The Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Visualizing Healthy Lives
Everyone deserves fair and just opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives. The newly released United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Project (USALEEP) dataset —a census tract-level dataset on life expectancy at birth— shows that people just a few miles apart may face vastly different opportunities for a long life. These new data can help pinpoint geographic disparities in life expectancy and initiate a conversation that leads to action.
The factors that most affect the health of communities often lie outside of what may be traditionally seen as “health.” These factors often affect people differently – depending on their racial identity, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or geographic location. Reducing and ultimately eliminating differences in health outcomes and ensuring no one is denied the opportunity for a long and healthy life can also be known as health equity.
Visualizing Healthy Lives is an initiative committed to narrowing the gaps in life expectancy by effectively and powerfully visualizing USALEEP data for a wider audience. The goal is to support data visualizations that jumpstart conversations about the causes of life expectancy disparities and how communities can address these disparities more effectively. This grant initiative is calling upon data visualization specialists to create powerful and understandable visualizations of the USALEEP data in order to effectively communicate the data to a wider audience and promote a shared vision of better health for all.
Applications are welcome from organizations that use the USALEEP data to develop visualizations that advance effective calls to action, foster stronger collaborations, and support greater understanding of factors that potentially affect how well and how long people live, such as access to safe and affordable housing, educational opportunities, and health care. Applicants should submit data visualization project ideas that expand on conversations currently in communities around health and factors that shape health such as access to reliable transportation, safe and affordable housing, quality education, and economic opportunity. Projects should fall under one of the two data visualization categories below:
- Exploratory visualizations: Projects that help a target audience (e.g., community organizations or key decision makers) answer specific questions, solve specific problems or explore the depth of the USALEEP data. Sample projects include: 1) Crime in context, an analysis of the occurence of violent crime; and 2) Mapping America’s futures, a map testing possible scenarios for how the U.S. population might change by 2020 and 2030.
- Explanatory visualizations: Projects that include an analysis of USALEEP data. Many such analyses may require USALEEP data to be combined with or compared to another external dataset to show how other factors influence life expectancy disparities; however, this is not required as long as some reference to current conversations exist in the proposal (whether those references be quantitative data, qualitative data, or part of a narrative discussion). Sample projects include: 1) Here’s every total solar eclipse happening in your lifetime; and 2) Everyday violence: Gunfire near DC schools.
Amount: A total of $1,000,000 is available to fund 3-5 projects.
Eligibility: Submissions are accepted from any organization interested in exploring disparities in life expectancy across communities. Eligible organizations include but are not limited to community changemakers, nonprofit practitioners, local government offices, researchers, data analytic companies, service providers, journalists, and graphic designers. Visualizing Healthy Lives seeks to fund teams with data visualization expertise that can create understandable and powerful visualizations of the USALEEP data that will lead to action.
Note: Universities are ineligible to apply as lead applicants but can serve as a partner to eligible applicants.
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