Reaffirming a Commitment to Community: DASH Reflections On The 2021 CIE Virtual Summit

By: Miriam Castro and Susan Martinez, Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) at Illinois Public Health Institute

Though we approach a second year of virtual work, practitioners working in the field continue to be curious about how to center their local communities effectively and how to communicate that in a virtual space. This year’s Community Information Exchange Summit, hosted by CIE San Diego, focused on the importance of an anti-racist practice and practitioners’ responsibility to their local communities. The CIE Summit, which took place September 8-10, showcased community-led strategies to drive systems change that enable more inclusive and equitable health systems. The Summit convened community-based organizations, health systems, public health practitioners and other practitioners from around the nation to discuss approaches.

For the past three years, Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) has been a thought-leader, partner, and amplifier for the CIE Summit. As a firm believer in the power of building capacity and advancing health equity among local collaborations and sharing those insights to inform the field, DASH encouraged the broader DASH and All In: Data for Community Health network to participate and sponsored over a dozen attendees. DASH also curated four breakout sessions featuring past and current DASH grantees, highlighting lessons learned from their cross-sector data projects and offering advice to attendees across the data-sharing gamut.

United Ways were well-represented in this year’s Summit, in part due to DASH’s partnership with United Way Worldwide in the DASH Mentorship and in an All In: Data for Community Health Affinity Group, “United Ways and 211s.” As a moderator for two sessions, Mary Miller, 211 Innovation Manager at United Way Worldwide identified and elevated United Way insights on partnerships with local community based organizations. The “Grounded in Community” breakout session, featuring current grantees from both the DASH Mentorship and DASH CIC-Cohort cycles, emphasized ways to approach indicator and vendor selection without compromising trust in their local communities.  Afterwards, speakers (and CIC-Cohort awardees and Affinity Group participants) Josh Madfis and Kalyssa King of United Way Monterey County led an Ignite Networking session on Growing your own Community Information Exchange, and dove deeper into the benchmarks, challenges, and lessons learned from their exploration of a CIE model for their community. DASH-sponsored attendee Nicholas Winfrey of Maui United Way, a DASH Mentee and “Community Indicator Dashboards” Affinity Group participant, shared that the greatest value of participating in the CIE Summit was “[hearing of] personal stories about issues, wins, and future plans” with implementing a CIE. 

The DASH session recordings are available to view via the links below:

Attendees, including those from DASH and All In, found insights on taking a more human-centered, equitable approach to their work throughout the sessions thanks to a variety of speakers. Physician and data expert Dr. Rhea Boyd moderated some of the most powerful sessions on anti-racism and shared in her session, Driving Systems Change from an Antiracist Framework, the CIE Data Equity Framework. The CIE Data Equity Framework was created to help institutions, organizations and communities understand the historical background and potential solution behind structural racism in the context of multi-sector data sharing systems and impacts on the community. DASH-sponsored attendee and All In member, Rebecca Levin of the Cook County Sheriff’s Department shared, “I learned some interesting ideas about community engagement and applying an equity lens to something that seems as straightforward (and dare I say dry) as sharing data.”








“Participating in the Community Information Exchange (CIE) Summit has been one of the most exciting events that I attend all year. It blends aspirational thinking and pragmatic action to provide a blueprint for putting community at the center of the work,” said Josh Gryniewicz, Founder/Chief Narrative Strategist at Odd Duck. He also crafted a CIE Summit 2021 Event Takeaways blog, sharing his top 5 takeaways. One in particular, Data Literacy is an Avenue for Community Liberation, resonated with us: Dr. Boyd outlined the importance of communities understanding their own data and are thus better equipped to navigate misinformation during her own session.

Discussion on anti-racism and governance carried into smaller sessions. Prior to the CIE Summit, the “Re-imagining Technology in Support of Cross-Sector Referral and Care Coordination” Affinity Group, led by Greg Bloom with Open Referral, focused on the idea that technology is simply a tool and not the solution. Greg’s Ignite Session, The Resource Directory Dilemma: The status quo and opportunities for interoperability, touched on this and other popular topics from the Affinity Group. He emphasized that governance, sound infrastructure, challenging traditional data systems, and embedded anti-racism practices form the basis of an equitable community information exchange. View Greg’s CIE Summit session here.

As we’ve learned, it’s not too late to join in on these conversations, as they will continue beyond the CIE Summit. And, it helps to do so among peer practitioners to unpack how to do this work better. Here are some additional ways to keep the conversation going:

  • Attending the All In National Meeting (also virtual this year!) on November 8-10. View the agenda and RSVP here.
  • Checking out discussion threads (or starting one) on the All In Online Community,  where data enthusiasts focus on health equity by comparing notes.
  • Keeping an eye out on next year’s round of Affinity Groups.

All the session recordings are available at the CIE Summit webpage. If you attended the Summit and haven’t already done so, please take a moment to complete this short survey.