Mathematica Highlights the Critical Role of Data Collection and Program Innovation to Advance Equity in Federal Agencies

Mathematica Highlights the Critical Role of Data Collection and Program Innovation to Advance Equity in Federal Agencies

Jul 07, 2021
Enhanced Data Collection and Program Innovation Crucial to Advancing Equity at Federal Agency Level

In January 2021, the federal government released an executive order titled Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities. To comply with the order, federal agencies must assess whether and to what extent their programs and policies “perpetuate systemic barriers to opportunities and benefits for people of color and other underserved groups.” Agencies must submit their Equity Action Plans to the Domestic Policy Council by January 2022. To support agencies as they develop their plans, Mathematica has responded to a request for public feedback from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on leading practices to advance equity within federal agencies.

With support from our diverse staff and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Dawnavan Davis, Mathematica President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Decker submitted a series of recommendations to OMB. Each recommendation is grounded in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They are informed and enriched by what we have learned over the years and what we will continue to learn about the perspectives and lived experiences of our clients, partners and the communities we serve. Our recommendations include the following:

  • Using equity impact assessments to predict impacts of proposed policies and enacted policy changes
  • Collecting more comprehensive data across programs, including data on race and ethnicity, which can be used to better direct services and supports
  • Applying equity-focused program innovation to evaluate practices and strategies designed to increase efficiency and reduce access barriers across federal income support programs

“Evidence is simply more credible when it is informed by the diverse perspectives of people with different backgrounds and life experiences,” says Decker. “Reducing barriers to supports and services, while making programs more equitable, is not only good for communities, but can produce better results and positively affect outcomes. As federal agencies create and implement their Equity Action Plans, these recommendations and others provided by Mathematica will be grounded in the lessons we’ve learned from more than 50 years of studying the impacts of social policy on people who need these programs the most.”

For more information on Mathematica’s response to OMB, or to learn more about our efforts to support equitable decision making, please contact Dawnavan Davis at or by phone at (609) 297-4650.