While the Data Science for Health Equity (DSxHE) community's activities cover a huge range of topics across data science and health equity, we also have a few focus areas into which we dive more deeply - our Themes.

Anyone can apply to set up, lead, partner on, or join a Theme. Themes (and their associated activities) are led by passionate members of the DSxHE community, who are usually highly active in their area (often through their day job!), but are keen to connect with the broader DSxHE community to augment their work and the work of others, and harness the power and ideas of a broader mix of individuals.

These Terms of Reference describe how to propose, run, and wind down a Theme; the responsibilities of Theme Leads; and what DSxHE can offer Themes in terms of support.

Proposing a theme

If you'd like to shine a light on a specific area of interest in data science and health equity, and want to tap into the DSxHE community to augment your work and the work of others, then setting up a DSxHE Theme might be just the thing for you.

What it means to lead a Theme is up to you; all we ask is to plan for an initial year of activities, with a minimum of one activity a quarter. These can be as big or small as you want, and which the DSxHE team will help you organise and promote (see below for the support that DSxHE can offer). Anyone can join you in leading the theme, or also be part of your Theme team. There can also be a core “Partner”, such as an institution that’s largely supporting the work, as well as Advisors who provide strategic guidance for the Theme.

To propose a theme, all you need to provide is:

We will then work with you to help build out a Theme strategy and plan of activities, which will then be read by a panel of DSxHE core organisers to assess whether the plan aligns sufficiently with DSxHE’s wider strategy.

Launching a theme

Once approved, the Theme will be given a page on the DSxHE website at, and a channel on our slack workspace. We will also help you run an informal, virtual ‘kick-off’ meeting to introduce the Theme to the wider DSxHE community. This will be an opportunity to tell the community what activities are in store for the coming months, what you would like from the community, and to start building a team of Theme organisers to help with the running of Theme activities.

Winding down a theme

Themes can be wound down at any stage, but we ask Leads to plan for at least one initial year of activities. We’ll subsequently have annual check-ins to assess whether the Theme should continue for another year.


Different Themes are likely to have different needs, depending on their scope and topic, so our general aim is to be as un-prescriptive as possible.