(CSH) Advancing Equity through Data: A New Tool from CSH

Today's emergency punctuates the deep racial and ethnic disparities in our communities and across the country. Efforts to build multi-sector partnerships to create and sustain change grounded in equity have long been hampered by system-level data silos. The lack of multi-sector efforts to collect and analyze data has prevented holistic approaches to meaningfully address the root causes of racialized inequities.

To address this critical gap, CSH developed a Racial Disparities and Disproportionality Index ("RDDI") that looks at 16 unique systems and measures whether a racial and/or ethnic group's representation in a particular public system is proportionate to, over, or below their representation in the overall population (proportionality) and also allows for the examination of systematic differences between groups and geographies (disparities).

Data is the guide, not the destination and this tool is in service of achieving more equitable outcomes for those most impacted and disproportionately represented across crisis systems.

This this is also a call to action: at a systems level we must move beyond silos and aggregated data to inclusive and disaggregated data in order to address inequities with purpose. As individuals we must ensure racial and ethnic data is collected, reported, and used to inform our programs and the outcomes we pursue.

Data matters, but only in service of designing a more just and equitable world.

-Deb De Santis
 President & CEO
The Racial Disparities and Disproportionality Index

The RDDI provides a standardized comparison between groups. The RDDI also includes a critical element distinguishing it from other standard indices.  Whereas most other indices use white populations as the baseline comparison group for all other racial and ethnic groups (e.g., black rates / white rates; Native American rates / white rates, etc.), CSH's index compares each group to the aggregation of all other groups, and in effect de-centers "whiteness" as the standard from which all other groups are measured. CSH's Index can be viewed as the "likelihood of one group experiencing an event, compared to the likelihood of another group experiencing that same event."

By default, the RDDI shows each system's equity index as part of a stacked bar chart, organized by state. This can be broadly interpreted to show the cumulative disparity on a state-by-state basis, where larger portions of each stacked bar point to the primary drivers toward each state's cumulative total.

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