Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH)

Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH), a national initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), supports alignment among health care, public health, and other sectors to systematically compile, share, and use data to understand factors that influence health and develop more effective interventions and policies. This focus on the social determinants of health brings us into relationships with housing, social service, criminal justice, and other community-based and public agencies.

The Illinois Public Health Institute, in partnership with the Michigan Public Health Institute, serves as the National Program Office (NPO) for DASH, assisting communities across the nation as they develop, implement, and evaluate multi-sector data sharing projects. By growing our understanding of data sharing strategies and disseminating an evidence base for the field, we aim to increase the number, capacity, and quality of community data sharing initiatives.

DASH Funding Programs

The DASH CIC-START program (Community Impact Contracts – Strategic, Timely, Actionable, Replicable, Targeted) aims to help local collaborations catalyze their efforts to share and use multi-sector data to improve community health. DASH CIC-START funds contracts of up to $25,000 to support time-limited activities that build local collaborations’ skills and capacity at the community or regional level to:

  • Engage partners from multiple sectors in planning for shared data
  • Systematically share data across sectors
  • Design or implement interventions based on shared multi-sector data.

The DASH Mentor program recognizes high achievement in multi-sector data sharing and seeks to amplify and replicate successful local efforts. Starting in October 2018, awardees will receive funding to serve as “Mentors” for the All In: Data for Community Health network, spreading their knowledge and supporting peers while continuing to advance their own work.

Previously, DASH awarded grants to ten local projects that use data-informed approaches to address a range of public health challenges.

DASH Primary Aims

Monitoring the environment

To deepen and refine our understanding of the landscape in which DASH and similar initiatives are working, the DASH NPO monitors and analyzes multi-sector data sharing collaborations to identify barriers, opportunities, promising practices, and indicators of progress. We are tracking existing and emerging initiatives and developing an online database to connect practitioners to specialized expertise and resources.

Providing technical assistance

The DASH NPO is building community capacity to develop and implement multi-sector data and information systems. DASH coordinates learning activities among the awardees, their peers, and subject matter experts and has created a shared platform to convey findings with other initiatives. DASH is building a virtual network which provides expert guidance, technical assistance, and facilitation of stakeholder engagement across sectors.

Building a learning network

In addition to funding and technical assistance, DASH awardees also receive support to participate in All In: Data for Community Health—a learning collaborative of 100+ communities across the country working to merge data from multiple sectors to better understand and address health challenges. To extend the use and dissemination of evidence-based best practices, the DASH NPO is partnering with other similar initiatives across the country to co-lead the All In learning collaborative. With a common goal of improving community health through multi-sector data sharing and collaboration, projects across the country are joining forces to broaden our understanding of the environment, develop practical resources, share lessons learned, and increase our collective impact. To join the All In learning network, sign up at allin.healthdoers.org and create an individual member profile.

Learn more

If you would like more information about DASH, please visit dashconnect.org or contact info@DASHconnect.org.