DataHaven, a New Haven-based nonprofit dedicated to researching and sharing public data for effective decision-making by government officials and communities alike, is expected to produce a statewide report on population health equity in 2019.
After receiving a grant from the Connecticut Health Foundation, Data Haven launched the project that will use information gathered on a local level to address larger health equity issues across the state. Data Haven Executive Director Mark Abraham said that the project seeks to produce local-level data about systems that lead to poor health among residents in an effort to improve Connecticut public health and health equity. After releasing its report, policy-makers will be able to use the findings to create health legislation that better serves Connecticut residents across demographic lines.
“Without accurate data about conditions that lead to social and financial stress, lack of healthcare, and other root causes of poor health, we think that policymakers and residents are less likely to work together to evaluate the ‘why’ behind differences in health,” Abraham said.
Data Haven, which was established in 1992, is a partner of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a group of approximately 40 chapters that aims to use local information to effect policy and community decisions.
In this project specifically, DataHaven will analyze the relationship between health factors and variables such as age, gender, race and zip code. The report will also focus on health equity indicators — signs or tests of how a group is doing in establishing health equity for all its citizens.
“Any report is a good idea as there are discrepancies and disparities to people’s access to health care and the cost of health care throughout the country,” Matthew Nemerson, New Haven’s economic development administrator, told the News.
Nemerson mentioned that Connecticut is often ranked in the top five of all states for issues such as environmental health and health care. Still, he believes there are still many health issues to address in the state among different populations.
In the Elm City, Data Haven has produced tools, reports and technical assistance programs to help provide communities with new and improved information. Over the past 25 years, Data Haven has worked with over 30 partners and sponsors in Connecticut, including the Yale-New Haven Health System, the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale and the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement at Yale.
“DataHaven’s mission has been to democratize public data, which means working to make it accessible to everyone so that all different communities can get it and use it.”
DataHaven focuses on gathering information on specific populations often underrepresented and misunderstood in top government offices.
The report, expected to be released in 2019, will draw data from multiple sources — including the DataHaven Community Wellbeing Survey has interviewed about 32,000 adults throughout Connecticut. Initial results and reports from the survey, which has over 90 private and public sponsors from Connecticut, were released from 2015–17, and more results are expected within the next year.
Along with drawing from the survey, DataHaven will also incorporate outreach and participatory data analysis into the project.
“The project also involves outreach, participatory data analysis and data sharing with smaller population groups statewide in order to help those communities develop useful, meaningful information related to their own well-being,” said Abraham. “These groups often have not been included in general population statistics, so it is difficult for them to document their health status as a community, and as a result they sometimes have been ignored in decision making.”
On Nov. 19 this year DataHaven will celebrate its 25th anniversary, hosting a statewide data release event.
Emmett Shell | firstname.lastname@example.org