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How Data is Helping Ohio Equitably Combat COVID-19 for Minorities

On April 20, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine called for the creation of a new statewide COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force. The disproportionate impact that the coronavirus was having on minority populations throughout Ohio became apparent early on, and it was clear that an informed, coordinated, cross-sector response from multiple entities would be required to adequately protect residents from this new health threat and the economic instability that came with it. On June 16, the Strike Force hosted a virtual community meeting, where community thought-leaders were asked to share recommendations for eliminating health inequities for minorities living in Ohio. Sheri Chaney Jones, president of Measurement Resources and SureImpact, Inc., was invited to share her perspective.

Nine Potential Indicators to Track Progress

The COVID-19 Minority Health Strike Force recently released its findings in a new report, COVID-19 Ohio Minority Health Strike Force Blueprint. The group identified nine potential indicators to provide focus and help shape organizations’ solutions in ways that would most benefit Ohio’s minority residents, and to track the progress and outcomes of this critical work.

  • Improve overall health;

  • Increase access to insurance coverage for people of color;

  • Improve access to high-quality education for people of color;

  • Reduce poverty and increase investment and employment in communities of color;

  • Decrease arrest and incarceration rates for people of color;

  • Increase safe and affordable housing;

  • Increase access to transportation;

  • Decrease the digital divide; and

  • Ensure safe access to voting.

Recommendations Related to Data

Of the 34 recommendations that came out of the Strike Force’s work, there were four related to data that particularly resonated with us. These recommendations are not only applicable in the face of a pandemic, but they are applicable in any circumstance, transcend all types and sizes of communities, and are necessary to collectively solve complex societal challenges.

Improve data collection and reporting

For any given geographic area, and in particular issues related to population health, data sources span organizations and cross multiple sectors. By forging partnerships designed to improve the collection and availability of data, especially when it comes to compiling demographic information, can provide inroads for organizations to more quickly identify health inequities and disparities, so that the solutions they develop can better address population-specific needs.

Increase public access to data and support research

Making racially and ethnically identified health and social services data available to researchers and social sector organizations for the purpose of community-level program design can drive innovation and improve the coordination of resources by prioritizing communities with the greatest need.

Build organizational capacity

To improve data collection of race, ethnicity, primary language, and other demographic factors, as well as qualitative data from communities of color, leading community entities must build organizational capacity to advance health equity. From roles focused specifically on health equity matters and creating expert advisory panels for ongoing guidance to providing training and coordinating all phases of the community’s response, there are multiple avenues for improving the quality and availability of data, which will increase a community’s ability to achieve equitable outcomes.

Develop dashboards to monitor inequities and disparities

Having a comprehensive dashboard that compiles information from agencies across the state and community offers much-needed, on-demand context for the ongoing monitoring of resident health—and having this available in times of crisis is even more important. Inequities and disparities vary among populations and having this information publicly available provides invaluable insights that are needed to take appropriate action in a timely manner.

How SureImpact Improves Data Collection and Reporting

SureImpact is designed specifically for social sector organizations, so that you can change the world from the insights out. From data collection and reporting to case management, our cloud-based platform empowers organizations to take a data-driven approach in the delivery of their programs and services, and articulate their unique stories of impact to community stakeholders and funders. Reach out to learn how your organization can leverage SureImpact to put these four data-related recommendations (and much more) into action. Also, check out our on-demand webinar on “Maximize Your Impact - Turn Data into Dollars.”


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