To advance its goal of health equity, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health wants to modernize its enterprise so that its technologies, systems, standards, procedures, data, operations, and interested parties (internal and external) all interact in ways that support an equity-centered public health agenda. To that end, MDPH wanted to embark on an equity-centered data strategic planning process and have the planning process itself model the inclusive equity principles that MDPH wants the entire enterprise to embody. MDPH also needed to better understand what the goal of health equity means for its operational and data infrastructure now and in the future. With these goals in mind, MDPH asked ERG to craft an inclusive, well-socialized roadmap with foundational resources to guide its first-ever equity-centered data strategic planning process.
ERG started by reviewing MDPH’s past and current equity initiatives and data infrastructure. We also conducted a series of landscape analyses to analyze equity-centered public health and data modernization initiatives implemented at the local, state, regional, and federal levels throughout the U.S. With these analyses serving as a technical foundation, ERG then conducted input sessions and follow-up meetings with a diverse array of MDPH staff representing many topics, fields, programs, equity concerns, and staff/management levels. We designed these sessions to optimize accessibility and multiple pathways for input.
Throughout the project, ERG iteratively designed increasingly robust versions of an equity-centered data strategic planning roadmap to facilitate ongoing input from varied perspectives. The end result was a well-socialized, actionable roadmap that included guiding principles; explanations of interplays between this and other initiatives/needs; planning process governance and participants; foundational materials to provide participants with a shared core knowledge base; a detailed four-phase planning process; and equity discussion prompts to help participants meaningfully center equity at every step, with transparency and accountability.