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States Receive Data Exchange Grants for Health Equity, Public Health

A new health IT initiative has granted six states funding to advance health equity through community and state data exchange partnerships.

Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) announced a new nationwide program that aims to advance health equity through data exchange partnerships between communities and states.

DASH, led by the Illinois Public Health Institute and Michigan Public Health Institute, developed the Learning and Action in Policy and Partnerships (LAPP) program alongside the nonprofit Center for Health Care Strategies.

LAPP will provide the first cohort of six grantees with funding and assistance 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 in a press release. “Grantees will reimagine how data can be used to build healthier, more equitable communities and share learnings with others.”  

First, LAPP will support the Arizona Housing Coalition in building a statewide data-sharing model between state agencies and homeless care systems to improve patient outcomes in this at-risk community.

Next, LAPP will support public health efforts in Rhode Island led by the Center for Health and Justice Transformation at The Miriam Hospital. Together, LAPP and the grantee will use criminal justice, health, and other data from the public sector to inform justice involvement as a social determinant of health.

DASH also chose the University of South Carolina as a part of the first LAPP cohort. The program will assist the University of South Carolina in putting existing data to use to inform community health and educational initiatives in underserved, rural areas of the state.

In Washington, DC, LAPP will support interoperability efforts to improve access to health and social service information. The project, led by the DC Primary Care Association, aims to establish resource directory infrastructure to ensure those who need assistance are aware that help is out there.

Alongside the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, LAPP will co-develop a data framework for community collaborations to promote population health in Connecticut.

The Washington Economic Services Administration at Department of Social and Health Services is the final member of the first LAPP cohort. The program will support the administration’s effort to foster collaboration between state and community partners to form a shared vision for an equitable economic recovery and future. 

Community members, leaders of community-based organizations, federal and state officials, and subject matter experts came together to strategically develop the LAPP initiative.  

DASH, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has worked with communities over the past five years to build local capacity for multi-sector data exchange. In time, these local initiatives should add up to form a national evidence base of while simultaneously building the evidence base to inform a national movement.  

“Data partnerships between states and communities can drive the policy changes needed to coordinate health care, public health, and social services for people those systems serve, enabling more equitable state and local systems for health,” said Hilary Heishman, MPH, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

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