Powering Public Data for Communities: DataKind Hosts Virtual DataDive® Event

February 25, 2021

Across the U.S. and around the world, cities and local communities are responsible for addressing the everyday needs of their residents. From providing critical healthcare services to fostering economic development opportunities, communities have a growing list of responsibilities. Collecting and analyzing open data can provide local leaders new opportunities to build insights and capacity to better serve their communities and prepare for their futures. Capitalizing on this opportunity, however, will require the support of multiple stakeholders to implement new approaches for making decisions that utilize open data. 

With the theme of Trust, Transparency, Togetherness: Powering Public Data for Communities, we’re excited to host our first virtual DataDive®️ event of the year, kicking off  Thursday March 4, 2021 at 6 PM ET with sessions throughout the weekend. 

Our DataDive events are high-energy, marathon-style, weekend-long events where the DataKind community comes together to dive into Data Science & AI for Good projects and boost the impact of mission-driven organizations. 

Whether you’re a tenacious techie, humble humanitarian, future-looking funder, wide-ranging expert, or simply passionate about social impact, this event will have something for everyone. No previous DataKind experience and no data science expertise are required. Our DataDive events remain one of the best ways to experience the energy, intentionality, and impact our work has in real-time. With partners from economic development, government, community healthcare, and more, we hope you’ll join us for what will no doubt be an exciting, collaborative event!

Do you want to learn more about the organizations involved? Are you interested in volunteering? Read on for more information.   

Introducing our DataDive Project Partners

Helping to save lives by fostering data sharing and collaboration

Realistic patient and population data is necessary for conducting research, creating public policy, and developing effective health applications and solutions. However, mission-driven organizations often don’t have access to this vital data, or, if they have the data, lack the resources to conduct analytics in house, preventing the delivery of equitable and robust healthcare, particularly at the last mile. Working with Medic Mobile and Dimagi, established frontline health tool providers with a clear vision of scaling equitable care but lacking the data resources to do so, volunteers will use machine learning and AI tools to generate synthetic patient data, assess the data and processes for generation, and provide recommendations and a framework for future use. With this, frontline health partners can create equitable health tools that work for everyone.

Increasing humanitarian response by identifying areas for collaboration & data systems improvement 

While many organizations are providing COVID-19 interventions, these solutions contain duplicative efforts, overlook certain vulnerable populations, and are slow-moving in secondary crises. The consortium of CARE, Save the Children, and Oxfam represents a majority of the world’s humanitarian response, and has identified a collaborative opportunity to design the workflows and systems that will allow them to drive timely and accurate interventions using data, analytics, and data science. Working alongside the consortium partners, volunteers will explore existing data on humanitarian response to identify areas of improvement and demonstrate the possibilities and potential for impact of a consortium collaborating to develop insights together. Using publicly accessible data, volunteers will build workflows to bring together disparate datasets, target geographies for intervention, and propose improvements for existing service delivery.  

Combating vaccine hesitancy by turning social listening into action

With the large-scale distribution of COVID-19 vaccines underway, strategies are needed to ensure trust and acceptance for the vaccines and those who deliver them. The CONVINCE coalition was formed to achieve global immunity to COVID-19 by:

  1. Convening local and global experts in policy, health, academia, private sector, NGOs, civil society, and communications to create a "whole-of-society" approach
  2. Connecting & catalyzing action along each step of the vaccine journey to ensure every individual who needs a vaccine gets vaccinated
  3. Communicating with a global audience by sharing quality-controlled, multi-media messaging adapted to meet local contexts

While social media platforms are known to house much of the conversation around COVID-19 and vaccines, CONVINCE’s community partners lack the available data science and analytics capabilities to make sense of all the available data related to COVID-19 vaccine distribution, trust, and usage, and use this knowledge to inform outreach and education efforts in their communities. Using multiple open data platforms, volunteers will analyze trends in public sentiment regarding COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine in relation to information on government distribution plans, and local uptake and perceptions about and previous experiences receiving government support or accessing healthcare services. This exploration will allow for the assessment of open data for real-time monitoring of vaccine trust and provide another resource for policymakers and implementers looking to increase vaccine literacy and acceptance in their communities. 

Catalyzing the revitalization of underserved communities by predicting the cost of environmental cleanup

All communities face complex social and environmental challenges. The impact of these challenges is most acute in historically underserved urban areas, economically depressed rural towns, and tribal communities, which are disproportionately home to minorities and people living on low incomes. Rehabilitating underutilized properties in “environmental justice” communities can be an opportunity to both clean up environmental contamination and stimulate economic growth and quality of life improvements. However, the potential high cost of cleanup on these properties (known as brownfields) can also deter investment, which will exacerbate the decay of a neighborhood if left abandoned for years. Community Lattice advances community development by equipping people with the data and resources they need to overcome these environmental challenges and to create economically sustainable, socially equitable, and resilient places. By leveraging publicly available data, volunteers will work with Community Lattice to derive insights, provide recommendations, and create the framework for a proposed data-driven tool that will allow users to explore over 20 years of data collected from the EPA’s Brownfields Redevelopment Program. These insights will give users critical information about brownfields projects with similar challenges so community developers can better estimate time and cost of revitalization efforts. This information will be used to support community-based organizations in leveraging resources to address environmental issues and to fulfill their own vision for revitalization. 

Establishing correlations between housing vulnerability, race, and socio-economic factors in the U.S. by creating tools and visualizations for intervention

Housing insecurity is a persistent crisis in the U.S., as nearly five million Americans lose their homes through eviction and mortgage foreclosure each year. The onslaught of COVID-19 and the subsequent economic recession are leaving many without a sustainable plan to cover their rent or mortgage. Though ultimate impacts will take years to clearly understand, the loss of a home through forced displacement is intensely traumatic to households and individuals financially, physically, and emotionally. The Future of Land and Housing (FLH) Program at New America aims to help solve housing insecurity by mapping and analyzing displacement across the U.S., allowing for better targeted interventions in the hardest hit communities. Eviction and foreclosure data analyzed through a partnership between DataKind and FLH in 2020 was used by local officials to inform relief disbursement under the CARES Act. In partnership with New America, volunteers will derive additional insights, create visualizations, and recommend action for two U.S. localities, including New York City. 

Volunteering for the Virtual DataDive Event

Help us accelerate these projects! If you’re interested in volunteering for the virtual DataDive event, please register and complete a volunteer application.

Check out the projects we’ve worked on at previous DataDives, supporting democratic freedoms with organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and, virtually, helping cities solve societal challenges using AI with Teach For America and the Trust for Public Land.

Do you want to support our event? We’re looking for partners and donors to support the projects above and sponsor the virtual DataDive event. Please contact us at partners@datakind.org to learn more.

Are you interested in joining us as a non-volunteer? We’d love to have you! Come to our Kick Off event on Thursday, March 4, from 6-8 PM ET and the Report Back session on Tuesday, March 16, from 1-2 PM ET. During the Kick Off event, you'll be able to meet the volunteer team leaders as they introduce the project partner organizations, their work, the project goals, and challenges they might encounter. The Report Back session will include project highlights, wins, learnings, and challenges. Both events no doubt offer an exciting slice into the action. 

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook where we regularly share updates and announcements. We’re looking forward to harnessing the power of data science and AI in the service of humanity with you!

This DataDive event is aligned with NYC’s 2021 Open Data Week, a week-long festival of community-driven events organized and produced by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics’ Open Data program and BetaNYC.

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