Health Equity Data Strategy

HCIF’s Health Equity Data Strategy (HEDS) is a multi-year collaborative, which aims to decrease disparities in health outcomes for patients through the collection of race, ethnicity, and language (REaL) and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data. Partnership for Patient Care (PPC) program contributors, including hospitals, health systems, and non-acute care provider organizations, are exclusively invited to participate. Participation in this collaborative will leave organizations better equipped to identify and address disparities in their healthcare treatment through the leveraging of REaL and SOGI data.

The Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) launched the Health Equity Data Strategy (HEDS) Collaborative in 2021, bringing together Partnership for Patient Care (PPC) contributing organizations with the common goal of decreasing disparities in health outcomes in our communities across the Southeast Pennsylvania region. The program’s initial focus is on the collection, stratification, and utilization of race, ethnicity, and language (REaL) and sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data in order to identify and address disparities in care and outcomes. Through the implementation of a “health equity data strategy,” organizations are better positioned to identify disparities and implement strategies for creating equitable care.

The Health Care Improvement Foundation formally enrolled eight hospitals and/or health systems that represent the Southeast PA region of Pennsylvania:

Doylestown Hospital Main Line Health
Jefferson Health Penn Medicine
Jefferson Health Abington & Lansdale Hospitals Redeemer Health
Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Temple Health
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Through participation, organizations will: complete a HEDS baseline survey in order to assess current practices, isolate potential gaps in practice and opportunities for improvement, and identify emerging best practices; learn from local and national experts; share strategies, best practices, and resources; and develop a sustainable health equity data strategy that consists of an organization’s priorities, processes, and parameters for collection and use of patient data to advance health equity. If you are interested in becoming a HEDS participant, please contact our team.


The HEDS Baseline Survey (Report Linked Here) was administered in Fall 2021 with the purpose of assessing how organizations collect and utilize REaL data and to allow organizations to benchmark their equity data strategy journey. Participating teams are encouraged to use these survey results to better understand their current data and practices, identify areas for targeted intervention, and measure progress during the course of the collaborative.


June 28, 2021: Kick Off Event

Featured Speaker: Jaya Aysola, MD, MPH, Executive Director and Founder of the Penn Center for Health Equity and Advancement; Chair of Penn Medicine’s Health Equity Alliance.

This collaborative kick-off meeting outlined who should participate, what participation in the collaborative will entail, and how to enroll in the collaborative. This webinar featured Jaya Aysola, MD, MPH, who discussed the value and importance of collecting and analyzing REAL data.

January 26, 2022: Using Data to Drive Action and Address Health Disparities

Featured Speaker: Shannon Davila, MSN, RN, CIC, CPHQ, FAPIC, Associate Director of the ECRI and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Patient Safety Organization.

This webinar featured ECRI’s Shannon Davila, who discussed ECRI’s top patient safety concern for 2021 and their report, “Deep Dive: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health and Healthcare.” Ms. Davila also shared key strategies for understanding, detecting, and reducing disparities at an organization.

May 31, 2023: Principles of SOGI Data Collection

Featured Speaker: Rosemary Thomas, MPH, CHES, Director of Operations, Penn Medicine’s Center for Health Equity Advancement and Program for LGBT Health. 

This meeting hosted participating organization’s teams to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) data collection, featuring Rosemary Thomas, MPH, CHES, of Penn Medicine’s Program for LGBT Health, and Center for Health Equity Advancement.


May 26, 2022: How to Engage Patients in REaL Data

Featured Speaker: Nikki Montgomery, MA, MEd, GPAC, Executive Director of Madvocator Educational & Healthcare Advocacy Training and Program Manager for Family Voices National.

This workshop hosted participating organization’s teams to discuss the initial steps of convening their team and setting their goals. Additionally, this session focused on patient engagement and featured Nikki Montgomery, MA, MEd, GPAC, who shared about the importance of involving patients in REaL data collection and how to begin that collaboration.

February 16, 2023: Workforce Training: Sharing Best Practices and Challenges Collecting Demographic Data

Featured Speakers: Rosangely Cruz-Rojas, DrPH, Director of Performance Measurement, Improvement, & Analytics at Main Line Health and Shonalie Roberts, MHA, ARM, LSSGB, System Director of Health Equity at Main Line Health.

This workshop convened participating organization’s teams to share best practices and discuss challenges with workforce training as it pertains to REaL and SOGI data collection. This session included a spotlight on Main Line Health and their workforce training program, presented by Rosangely Cruz-Rojas, DrPH, and Shonalie Roberts, MHA, ARM, LSSGB.

 Materials from workshop sessions and webinars are exclusively available to Health Equity Data Strategy Collaborative participants.

HCIF recruited twelve leaders and champions with expertise in REaL data collection and evaluation, health care disparities, and health equity to serve as advisors and provide input into program design. Advisors were convened monthly throughout 2021 and helped to establish the scope of the collaborative and a set of guiding principles, shared current resources and tools, supported the launch of the program, and provided feedback and analysis on the HEDS Baseline Survey. HCIF would like to acknowledge the important role of the advisors in helping to make the collaborative meaningful and relevant.

Jaya Aysola, MD, MPH

Executive Director, and Founder, Penn Center for Health Equity and Advancement; Chair of Penn Medicine’s Health Equity Alliance, Penn Medicine

Victor Caraballo, MD

Vice President, Quality Management, Independence Blue Cross

Rosangely Cruz – Rojas, DrPH

Director, Performance Measurement, Improvement, & Analytics, Main Line Health

Patrick O. Gee, Sr., PhD, JLC

Patient Advisor, Founder & CEHD, iAdvocate, Inc.

Tara Hayden, MHSA

Vice President, Community Health Equity, Philadelphia Collaborative for Community Health Equity, Jefferson Health

Eve J. Higginbotham SM, MD, ML

Vice Dean, Office of Inclusion and Diversity; Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics; Professor of Ophthalmology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania and Penn Medicine

Sumesh John

Business Intelligence Developer, Redeemer Health

Felice Le-Scherban, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health

Shonalie Roberts, MHA, ARM

System Director, Health Equity, Main Line Health

Lakisha Sturgis, RN, BSN, MPH, CPHQ

Director, Community Care Management, Temple University Health System



April Reilly, Director