The Data Justice Working Group
Data-Driven Equity Advancement
brings together experts involved in public health, medicine, nursing, philanthropy,business development, data access, and visualization to acquire, work with, and findmeaning in data that applies to the goals and strategic priorities of the Black EquityCoalition. The members have affiliations to and experience with a range oforganizations, including the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh MedicalCenter (UPMC), Carnegie Mellon University, Gateway Medical Society, the UrbanKindInstitute, and a number of local philanthropies. While the group’s initial responseinvolved cobbling together what limited data was made available, as the Data WorkingGroup moved deeper into 2020, the response became less-focused in crisis and morestrategic, researching what is possible with existing data systems. By leveragingexisting open data infrastructure, data sharing agreements, and the personalconnections with colleagues in public agencies, the BEC began to build a whole newinfrastructure for addressing health disparities and broader equity challenges. Thegroup’s activities include the creation of data visualizations, such as the COVID RaceData Portalwww.covidcreatlab.orgwhich is updated daily and presents data on topicssuch as per-capita COVID disparities by race and location over time in AlleghenyCounty. This group also provides critical information to the Huddle Working Group toadvocate for better data policies and processes for state and localhealth departments.
We advocate for openness in conversations, processes, and data. Transparency fosters trust and accountability
We are accountable to each other, to the community, and unafraid to hold other s to account.
We want data to lead to meaningful change. Our work informs, changes mindsets, fosters accountability, and shifts power.
We are responsible and trusted advocates and ethical in how we use data.
We believe people that have historically been oppressed and harmed by data systems should have power over how they’re designed and used.
Equity and Justice
We ensure that people are appropriately made visible, accurately represented, and fairly treated in data prac tices and data systems.
Anti - Racism
We actively oppose racism in institutions, people, data sets, data systems, and technologies.
In May 2021, the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) conferred the G. Thomas Kingsley Impact Award to the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center for their support of the Black Equity Coalition. This award recognizes an NNIP partner organization that has demonstrated impact using data to improve local policy and practice to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods. NNIP is a learning network, coordinated by the Urban Institute, that connects independent partner organizations in more than 30 cities. The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center is the partner organization for Pittsburgh.
The BEC was awarded an Open Data for Good Grand Challenge Award in 2021 for work on its Covid-19 Data Dashboard by The Opportunity Project. The Opportunity Project is a program of the Census Open Innovation Labs at the U.S. Census Bureau, and offers a framework for agencies to facilitate collaboration between technologists and community advocates in order to rapidly design digital solutions for the public good. https://opportunity.census.gov/
The BEC was one of five communities awarded a grant by the CDC Foundation to take part in an initiative to promote equitable data use. The communities involved in the effort will explore opportunities to develop and use small area health outcomes data, including products like CDC’s PLACES dataset that rely on data from two CDC surveys, the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
The BEC has been exploring the topic of neighborhood change and its impacts on Black residents in Allegheny County. Data from the 2020 Census shows that Pittsburgh’s Black population is declining, while the number of Black people in the rest of Allegheny County has grown. In an effort to elevate the experiences of people and communities that are experiencing this change, the BEC has engaged residents in four neighborhoods in focus group conversation to learn more about their experiences and the implications of these population shifts on their community.