The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation established a commission to better understand the ways in which the nation’s health data infrastructure perpetuates inequities. Now the National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems offers its recommendations on how data can be best collected, shared, and used to improve health equity—and RWJF will fund projects that carry out these findings.
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Charting a Course for an Equity-Centered Data System
Recommendations from the National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems
Data are the building blocks for how we describe the health of people and the communities
where they live—stories that emerge from data help the nation understand and contextualize
what drives or impedes health and how structural factors like racism and other forms of
discrimination influence one’s ability to live a healthy life.
The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the gaps in our public health and health data infrastructure and illuminated the many ways in which they perpetuate vast health inequities. To work toward a modernized health data system, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation established a first-of-its-kind National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems to reimagine how data are collected, shared, and used, and identify the investments needed to improve health equity. Commissioners examined both the systems and the data needed to ensure public health information works for all, including: who the data we collect elevates, who is being centered in our data, who is being excluded, and why.
The Commission’s recommendations for the nation call on government at all levels, business, community-based organizations, philanthropy, and others to take specific action to reimagine and modernize the public health data system.
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