Centering racial justice in integrated data

All work that relies on Ecosystem services and data must have a race-explicit orientation and center efforts on race equity. 

Race-explicit means speaking about race or racism without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity. Centering efforts in race equity means that we seek to understand how institutional, societal, and interpersonal racism has differently, and negatively, affected the health, well-being, and economic opportunity outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC). To learn more about what a race-explicit framework and race equity lens includes:

  • Study planning explicitly seeks to understand the role racism plays in the outcome(s). For example, research using overdose prevalence data should respond to how criminalization, systemic racism and institutional bias have dramatically worsened outcomes and closed off pathways to healing and recovery for many people of color.
  • Study planning includes a representative group of BIPoC stakeholders who can guide the analytic questions, data use, interpretation, and impact from start to finish.
  • Study intent explicitly seeks to support—not punish or further harm—BIPoC populations or populations who have historically been subject to racism.
  • All analyses show results by race, ethnicity, and other key demographics (age, gender, SOGI, location) where possible – and identify means for completing data where not possible.
  • Acknowledge the role the state government or non-state actors may have perpetuated these harms and seek healing, community-led, anti-racists paths forward as part of the study’s findings and recommendations.

Responses can include efforts to understand the historical and current role racism has played in the research question or underlying dynamic; efforts to use data to elevate, quantify, or understand racialized and inequitable outcomes, experiences, or pathways; meaningful, diverse, and representative community involvement in study development from design through dissemination; and efforts to address historical and ongoing harm through these data insights.

For a reference framework, please refer to resources including Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy’s Toolkit for Centering Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration and University of New Mexico’s Community Based Participatory Research.

Become a community advisor volunteer

We are committed to co-designing solutions—answers to questions, information back to communities themselves to promote self-advocacy and efficacy—with the communities we serve.  We welcome folks who are interested in advising us to make sure the questions we ask, the work we do, and the way we share promote health, healing, and well-being—and avoid perpetuating harms and inequities. Where possible, the Ecosystem team goes to existing forums, as well as invites folks into standalone forums.

If you’d like to join our community advisors, who support specific projects as they arise, please email us at  We’ll be in touch to learn more about you and how we can best learn from each other.  We may be able to provide compensation for people not employed by the state or an organization funded by the state.

Using a racial equity lens: a model for co-designing with community