Researcher Spotlight

A woman standing in front of a fountain
Sydney Idzikowski
Associate Director, Charlotte Regional Data Trust (Data Trust)

Sydney Idzikowski is the Associate Director of the Charlotte Regional Data Trust (Data Trust), where she works with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community to both share and use data to understand complex community issues and find cross-sector solutions. Sydney holds a Bachelors of Social Work from Warren Wilson College and a Masters in Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill with a concentration in Community, Management, and Policy Practice. Sydney joined the Urban Institute and Data Trust staff in 2019. Prior to that, Sydney worked with the NC Budget and Tax Center, where she did policy research around social determinants of health, child Medicaid benefits, evictions, and affordable housing. Sydney also has experience at a federally qualified health center, where she worked to secure health care resources for people without health insurance.

What are your main research interests?

In my current work, I focus on the intersection of equity and data, particularly with integrated data systems like Data Trust. This means building structures and processes that are grounded in equity where community voice and leadership is central to how data is collected, used, interpreted, and shared. I’m interested in using integrated data to study the ways in which our systems can find cross-sector solutions, be leaders in equity and drive well-being for the people who live here. 

What drew you to your field?

I’ve always been interested in the ways in which systems and structures work and how certain decisions influence the outcomes we see. I love the ways that data and research can help pinpoint opportunities for systems change. I also really appreciate the power data and research can have when the people and communities being studied are involved in the process and the solutions. 

What do you find rewarding about your work?

I love talking to people about data and the value of sharing and using linked data to better understand our community. It’s rewarding to be able to examine multiple systems and understand our community in a more complete context, as well as to collaborate across structures and systems to answer complex questions. There is so much potential for collaborative solutions using integrated data and partnerships. 

What do you hope to accomplish or change through your work?

I hope to bring the power of integrated data to more people so that more cross-sector solutions can be developed and implemented.