Paterson Achieves What Works Cities Silver Certification

City recognized for exceptional use of data to improve residents’ lives.

Mayor Andre Sayegh joined Paterson Chief Data Officer Harsha Mallajosyula and Lauren Su, Director of Certification at Results for America, recently to announce that Paterson has achieved What Works Cities Silver Certification.

What Works Cities Certification is the national standard of excellence in the data-driven city governance. The Certification evaluates how well cities are managed by measuring how city leaders incorporate data and evidence in their decision-making.

“We started from zero, and we only had one way to go, up,” Sayegh said. “And that’s where we continue to go. Now, I’m so proud because Paterson is a Silver certified City because cities win with data.”

What Works Cities Certification, a national Bloomberg philanthropies initiative led by Results for America, awarded Certification to 55 U.S. cities for outstanding data practices since 2017.

“This is an exciting time in the City of Paterson,” Mallajosyula said. “We’ve been working closely with the City staff to analyze data and dashboards and achieve certification.”

“We are thrilled to celebrate our commitment to data-driven decision-making and showcase your leadership as a national example for using data and evidence to drive local government,” Su said. “The growing impact of Paterson’s Opioid Response Team is only one of many ways Paterson is using data to improve the lives of its residents.”

Leaders of the Paterson Coalition for Opioid Assessment and Response (COAR) also provided an update regarding the progress and activity of the City’s Opioid Response Team. With the help of What Works Cities tools and partners, COAR’s efforts make City data actionable and responsive to supporting ground-level interventions.

“It’s critical to understand really where our resources can be better positioned and targeted for the benefit of residents,” Andrea Ramalho, Alternative Public Safety Strategies said. “The Opioid Response Team is very much an example of that. What we are trying to do is collect data to understand police as well as fire what exactly is happening in terms of opioid overdose calls and also the response.”

Ramalho also mentioned that 2% of the overall street segments account for 22% of all overdoses. What the Team is currently doing is having specially trained EMS workers, police officers and more in a team to this geographical area to promote positive and solid information about recovery options that are proven to reduce mortality.

The Team has been able to reach 700 individuals to date with a referral for any sort of programming and any data-driven understanding of mortality reduction resources. About 425 of those individuals have used those resources.

“The data we are collecting is able to help us guide these next steps,” Ramalho said. “So we understand that anywhere from 30 to 40% of all overdoses per month are typically someone who has already overdosed before. The goal is reaching them and making sure that we can help them.”