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IOM and Yale School of Public Health Launch Data Responsibility Initiative

March 03, 2022

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) are collaborating to produce a series of articles capturing best ethical, technical, and contextual data responsibility practices across the public health sectors in humanitarian response, human development, and migration management.

Within the past decade, digital data and information communication technologies have been increasingly used in humanitarian response and related sectors for purposes ranging from registration and identity management to supply chain tracking and mobile cash transfers. However, there is mounting evidence that these technologies and techniques could risk increasing the threats to health, human rights, and safety that vulnerable communities already face.

“The responsible use of data is core to the work IOM staff does in over 100 countries around the world,” said António Vitorino, IOM’s Director General. “How we responsibly use data decides whether we have the trust of the populations we work with. Our partnership with the Yale School of Public Health will help identify and advance best practices in data responsibility and close gaps in practice.”

YSPH Dean Sten H. Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., said data responsibility is critical.

“From COVID-19 to cyberattacks on humanitarians, data responsibility is more critical to the practice and study of public health of migrants and refugees than ever,” said Vermund, Yale’s Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health. “The United Nations and its agencies have a high-level role towards data responsibility, integrating core practices and principles towards health for all. YSPH is proud to partner with the IOM to further this vital work.”

The submission period for the first volume in the series, Defining Data Responsibility: Tensions and Tradeoffs – being compiled by YSPH’s Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL) – opens March 3, 2022. Through case studies, quantitative approaches and theoretical essays, Tensions and Tradeoffs will explore what factors may cause organizations to adopt certain technologies, data collection and management strategies, and security policies. Additional volumes will focus on case studies to demonstrate best practices, instances of harm, existing regulations, and standard practices. An agenda for good governance also will be proposed.

The principal investigator for the project is YSPH Associate Professor of Epidemiology Kaveh Khoshnood, faculty director of the HRL. The supervising editor of the series is Nathaniel A. Raymond, lecturer in Global Affairs at Yale’s Jackson Institute and lecturer in Epidemiology at YSPH. The series is advised by Cynthia Brandt, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Emergency Medicine, Biostatistics; director, Yale Center for Medical Informatics; Kate Nyhan, research and education librarian for Public Health, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale University; and Karen Wang, M.D., M.H.S., assistant professor of Internal Medicine and Public Health; associate director for Population Health Informatics and Equity, Yale Center for Medical Informatics. Olivia Mooney is the project manager.

Parties interested in submitting content for consideration for the first volume should visit the Humanitarian Research Lab website. Article proposals must include an abstract and short explanation connecting proposals to the themes outlined in the call. Individuals and organizations are asked to submit content by April 12, 2022.

Submitted by Sabrina Lacerda Naia dos Santos on March 03, 2022