Modernized Anti-Racist Data Ecosystems (MADE) for Health Justice is a grant opportunity that seeks to accelerate the development of health-focused local data ecosystems that center principles of anti-racism, equity, justice, and community power.
Through MADE for Health Justice, non-profit organizations will be funded to build and facilitate multisector teams tasked with creating local data ecosystems. These ecosystems must focus on improving community health, connecting data across multiple sectors of local government, prioritizing the needs and voices of communities oppressed by structural racism, and ultimately driving just and equity-centered decisionmaking.
Community Health, Structural Racism, and Data
Data are powerful tools that can be used to measure and address multiple dimensions of community health. Unfortunately, the data systems that are used to track drivers of community health are largely rooted in racist systems and assumptions. Without critical input from the communities these data systems impact and reflect, at best these systems create a distorted view of a community’s health and well-being. At worst, data are used to fuel narratives, policies, and decisions that perpetuate structural racism and the community health inequities it creates.
Anti-racism, equity, justice, and community power must be at the center of any effort to transform and modernize local data systems – including what they measure, how they operate, and whom they benefit. To realize their full potential, local data systems must be restructured to become ecosystems interconnected generators of information that ultimately dismantle structural racism. These ecosystems must be developed to enhance health community-wide, connected across multiple sectors of government and accountable to the communities they serve and reflect. This transformation is essential to drive just decision-making and make progress toward achieving health equity.
MADE for Health Justice
MADE for Health Justice will support up to five non-profit organizations to build and facilitate a team tasked with developing a multisector, interconnected, and health-focused local data ecosystem that centers anti-racism, equity, justice, and community power.
A grant of up to $1,000,000 will be awarded to each organization to support planning, implementation, and sustainability related to the initiative over a three-year period.
Transforming Public Health Data Systems
Inspired by the National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems established by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), MADE for Health Justice is supported through a partnership between RWJF and the de Beaumont Foundation. It is part of a multi-faceted effort to create a more equitable national public health data infrastructure. Direction and technical assistance coordination are provided by the national coordinating office, led by the de Beaumont Foundation.
Support for this initiative was provided in part by RWJF. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of RWJF.
Values of the MADE for Health Justice National Office
The goal of MADE for Health Justice is to accelerate the development of local, health-focused data ecosystems that are centered around anti-racism, equity, justice, and community power. These transformative data ecosystems can routinely produce more complete, connected, and multisector local information for population-level decisionmaking by prioritizing the needs and perspectives of communities that are oppressed through structural racism. Ultimately, these ecosystems and the information they generate will not simply address the effects of structural racism, but are intended to help dismantle structural racism itself. In service to this goal, the National Office will intentionally administer the initiative with the following values in mind.
We will be honest and transparent regarding initiative-related processes, activities, and purposes. We will strive to communicate with applicants, awardees, communities, and collaborators in ways that are clear, thoughtful, and forthright.
The team and community members that are connected to MADE for Health Justice offer invaluable knowledge and expertise from their lived experiences. We know there is much we do not know. MADE Communities understand their contexts, needs, and priorities much better than we do. As such, we will act with humility and defer to community expertise over technical expertise. We will endeavor to provide awardees and their communities what they need to succeed, and we will be responsive to their needs and requests. It is ultimately our responsibility to set up MADE Communities and the initiative at-large for success.
MADE Communities are our most important stakeholders. They are always at the center of our work and our approaches to it. To that end, we will ask for input and feedback, listen carefully to needs and requests, and ensure that our processes and decisions reflect what we hear. We will collaborate with our MADE Communities as full partners and as fellow co-creators regarding all aspects of the initiative. When it comes to MADE Communities, we prescribe to the aphorism, “Nothing about them, without them.”
A key goal of MADE for Health Justice is to learn, and we will welcome new ideas and approaches. We will be open to a spectrum of possible outcomes for the project. We understand that mistakes and failures are important drivers of knowledge. We will document and learn from them, as they are equally or more important than lessons gained from successes and achievements. We will continually seek and disseminate new knowledge by educating ourselves and sharing this knowledge with others. We recognize that the initiative’s goal of accumulating and disseminating learnings will involve obtaining information from MADE Communities in ways that may be time-consuming and burdensome. We will aspire to collect this information in ways that are thoughtful, collaborative, and minimally extractive. We will be dynamic in our approach to learning and evaluation, and we will collaborate with MADE Communities to shape, contextualize, and co-create the narratives and learnings that we gain.
Given our nation’s centuries-long history of oppression and subjugation – and given the ways that this history has shaped American life, personally and professionally – we will continually interrogate ourselves and our usual approaches to our work. We will build on existing work in the fields of social justice, community power building, and cross-sector collaboration for health equity and health justice. We recognize that white supremacy and structural racism have defined our past and our present, and they confirm the importance of this initiative while also threatening to undermine it. We understand that history matters, and we will strive to be informed and mindful of how a history of racist and exclusionary policies and practices currently impacts different groups’ experiences, opportunities, and resources. We will explicitly consider how our decisions may affect the many people and intersecting identities that are part of this project. We will strive to continually challenge ourselves and the status quo by learning and "unlearning," questioning our own thoughts and motives. Moreover, we welcome and embrace opportunities to be questioned and critiqued by others, particularly MADE Communities. We recognize that power imbalances exist between the MADE National Office, MADE Communities, and others. Our goal is to continually push against that imbalance and shift power whenever possible. We also recognize that equity means not treating everyone the same. We will work to support and uplift differences, make decisions that center those who have been marginalized, and provide resources according to need.