacy laws and how they apply to undocumented immigrants and provides information on health care providers’ rights and responsibilities when providing health care to immigrants.

Emerging frameworks to enable data sharing across the social determinants of health hold promise to improve racial equity. In this report, SIREN illuminates where health care organizations share personal information outside of healthcare with other sectors – such as housing programs, school health programs, and social service programs – while protecting individual privacy in compliance with federal and state law. De-identification is also a data sharing strategy that advances health equity where it is useful for a community and population where individual-level data are not needed. 

All In: Another emerging topic throughout the past two webinars has been ethical considerations to data sharing, particularly how data practices impact Tribal communities. What are some strategies to center racial equity with Tribal Nations and their peoples?

SM: It is essential to begin with honoring and respecting Tribal data sovereignty. Tribal nations are separate and sovereign jurisdictions. As sovereign nations, Tribes have inherent authority to protect their Tribal citizens’ health and wellness and provide public health services as they determine best. Read more about Tribal public health law and Tribal self-determination. To govern public health service delivery to their people, Tribal nations have the authority to administer the collection, ownership, and application of their own data, which is known as indigenous data sovereignty.

Where Tribes do not have the capacity to collect data on Tribal citizens themselves, they may partner with other jurisdictions, such as state governments. Data sharing between state governments, Tribal Epidemiology Centers, and Tribes should be grounded in a strong data governance program. Data Governance Strategies for States and Tribal Nations. A first step in establishing a data governance program is the adoption of a principle-based framework that aligns with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. 

State governments and Tribes might evaluate starting with the NCVHS Stewardship Framework which identifies eight elements:

  1. Openness, transparency, and choice – what information is being collected and why, consent options
  2. Purpose specification – the initial purpose of the data collection and its downstream uses are defined and made explicit at the point of collection
  3. Community engagement and participation – whether and how communities should be involved in decision-making about data
  4. Data integrity and security – evaluation of confidentiality, integrity and availability risks to the data and a plan to address those risks 
  5. Accountability – identification of a person or entity responsible for data governance at each stage of the data lifecycle
  6. Protecting de-identified data – ensuring that data are de-identified, as appropriate, and have administrative safeguards, as needed
  7. Attending to the risks of “enhanced” data sets – ensuring that re-identification risks are appropriately managed when data sets are merged
  8. Stigma and discrimination – ensuring that data uses don’t stigmatize or result in negative attitudes towards communities

This Fact Sheet provides considerations for state governments and Tribes’ evaluation of a data governance framework, meaningful Tribal partnership and consultation in data sharing, and best practices for data sharing between Tribes and state governments. All In’s Lessons from the First Wave offers real-world examples of successes in Tribal, Tribal Epidemiology Center and state government collaboration and communication around data sharing. Honoring and respecting Tribal data sovereignty is critical for Tribes to protect the health and wellness of their citizens and to achieve health equity.

All In: Finally, in your own words, what do you think is lost if we don’t commit to equitable data practices?

SM: If we don’t commit to equitable data practices now then we continue to perpetuate systemic racism. Existing policies, practices and laws prevent BIPOC from having the same access to conditions needed to be healthy as White people while creating advantages for White people. National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation. These needed conditions are social determinants of health and include socioeconomic status, education, neighborhood, and the built environment, employment, social support networks and access to health care. Beyond Health Care: The Role of Social Determinants in Promoting Health and Health Equity. Systemic racism is not new and exists within the fabric of systems designed to support our most vulnerable individuals. 

The net worth of a White family is typically 10X greater than a Black family. This disparity underscores the impact of 246 years of slavery, violence against Black individuals, and racial discrimination. Today in the US, black children are 2X as likely to live in poverty as white children. While designed to provide cash assistance for low-income families, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) contributes to the Black-White poverty gap. The higher the percentage of African Americans in a state, the lower the percentage of money is actually spent on helping them with basic expenses. A number of states spend federal TANF money on ancillary programs instead of providing direct cash assistance to individuals. These ancillary programs include support for marriage formation, reduction of out-of-wedlock births, and attendance at a Christian summer camp. Welfare Money Is Paying for a Lot of Things Besides Welfare

State governments are building large integrated eligibility systems to better administer benefits to vulnerable individuals. Some estimate that these systems cost approximately $6.5B per year to operate and improve. Integration of health and human services programs promises a client-centered administrative culture and a more seamless customer experience across programs. While these massive data integration engines are new, many perpetuate the systemic racism already built into stand-alone agency-specific data systems and agency policy. 

Equitable data practices are needed to guide governments to steward their resources so that everyone living within their boundaries counts and has the same opportunities to be healthy. Black lives matter.

All In: Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us. We’re looking forward to checking out Part 3 of this series!

Recordings and materials for Parts 1 and 2 of the All In and NPHL Webinar Series on Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration are available on the All In Online Community (create a profile here. Register here to watch Part 3 of this webinar series, live on October 14th, 3 pm ET. 


All In: Data for Community Health Statement on the George Floyd’s Death & Nationwide Protests

At All In, over 200 collaborations are working together to promote community health through data, collaboration, and community leadership. Driving this effort is the fight for racial justice and health equity – without which people cannot reach their optimal level of health and communities cannot thrive.

Over the past week, the brutal murder of George Floyd, the police violence in the face of legitimate protest, and the unjust and ongoing oppression of black, indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) reflect centuries of systemic racism in our country. We treasure our shared community and the opportunity we have to fight together for equity, anti-racism and justice.

We are actively seeking new avenues to reflect these aims in our shared work. On the most recent episode of the All In podcast, Dr. Rhea Boyd referred to the disproportionate COVID-19 deaths of black and brown people as “the epidemic within the pandemic.”  It has inspired us during this tumultuous time in our nation and we encourage each other to listen, reflect and take action.  Black Lives Matter.


Tackling the Opioid Epidemic: Leveraging Linked Datasets for Insights and Informed Action

Communities across the country share a common sense of urgency to take action against rapidly escalating rates of preventable deaths associated with opioid use. While an increase in clinical opioid prescriptions and the introduction of synthetic opioids into the drug supply partially explain the national uptick in overdose and addiction rates, knowledge gaps surrounding more localized factors related to opioid use, addiction, overdose, and treatment makes developing responsive and evidence-based interventions a challenge for states and communities.

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Bias in Big Data: Implications for Multi-Sector Data Sharing

Bias in data is everywhere, from the moment we pose a question to be answered to the point when we implement solutions. The Northwestern Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing hosted a half-day workshop on this topic. The sessions focused on defining what and how bias in big data emerges in our work and the real-world implications. The lessons learned through practitioners’ work with sexual and gender minority communities are valuable and necessary as we build towards equitable results in our multi-sector data sharing initiatives.

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Mapping Public Resources to Advance Health Equity

Spatial analysis or mapping can reveal geographic insights about health-related public investments that remain hidden when applying a typical non-spatial perspective. All In hosted a recent webinar featuring Jeff Maston at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) – University of Minnesota, a partner for the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, and Julia Koschinsky and Nicole Marwell at the University of Chicago, a past awardee of the Public Health National Center for Innovation. Presenters discussed how they have used spatial analysis to identify opportunities to improve community health and reduce inequities around funding and resource allocation across cities.

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Coming Soon: Funding for Cross-sector Partnerships to Improve Health

Complex health problems facing communities today require creative solutions that can impact the root causes that deprive many people of the opportunity to reach their best health potential. Addressing these issues requires partnerships that work across different sectors, leverage an array of expertise and resources, and develop synergistic solutions that are more powerful than what is possible by working alone.

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Funding Opportunity for All In: DASH CIC-START

Call for Applications

Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) is excited to announce a new call for applications for Community Impact Contracts – Strategic, Timely, Actionable, Replicable, Targeted (CIC-START). DASH CIC-START aims to help multi-sector collaborations catalyze their efforts to share and use data to improve health and build a culture of health in their communities. View the current awardees for examples of projects that are eligible.

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