Boston College School of Social Work professors Tiziana Dearing and David Takeuchi were at the White House on Monday for the launch of the Obama Administration’s new initiative, Expanding Opportunity with Open Data on Building Stronger Ladders of Opportunity: A White House Demo, a program for which BCSSW will serve as an initial academic research partner.
Dearing, Takeuchi, and fellow SSW faculty member Ruth McRoy are the co-leaders of the new BC Social Work initiative “Research and Innovations in Social, Economic, and Environmental Equity (RISE),” convened to play an important role in the White House initiative (For a more in-depth look at RISE, read this Q&A).
RISE will work with the Obama Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Partnerships (OSTP) over the coming months on a specific data analysis designed to investigate how race, income, and places affect access to opportunity. This collaborative project will produce scientific and publicly-accessible reports about how opportunities are tied to different social dimensions of people’s lives.
“The White House’s Open Data Initiative is an invitation for people to use data that the government collects to try and figure out how we can better impact opportunity,” says Dearing. “And that is a perfect alignment with what RISE cares about. One of the core philosophies at RISE is that people who are experiencing lack of opportunity have to be a part of researching what’s going, designing solutions, framing the problems. That’s critical.”
During the course of the White House launch event, senior administration officials highlighted new efforts that are being engaged to help communities leverage technology and data to expand access to the resources and services that families, individuals and communities need to thrive, such as fair housing and access to jobs, quality schools and transportation. BCSSW is among 30 programs that are serving as allies towards using data to better understand access and opportunity in America.
“It is a dream fulfilled to have Boston College and the School of Social Work engaged with the White House and the Office of Science and Technology Partnerships to assemble the evidence about opportunities and disseminate findings to scientific publications and the general public,” adds Takeuchi. “This initiative is a serious, meaningful, and strategic means to create opportunities for all Americans, such as access to affordable housing, jobs that pay livable wages, timely quality preventive care and medical treatment, safe and reliable transportation, and so on.”