Within place-based, cross-sector collaboratives that are addressing complex social issues, using data from multiple sectors can create a more complete understanding of the drivers of the social issue and can drive strategic decision-making. In the Lehigh Valley, there are numerous sectors and endless agencies who are all serving the same community. How do we know if the collective of our individual efforts are making a difference? How do we know we truly understand the issues the community is facing and are targeting the right level of community to make a difference?
The Lehigh Valley Hub is a tool that can help support community change efforts that focus on cross-sector collaboration based on data. The intent is to use data throughout a community change effort rather than just at the end to determine the impact of an initiative. Strategic learning requires consistent questioning of assumptions, re-evaluation of data, and real-time changes to initiatives to ensure it is reaching the intended outcomes. Our goal is to expand the capacity of community partners in the Lehigh Valley to make data-informed and data-driven decisions and to use population-level health indicators as a measure of overall health and wellness of our communities.