CASL’s Center for Social Impact (CSI) promotes social impact in our communities by advancing data-driven solutions and equitable policy initiatives aimed at engaging and supporting CASL’s departments and programs. We use cutting-edge assistive technologies to collect and review data at the micro- and macro-level settings of social service delivery. For instance, our agency-wide case management systems (powered by Salesforce) offer us the ability to be at the forefront of best practices in assessment and evaluation methods. The result is a daily dose of real-time information that defines the needs of our community, shows us how to improve our work, helps our staff make informed decisions, proves program impact through dashboards, and ultimately shapes social policy.
Summer 2020, CASL implemented a Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) Assessment to better understand our clients’ everyday needs. Social determinants of health are the environmental conditions that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. The conditions in which clients are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age take into account both material and non-material attributes. Environmental conditions shape the landscape of how CASL delivers social services and measures positive impact.
Assessment indicators were selected from the Chicago Health Atlas, an evolving tool assembled by the City Tech Collaborative and the Chicago Department of Public Health. Using data sourced from 12 Chicago entities, the Chicago Health Atlas serves as a base for CASL’s ongoing evaluation efforts. CASL’s SDoH Assessment contained 42 questions with single- and multiple-choice responses. Participants were recruited by CASL staff and our final tally was 393 responses in just under 2 months.
Our SDoH Assessment Report provides us with a multi-dimensional road map for our clients’ holistic health. By identifying differences between the responses from our sample and the general population in Chicago, we can better understand barriers to health equity and define solutions to eliminate them.