CP TIG Week: Courtney Barnard on Evaluating Community Impact through a Racial Equity Lens

My name is Courtney Barnard and I am a social worker, coalition coordinator, and program evaluator for a children’s health care system in Fort Worth, Texas.

Lessons Learned: I recently attended a workshop on local children’s health data and racial equity. I quickly realized that, though with good intentions, my colleagues and I often conflate race and ethnicity with other factors, such as poverty, education, and health status. In my community these factors strongly correlate with one another. Not only was I making assumptions about people and data based on these correlations, I was not intentionally analyzing outcomes by race. I was left wondering the impact of the consequences on my data analysis, recommended and implemented strategies, and ultimately the community affected by these decisions.

The Race Matters Institute of Just Partners, Inc. (RMI) seeks to ensure that ALL children, families, and communities thrive. When evaluating the effects of our efforts on the community, we must purposefully do so through a racial equity lens. Using this lens allows us to identify how various factors may affect racial groups with different resources and needs, thus shaping our analysis, recommendations, and strategies.

According to RMI, racial equity results when you cannot predict an outcome by race and when data reveals closing gaps in outcomes. It is quantifiable and measurable. When evaluating community impact through a racial equity lens, we must note:

  1. Attention to racial equity is key to advancing the mission for all community members, unless the stated mission explicitly targets a certain race or ethnicity.
  2. Applying a racial equity lens requires that data be broken apart by race. We must collect data by race and then systematically disaggregate the data in a consistent manner.
  3. Racial equity is about our shared fate as a community. It requires all voices and perspectives from the community be represented, valued, and included in policies and practices.

Rad Resource: The Annie E. Casey Foundation developed the Racial Equity Impact Analysis (REIA), a 5-question tool that can be used to assess any policy, program, or practice (PPP), either existing or proposed. This tool can help identify alterations in said PPP in order to achieve greater results for all community members.

  1. Are all racial/ethnic groups who are affected by the policy/practice/decision at the table?
  2. How will the proposed policy/practice/decision affect each group?
  3. How will the proposed policy/practice/decision be perceived by each group?
  4. Does the policy/practice/decision worsen or ignore existing disparities?
  5. Based on the above responses, what revisions are needed in the policy/practice/decision under discussion?

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Community Psychology (CP) TIG Week with our colleagues in the CP AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our CPTIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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