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Grants Slot COVID-19 Relief Funds for Community Health Data Sharing

A health IT initiative will grant organizations funding to align COVID relief planning to advance policies for health data sharing improving health equity within the community.

Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) has awarded organizations in Nebraska, New Mexico, Georgia, Utah, and Connecticut funding to support community partnerships with the state or local government and align COVID-19 relief funds for better health data sharing policy development.

Historically, disjointed data sharing across healthcare, public health, social services, and other sectors beyond health has inhibited equitable care coordination and community-driven health improvement efforts, the press release stated.

The investments allow for a crucial opportunity to amplify existing community relationships and data sharing initiatives while simultaneously helping states achieve their population health and health equity goals.

"Community members experiencing systemic health disparities are uniquely qualified to identify and implement equitable solutions," Jimmieka Mills, co-founder of Equitable Spaces, said in an announcement.

"Equitable Spaces is encouraged that LAPP II created opportunities for those with this lived expertise to participate in the selection process of their partner grantees, demonstrating the project's commitment to honor, value, and incorporate the knowledge and perspectives of those who have been historically sidelined in the decisions surrounding the policies and programs that directly impact their lives." 

The $80,000 grants were provided by the Learning and Action in Policy and Partnerships (LAPP) program alongside the Center for Health are Strategies (CHCS).

First, the LAPP funding will support a Nebraska project for "Developing a Roadmap for Democratizing Data for Housing and Homelessness Leveraging COVID-19 Funding" led by Cync Health.

"The focus of this project is leveraging the voices of those at risk for and that work directly with those at risk for homelessness to understand their data needs to address social determinants of health that affect housing," Joy Doll, vice president of Community and Consumer Programs at CyncHealth, said in a press release.

In New Mexico, the funding will support a project led by the Center for Health Innovation to create a statewide Food, Hunger, and Farm (FHF) data infrastructure addressing basic needs and insecurity issues worsened by COVID-19. 

The funding will also support a project in Georgia titled "Invert the Burden: How to Build a More Equitable Service Access System to Address Persistent Inequities in Metro Atlanta" led by Atlanta Regional Collaborative for Health Improvement (ARCHI). 

In Utah, the funding will support the project "Removing Barriers Utilizing Greater Digitization to Advance Navajo Elder Services in Coordinating Truly Wraparound Care and Services in San Juan" led by San Juan County.

Lastly, the award will also be granted to the Connecticut Data Collaborative for its "Hartford Data Collaborative Behavioral Health Indicators for City Youth" project.

"A primary goal of this project is to develop a better understanding of youth behavioral health in Hartford and across Connecticut, to enact more effective and equitable systems for youth," Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director of the CT Data Collaborative, said in a press release.

"The project will expand Hartford's ability to learn about its youth outcomes, particularly in behavioral health, by providing data-driven insights."

This is DASH's second round of funding. In 2021, DASH, led by the Illinois Public Health Institute and Michigan Public Health Institute, awarded six grantees in Arizona, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington with funding to enhance community data exchange capabilities for improved care and health equity.

“Bridging multi-sector data from states and communities is a necessary step to achieving equity,” Elissa Bassler, MFA, co-program director of DASH and chief executive officer of the Illinois Public Health Institute, said at the time of the 2021 grants. "Grantees will reimagine how data can be used to build healthier, more equitable communities and share learnings with others." 

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