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LEEAD Fellows Alumni Curated Week: Advancing Data Equity through Culturally Responsive and Equitable Data Parties by Chandria Jones

Hello! I’m Chandria Jones, Principal Research Scientist in Public Health and Affiliate Staff at the Center on Equity Research at NORC at the University of Chicago. I’m also one of the editors of the book Culturally Responsive and Equitable Evaluation: Visions and Voices of Emerging Scholars.

In the realm of public health and social sciences, data is the cornerstone upon which policies, programs, and interventions are built. However, data collection, analysis, and interpretation must be approached with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind to ensure that the voices and experiences of all communities are accurately represented and valued. Culturally responsive and equitable data parties are powerful tools for promoting inclusive and meaningful evaluations and advancing data equity.

Culturally responsive and equitable evaluation is an approach, framework, and stance that emphasizes the importance of incorporating cultural contexts and perspectives into all stages of the evaluation process. When it comes to data analysis, data parties can be used as an inclusive and equitable method for engaging diverse voices to review and interpret data. Data parties are time-limited in-person or virtual events where community members, collaborators, or other interested parties come together to collectively analyze and interpret data. Culturally responsive and equitable data parties embrace diversity, acknowledge inherent biases, and advocate for fairness in data interpretation. They aim to prioritize and empower the individuals directly involved or impacted by the evaluation while ensuring the inclusion of diverse perspectives.

When utilized strategically, culturally responsive and equitable data parties serve as effective platforms for promoting data equity. Data equity emphasizes using data for health, well-being, and equity while acknowledging power dynamics, biases, and discrimination in data practices. This approach involves community ownership of data, ensuring protection and power-sharing, and addressing historical injustices through data and storytelling. By advancing data equity, communities can build collective power and address systemic inequities. 

Data parties play a crucial role in achieving data equity by facilitating data democratization. This process involves making data accessible to individuals and providing them with the necessary tools and resources to comprehend and utilize the data effectively. Through data parties, participants can engage in collaborative data analysis, share insights, and collectively work toward addressing social, economic, and health disparities. Ultimately, data parties contribute to better quality data, foster a sense of belonging and empowerment, improve recommendations for health and well-being, and establish sustainable community engagement. By embracing culturally responsive and equitable data parties, evaluators can ensure that their data is inclusive, relevant, and impactful for all communities and contributes to positive social change.

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