Data sharing partnerships between health and education sectors can help both parties work toward a common vision of improving students’ well-being. Although the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) can sometimes discourage communities from taking action, one Chicago collaboration developed a proactive data sharing and services agreement that eliminates common roadblocks to implementing health programs in schools while protecting students’ privacy.
Motivated by the desire to move projects forward that would improve health and educational outcomes for Chicago students, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Department of Public Health envisioned a pathway to align and streamline data sharing efforts, ultimately resulting in a more efficient process. They developed an intergovernmental agreement, compliant with FERPA, that is broad in scope and acts as an umbrella to share commonly used data types between the two entities, such as demographics, immunizations, physical exams, chronic disease, academic performance, vision, hearing, oral health, and social determinants of health.
This bright spot developed by Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) describes the story behind this innovative agreement and outlines key elements for success to help other communities interested in taking a similar data sharing and legal approach.