2022 Virtual Research Symposium: Assessing Capacity for Using Data to Build Actionable Evidence

  • June 22, 2022
  • 9:30 AM
  • June 23, 2022
  • 5:00 PM
  • Virtual


Overview

Across government agencies, public officials are engaging in activities to facilitate building and using evidence to inform decision-making for improving business decisions, program outcomes, and day-to-day operations that affect the American people. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) set expectations for government agencies to improve their capacity to engage in data-driven and evidence-informed decision- making. A core feature of the Evidence Act is establishing the leadership positions for data, evaluation, and statistical officials, staffing infrastructure, and processes that enable government agencies to increasingly construct and use evidence to inform policy decisions. The first three years of Evidence Act implementation were focused on developing multi-year learning agendas with key learning priorities, the establishment of senior-level officials like chief data officers and evaluation officers, and conducting capacity assessments, to understand the agency’s infrastructure and its ability to produce and use evidence for decision making.

The Data Foundation’s 2022 Virtual Research Symposium, in partnership with George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School for Public Policy and Public Administration, provided the opportunity for researchers, data analysts, evaluators, program managers, and other experts from across the data and evidence community to share knowledge and innovative practices. The Research Symposium highlighted strategies that increase the use of data and evidence for decision-making and a better-informed society. The 2022 Symposium theme focused on assessing capacity for using data to build actionable evidence, aligning with the new publication of assessments federal agencies published in Spring 2022 about their own capacity for engaging in evidence-building activities and other major initiatives of Evidence Act implementation underway in government today.

The Data Foundation invited members of the data and evidence community—including those in academia, non-profits, industry, and government—to submit proposals that align with the conference theme, with preference given to those that focus on the following topics:

  1. Analysis of agency capacity assessments: Research and analyses on agency evidence capacity assessments produced under the Evidence Act and published in Spring 2022. These could include quantitative and qualitative assessments, reviews, or other synopses to identify core themes, strengths, and gaps in agency capacity for evidence-informed policymaking.

  2. Reviews of Agency Evidence-Building Plans and Learning Agendas: Research, analysis, and examples that review agency processes, questions, and plans—including implementation—to identify innovative or promising practices. These can include stakeholder engagement, participation among key constituencies and vulnerable populations, and processes that adequately communicate data and evidence needs from government agencies. Consideration may also be given to lessons learned from how agencies produced and are using initial plans and agendas in practice

  3. Workforce for evidence-building activities: Examples of challenges in and solutions for supporting the growing need for a data literate workforce in public sector organizations. The Data Foundation’s surveys of chief data officers and evaluation officials separately suggest major gaps in workforce capacity. Are there examples of training programs in public sector organizations that have increased data literacy? Are there examples of agency data that could support research in addressing gaps, what research is available, and what policy improvements can be built from this research?

  4. Novel uses of data for decision and policymaking: Examples of unique, highly-salient use cases where quantitative data or qualitative data (e.g., descriptive data from ethnographies, interviews, or observation) were used or linked to administrative data for research, policymaking, or decision-making. Examples should draw on successful use cases, unsuccessful use cases and the lessons learned, or promising practices. Examples should highlight any methodological issues and describe how they were (or could have been) overcome with an eye toward informing capacity assessments in government agencies.

Speakers 

  • Ed Kearns - Chief Data Officer, First Street Foundation and former Chief Data Officer at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Rebecca Kruse - Assistant Director for Evaluation, Department of Homeland Security
  • Brodi Kotila - Senior Political Scientist, RAND HSOAC
  • Coreen Farris - Senior Behavioral Scientist, RAND HSOAC
  • Maddie Powder - Research Associate, Partnership for Public Service
  • Robert Young - Senior Advisor, Strategy, Risk & Engagement, Federal Aviation Administration Security & Hazardous Materials Safety Organization
  • Claire Evans - Research Specialist, King County Metro Transit
  • Truong Hoang - Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 2 , Community Services Division, Economic Services Administration, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
  • Marie Jimenez-Zepeda - ORCA Reduced Fare Project Program Manager, King County Metro Transit
  • Christina McHugh - Housing and Adult Services Evaluation Manager, King County Department of Community and Human Services, Performance Measurement and Evaluation Unit
  • David Phillips - Associate Research Professor, Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, University of Notre Dame
  • Irene Velez - Director, Monitoring Evaluation Research Learning and Adaptation (MERLA), Panagora Group
  • Courtney Timberlake - President, American Association for Budget and Program Analysis (AABPA)
  • Ed Brigham - Executive Consultant, Federal Consulting Alliance & AABPA Board Member
  • Nancy Sharkey - Senior Program Officer, Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program, National Center for Education Statistics
  • Robin Clausen - Stakeholder Liaison and Research Analyst, Statewide Longitudinal Data System, Montana Office of Public Instruction
  • Chris Stoddard - Professor, Montana State University
  • Mathew Uretsky - Professor, Portland State University
  • Angie Henneberger - Research Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Social Work
  • Aparna Ramesh - Senior Research Manager, California Policy Lab, UC Berkeley
  • Heather Gordon - Managing Consultant, Mathematica
  • Robin Wagner - Senior Advisor, Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health
  • Jason Beery - Director of Applied Research, UrbanKind Institute & Member, Black Equity Coalition Data Working Group
  • Ruth Howze - Community Coordinator, Black Equity Coalition
  • Stacey Pharrams - Community Researcher, Healthy Start Initiative & Member, Black Equity Coalition Data Working Group
  • Elizabeth Douglas - Senior Manager, ICF
  • Carla Medalia - Assistant Division Chief for Business Development, Economic Reimbursable Surveys Division, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Ron Jarmin - Deputy Director, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Ryan Smith - Policy Advisor for the Office of Regional Affairs, Economic Development Administration
  • Oliver Wise - Chief Data Officer, Department of Commerce
  • Jessie Rouder - Lead Research Scientist, Behavioral Health, ICF
  • Christina Yancey - Chief Evaluation Officer, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Susan Jenkins - Evaluation Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Tania Alfonso - Senior Evaluation Specialist, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Danielle Berman - Senior Evidence Analyst, Office of Management and Budget
  • Ashley Hill, DrPH - Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh & Member, Black Equity Coalition Community Health Working Group
  • Ben Page - Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Whitney Duffey Jones - Senior Advisor & Chief of Staff to the CFO, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Darreisha Bates - Federal Portfolio Manager, Tyler Technologies & Former Director of Intergovernmental Relations, U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • Jon Stehle - Councilmember, City of Fairfax VA

Agenda 

Day 1: June 22, 2022 (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

10:00 a.m. – Opening Remarks

10:10 a.m. – Informing Infrastructure Improvement Decision-making with the Best Available Science

  • Ed Kearns, Chief Data Officer, First Street Foundation

10:25 a.m. – An Iterative Approach to Developing, Conducting, and Using the Department of Homeland Security Capacity Assessment

  • Rebecca Kruse, Assistant Director for Evaluation, Department of Homeland Security
  • Brodi Kotila, Senior Political Scientist, RAND HSOAC
  • Coreen Farris, Senior Behavioral Scientist, RAND HSOAC

11:25 a.m. – BREAK (5 minutes)

11:30 a.m. – Understanding Human Capital Needs for Expanding Data and Evidence Culture Using a Federal Data and Digital Maturity Survey

  • Maddie Powder, Research Associate, Partnership for Public Service

11:45 a.m. – An FAA Experience: Applying Intervention Research as a Change Management Approach to Implement Evidence-Based Management

  • Robert Young, Senior Advisor, Strategy, Risk & Engagement, Federal Aviation Administration Security & Hazardous Materials Safety Organization

12:00 p.m. – BREAK (30 minutes)

12:30 p.m. – Welcome Back

12:35 p.m. – Advancing Equity through Evidence-Building, Data Integration, and Research Partnerships: A Local Government’s View from “The Other Washington”

  • Claire Evans, Research Specialist, King County Metro Transit
  • Truong Hoang, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 2 , Community Services Division, Economic Services Administration, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
  • Maria Jimenez-Zepeda, ORCA Reduced Fare Project Program Manager, King County Metro Transit
  • Christina McHugh, Housing and Adult Services Evaluation Manager, King County Department of Community and Human Services, Performance Measurement and Evaluation Unit
  • David Phillips, Associate Research Professor, Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, University of Notre Dame

1:35 p.m. – Assessing the Quality of Impact Evaluations at USAID

  • Irene Velez, Director, Monitoring Evaluation Research Learning and Adaptation (MERLA), Panagora Group

1:50 p.m. – BREAK (5 minutes)

1:55 p.m. – Approaches to Assessing Agency Capacity for Evidence Building

  • Christina Yancey, Chief Evaluation Officer, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Susan Jenkins, Evaluation Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Tania Alfonso, Senior Evaluation Specialist, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Danielle Berman, Senior Evidence Analyst, Office of Management and Budget

2:55 p.m. – Opportunity for Partnership – A Budget and Program Perspective on the Learning Agenda and Evidence Building Activities

  • Courtney Timberlake, President, American Association for Budget and Program Analysis (AABPA)
  • Ed Brigham, Executive Consultant, Federal Consulting Alliance & AABPA Board Member
  • Jon Stehle, Councilmember, City of Fairfax VA
  • Darreisha Bates, Federal Portfolio Manager, Tyler Technologies & Former Director of Intergovernmental Relations, U.S. Government Accountability Office

3:55 p.m. – Closing Remarks


Day 2: June 23, 2022 (10 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.)

10:00 a.m. – Opening Remarks

10:10 a.m. – Education Research-Practice Partnerships: Innovative Structures to Build and Use Evidence

  • Rachel Anderson, Director, Policy and Research Strategy, Data Quality Campaign

10:25 a.m. – Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems and Predictive Analytics: Understanding, Measuring, and Predicting K12 Outcomes

  • Nancy Sharkey, Senior Program Officer, Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program, National Center for Education Statistics
  • Robin Clausen, Stakeholder Liaison and Research Analyst, Statewide Longitudinal Data System, Montana Office of Public Instruction
  • Chris Stoddard, Professor, Montana State University
  • Mathew Uretsky, Professor, Portland State University
  • Angie Henneberger, Research Assistant Professor, University of Maryland School of Social Work

11:25 a.m. – BREAK (5 minutes)

11:30 a.m. – Using Linked Administrative Data to Connect Families to Pandemic Stimulus Payments

  • Aparna Ramesh, Senior Research Manager, California Policy Lab, UC Berkeley

11:45 a.m. – Using a Framework for Evidence Capacity to Strengthen Federal Program Offices

  • Heather Gordon, Managing Consultant, Mathematica

12:00 p.m. – BREAK (30 minutes)

12:30 p.m. – Welcome Back

12:35 p.m. – Critical Factors for Building Successful Data Science Teams

  • Robin Wagner, Senior Advisor, Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health

12:50 p.m. – Advocating for and Applying COVID-19 Equity Data: The Black Equity Coalition’s (Pittsburgh, PA) Efforts to Improve Public-Sector Health Agencies’ Practices

  • Jason Beery, Director of Applied Research, UrbanKind Institute & Member, Black Equity Coalition Data Working Group
  • Ashley Hill, DrPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh & Member, Black Equity Coalition Community Health Working Group
  • Ruth Howze, Community Coordinator, Black Equity Coalition
  • Stacey Pharrams, Community Researcher, Healthy Start Initiative & Member, Black Equity Coalition Data Working Group

1:50 p.m. – BREAK (5 minutes)

1:55 p.m. – A dynamic, inclusive approach to learning agenda development for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS): Reflections on the stakeholder engagement process

  • Elizabeth Douglas, Senior Manager, ICF
  • Jessie Rouder, Lead Research Scientist, Behavioral Health, ICF

2:10 p.m. – Best Practices for Monitoring and Evaluating the ARP, IIJA and Other Programs: Report of the Department of Commerce Data Governance Working Group

  • Carla Medalia, Assistant Division Chief for Business Development, Economic Reimbursable Surveys Division, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Ron Jarmin, Deputy Director, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Ben Page, Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Whitney Duffey Jones, Senior Advisor & Chief of Staff to the CFO, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Ryan Smith, Policy Advisor for the Office of Regional Affairs, Economic Development Administration
  • Oliver Wise, Chief Data Officer, Department of Commerce

3:10 p.m. – Closing Remarks

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