The City Health Dashboard Data Challenge application is open! We invite Invest Health cities to apply for funding, peer support, and expert assistance to significantly bolster local data capacity to inform the policy and programs that influence health and equity. The goal of the Data Challenge is to support small and midsize cities in developing capacity to embed data-driven changemaking into their operations and programs. This call for applications is for awards to support participation in a 12-14 month long cohort of communities working on locally-resonant equity issues using data and collaboration to advance more equitable community development investment.

The application opened Wednesday, August 23rd and will close on September 20th.

How to Apply

The application portal is accessible here. A reference copy of the application questions is available as a PDF.

For information on creating an account with SmartSimple, please view the training video.


Last updated 8/31/2023

Are the recording and slides available from the Q&A webinar held on August 29?

The recording of the video is available here. The slides are available for download here.

Can this opportunity be used to expand data access to surrounding communities to allow us to leverage regional partnerships and funding streams? Or do we need to remain focused solely on our city?

If it is connected to the broader Invest Health work, and it works to address systems challenges for your city, yes it would be ok. Not every Invest Health city team is focused on a specific neighborhood.

Previously our health department, local government served as fiscal agent. Are they still able to, or do we need to find a new 501c3 partner?

It is a requirement that the fiscal agent of the grant be a nonprofit organization, which is a specification which has changed over the last several years per Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant compliance.

Do you have a defined number of cities you are looking to work with?

We anticipate working with 10 cities.

Does City Health Dashboard have the ability to infuse locally collected primary data into our city’s dashboard profile?

Depending on what the data is, the City Health Dashboard team of data scientists can work with cities to add local data.

How much support can teams get in defining goals that are feasible to achieve with this work?

Teams are encouraged to be as creative and ambitious as they can by looking at what’s available on the Dashboard currently. The responsibility is on the program team to try and help teams get there, by working closely to tailor supports.

Should our data questions be program or policy questions based on specific items in the Dashboard? Or could this be a process question about how the data is used to make decisions?

Interpretations from teams are welcome. How data is used is an important consideration that aligns with solving systems challenges, and program and policy questions in support of advancing equity are also welcome. Teams can submit up to 3 proposed data questions in the application, so teams are encouraged to be ambitious if they have a ‘stretch’ question.

We have an issue connecting regional data indicators to local, usable data. Is a community-focused data-driven approach to identifying individuals in need a viable grant request?

Teams are encouraged to consider ways to collaborate across sectors on local data challenges. Consider leveraging a health system partner that may be able to help fill in data gaps? Consider if there is a systems challenge that prevents data sharing? Teams should view questions through a community development lens in considering more upstream health interventions?

Could we propose a data question that sets us up to evaluate the natural experiment that is the community development project we created through Invest Health? Can we use this project to evaluate a proof of concept to better understand return on investment, or as a means to catalyze future community development?

Yes, evaluating approaches to community development and using data to build a narrative designed to build trust and shift attitudes is aligned with this Data Challenge.

In the City Health Dashboard site, what is ‘Other’ in the demographics section?

Other referred to ‘two or more races, American Indian and Alaskan Native, and folks who self-report as Other’.

Can ‘local government’ include a county department instead of a city department?

Yes, teams can collaborate with agencies that will be engaged and be able to facilitate important connections to the broader work. Sometimes a county department will be a better fit for goals.

What are the benefits of participating in this initiative? What can the grant funds be used for?

It’s anticipated that each selected city team will receive a grant of up to $80,000 to support participation. The Nashville convening is intentionally aligned with the first Data Challenge convening in November to streamline travel costs. The goal is for teams to have flexibility in how they use the grants to provide maximum benefits to building the team’s data capacity. Some may choose to use the funds to offset salary for an employee with data strength so they can dedicate time to the work. Additionally, teams will have the benefits of utilizing NYU’s data strength in running the Dashboard for over 5 years and the ability to be connected to skilled technical advisors.