Marynia Kolak was featured in the Chicago Department of Public Health's April 2018 Healthy Chicago 2.0 newsletter:
"Marynia is a health geographer data scientist at University of Chicago's Center for Spatial Data Science. She investigates health inequalities and the social determinants of health in policy-driven research using modern spatial analysis and statistics. In so many cases, where someone lives determines the majority of their health outcomes; Marynia is interested in why and how that is the case, and what can be done to move this system towards equity.
In a recent collaboration with CDPH, the Center for Spatial Data Science, the Metropolitan Planning Council, and the Build Healthy Places Network, Marynia led the analytic direction in creating a new framework to measure impacts of holistic community development. Building on the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) Social Impact Calculator and social return on investment research, the team calculated new multipliers to capture multi-dimensional returns in affordable and supportive housing, community clinics, and transit-oriented and walkable developments. The framework also accounts for common development concerns: for instance, by reducing the projected return on investment if there is a potential for resident displacement.
This tool is intended to highlight the financial and social benefits of holistic development, in hopes that that partners from across sectors will join together to invest in communities. The calculator isn't meant to evaluate a specific project (only a carefully constructed experiment can do that) or predict the future, but it can bring the best available knowledge to the forefront in our discussions on community development and equity. Marynia hopes that this tool will be further refined, debated, tested, and improved upon as it is used by community development organizations to make the case for their work. By bringing population-level impacts to the forefront, it could likewise inform policy and be useful in determining how cities and organizations prioritize funding.
Look out for the forthcoming white paper with more information via the Build Healthy Places Network later this spring or early summer! For more questions about her work, email Marynia at firstname.lastname@example.org."