HARC is a soon-to-be-10-year-old nonprofit, and we’ve struggled with telling people what it is we actually do for all of those almost-10-years. We are getting better at it (thanks to trial and error and some awesome communications people), so I wanted to try to share with you what HARC really is (at least in my mind).
There’s three big pieces to “who we are”:
To us, the terms “health” and “wellness” don’t just mean medicine, or health insurance, or chronic disease. It also means things like safety, education, employment, etc. These are often called the “social determinants of health”. Basically, you can’t have a healthy community without having a safe community where everyone is educated and has a chance to earn a living wage. It’s really tough to be healthy if you don’t have a roof over your head, or access to clean water, or a network of supporting friends or family. So if you’re reading this, chances are the work you are doing is helping improve the health of your community. And if so, you’re the type of person we like to hang out with!
At HARC, we’re immersed in data and research. We use our statistical capabilities to provide organizations with the information they need to take action. We recognize that the data/research aspect freaks some people out. I am a data nerd (I have a PhD in Applied Psychology, and I looooooove research), but I understand that not everyone gets excited by statistics the way I do. So throughout this blog I’ll try to always make the nerdy stuff accessible, and to share with you some of the parts that I think are especially fun and fantastic. You might not come away thinking, “Wow that’s fun! I’m gonna enroll in a statistics course right now!” but hopefully it’ll be approachable.
Then there’s the last piece: community. If you do research on something, write a nice report, and stick it on a shelf, you’ve wasted your time. Flat out wasted your time, and the time of anyone who participated. The only way that research changes lives is if you do something with it… and in our case, it’s preferably something to improve the quality of life in your community. Data can help you identify needs in your community, and prioritize those needs (“yes, we need 3,000 different things to transform our community to the best one on the planet, but which are the top 3 we should tackle right now?”). It can also help design programs and services that will actually address those needs. And data can be what gets you the funds you need to actually make those programs happen, and really change lives. More on that later, I promise!
So that’s HARC. If you’re interested in any of these three things, I think you’ll like what we do, and our blog!