The following is a letter written by Data Coalition CEO Nick Hart to Members of Congress regarding COVID-19. The letter recommends the passage of high-priority federal data policies that would help address the ongoing pandemic and facilitate future innovation. A PDF version of the letter is available for download.
Members of Congress –
During this unprecedented time in our country, the need for valid, reliable data about the challenges facing Americans is clear. The Data Coalition members strongly encourage our country’s elected leaders to ensure we are collecting the data and developing the evidence necessary to understand these challenges, while also planning for our country’s future policy needs. Enabling data access while protecting privacy is essential for accomplishing data-driven decision-making; fortunately, a set of bipartisan and well-vetted policy proposals can help address these challenges immediately.
In late-2017 a bipartisan commission created by Congress and the President offered 22 clear recommendations about how to improve the country’s data infrastructure to support evidence-based policymaking. While the comprehensive Evidence Commission strategy was designed to work as an entire ecosystem, to date, Congress has only taken action on half of those recommendations. The coronavirus pandemic necessitates action on the remaining unanimous recommendations from the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking to ensure elected leaders have critical information to understand not just the full impacts of the virus long-term on our economy and population, but also to study and learn from the policies being implemented today to attempt to mitigate the pandemic’s effects. In addition to those suggestions, there are several common-sense, bipartisan policy ideas that can immediately improve our ability to measure long-term impacts.
The Data Coalition is America’s premier voice on data policy, specifically advocating for data to be high-quality, accessible, and usable to improve our society. On behalf of the members of the Data Coalition – which include technology innovators, data analytics organizations, management consultancies, data vendors, and non-profit research organizations – we ask that Congress prioritize collection and management of high-quality data for addressing the pandemic. Prioritizing high-quality data and a robust data infrastructure will bolster our country’s capabilities to understand and address the current pandemic with sound policies, while also preparing for future crises in the years ahead.
The Data Coalition’s suggestions include ideas that explicitly align with or are complimentary to the Evidence Commission’s unanimous recommendations. Each could also be considered to temporarily address major data issues. Legislative specifications for each are included as an attachment:
Thank you for your consideration of these critical data priorities as our country and partners around the world work to collectively address the coronavirus pandemic. We recognize the magnitude of the challenge before you and hope these suggestions will support your need for reliable information in the months and years ahead. For immediate assistance, please contact me or the Data Coalition’s policy manager, Corinna Turbes (email@example.com).
Nick Hart, Ph.D.
CEO, Data Coalition
1100 13TH STREET NORTHWEST SUITE 800WASHINGTON, DC, 20005, UNITED STATESINFO@DATAFOUNDATION.ORG
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