DASH Awards Ten Communities to Improve Health through Multi-Sector Data Sharing

January 29, 2016

Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) has awarded ten grants, totaling $2 million, to support projects that improve health through multi-sector data sharing collaborations. DASH is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Illinois Public Health Institute, in partnership with the Michigan Public Health Institute, serves as the National Program Office for DASH and will assist grantees as they develop, implement and evaluate their funded projects.

In order to create a more accurate, robust representation of a community’s health needs, an essential first step is forming collaborations between health care, public health and other sectors, like social services, housing, education, transportation, law enforcement and the private sector. DASH grantees aim to empower communities through multi-sector data sharing, helping key stakeholders make better decisions that lead to lower health care costs and healthier communities.

“When it comes to improving public health, there’s a gap between the data that communities have and the data that they want and need,” says DASH Co-Director Peter Eckart at the Illinois Public Health Institute. “We expect to make progress towards closing this gap, enabling local decision-makers to develop policies and programs that have the biggest impact in reducing health disparities.”

Over the next 18 months, the DASH National Program Office will lead a learning collaborative to build capacity and accelerate learning for developing and implementing multi-sector data and information systems. DASH will facilitate peer-to-peer learning among the 10 grantees, and will expand its reach by creating a shared learning platform. DASH will cultivate relationships among community information initiatives by helping to build a virtual network, which will provide expert guidance, technical assistance, shared knowledge and facilitation of cross-sector stakeholder engagement. For example, DASH will closely coordinate grantee learning efforts with the Community Health Peer Learning Program, a new initiative designed to address specified population health management challenges through increased sharing and use of data from multiple sectors. These networking activities are intended to invite and leverage the participation of other initiatives across the country and build relationships to extend the use and dissemination of evidence-based best practices.

“Our goal is to create a picture of health that is rich, comprehensive, and relevant so that communities have the information they need to make the most effective decisions. We’re excited to have the opportunity to foster collaborations that can have a far-reaching influence on health,” says DASH Co-Director Clare Tanner at the Michigan Public Health Institute.

The DASH grantees will receive up to $200,000 each to develop and implement multi-sector data sharing projects:

  • Center for Health Care Services, San Antonio, TX; Using a Connected Information System to Enable Spontaneous, Shared Treatment of Adults with Severe Mental Illness
  • Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore, MD; Baltimore Falls Reduction Initiative Engaging Neighborhoods and Data (B’FRIEND)
  • Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago, IL; Childhood Lead Hazard Data Sharing Across Sectors
  • Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, Dallas, TX; Food For Health: Coordinating Care Across Sectors to Improve Health among Vulnerable Populations
  • The Fund for Public Health in New York, Inc., New York, NY; Building a Shared Information System Based on Neighborhood Tabulation Areas to Enhance the Community Health Improvement Capacity in New York City
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA; KC DASHH: King County Data Across Sectors for Housing and Health
  • HealthInfoNet, Portland, Maine; Maine Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH) Project
  • Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; Altair Accountable Care for People with Disabilities
  • White Earth Reservation Tribal Council, Ogema, MN; White Earth Nation WECARE Implementation Project
  • Allegheny County Health Department, Pittsburgh, PA; Allegheny County Data Sharing Alliance for Health


About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

About Data Across Sectors for Health
As part of its multi-sector data and information system focus, RWJF launched DASH. DASH aims to identify barriers, opportunities, promising practices and indicators of progress for multi-sector collaborations to connect information systems and share data for community health improvement. The DASH National Program Office (NPO), led by the Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI) in partnership with the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) and with support from the Foundation, is responsible for leading DASH. To learn more, visit www.DASHconnect.org or follow us @DASH_connect.