Abstract: Using a Racial Equity Impact Analysis to Reduce Disproportionality (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

Using a Racial Equity Impact Analysis to Reduce Disproportionality

Friday, January 18, 2019: 8:00 AM
Union Square 15 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Susan McCarter, PhD, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Background and Purpose: The Racial Equity Impact Analysis is an innovative tool that compares outcome indicators disaggregated by race and ethnicity across systems and across time.  Similar projects are described by the W.K. Kellogg and Annie E. Casey Foundations (www.racialequityresourceguide.org), as well as Race Forward (www.raceforward.org) and the Government Alliance on Race Equity (www.racialequityalliance.org), but have only been undertaken in a few cities – most notably, Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative and the cities of Portland, Oregon and St. Paul, Minnesota.  Racial Equity Impact Analyses (or Assessments) are systematic examinations of existing data, policies, programs, and practices for any possible inequitable impact on/outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.  The purpose of this REIA was to identify, reduce, eliminate and prevent racial discrimination and inequities which is consistent with similar initiatives in social work (James, Green, Rodriguez, & Fong, 2008) and child welfare (Johnson, Antle, & Barbee, 2009), for example.

Methods: This paper describes the implementation of a Racial Equity Impact Analysis in a large, diverse southeastern metropolitan city.  This funded research/REIA constructed a model of health/well-being indicators (e.g., Infant Mortality Rates, Number of Children in Foster Care, 3rd grade Reading and Math Scores, Dropout Rates, Suspension Rates, Graduation Rates, Probation Rates, Incarceration Rates, Diabetes Deaths, Heart Disease Deaths, Homicide Deaths).  The researchers collected the related data and analyzed those data all disaggregated by race and ethnicity for the years 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015.  These data establish both trends as well as provide an accurate baseline to inform local, regional, and national policy and practice change.

Results: Through 3 phases of the REIA, a model was constructed to examine knowledge, values/beliefs, and behaviors/outcomes (King, Gulick, & Avery, 2010), at both the explicit and implicit levels using both quantitative and qualitative data and taking into account social context and history.  During Phase I social work scholars worked with community partners to 1) Identify and engage stakeholders, 2) Disaggregate data/assess racial inequities, and 3) Examine contributors.  Phase II 1) Clarified the purpose of the REIA and 2) Considered adverse impacts and advanced equitable impacts.  And Phase III brought stakeholders together to 1) Examine alternatives, 2) Ensure sustainability, and 3) Identify success indicators.

Conclusions and Implications: Racial Equity Impact Analyses make a unique contribution to understanding racial and ethnic disparities across systems.  In order for a jurisdiction’s racial equity work to be transformative, the REIA should include multiple systems, policies, and practices, and the focus should be on changing policy and organizational culture.

Model construction, data collection, and analysis; dissemination, implications, and replication strategies will be covered such that social work practitioners, scholars, educators, and advocates can consider the data available in their own jurisdictions which could be used to build an REIA.