High Quality Race & Ethnicity Data are Essential for Achieving Health Equity

By Juliana Zhou and Cara Brumfield

There are persistent, historic health inequities in the United States, particularly regarding race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, LGBTQ+ identity, and more. This report discusses the need for equitable data collection standards and recent updates to the federal race and ethnicity data standard, the Statistical Policy Directive No. 15 (SPD15). The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) and BlueCross BlueShield Association (BCBSA) formed the Data Equity Coalition to advocate for improved data policies to ensure health equity.

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), part of the Data Equity Coalition, emphasizes the importance of robust race and ethnicity data to address structural inequities in health care.

CLASP and the Data Equity Coalition recommends the following four actions to advance data equity:

  1. Improving data collection requirements
  2. Updating data standards
  3. Collaborating with diverse stakeholders
  4. Enforcing universal adoption of updated standards.

The report emphasizes the intersectional nature of health equity, advocating for a comprehensive understanding that includes factors such as poverty, gender identity, immigration status, disability, and sexual orientation. CLASP calls for multi-sectoral collaboration among stakeholders to address health inequities effectively, emphasizing the need for robust and publicly available race and ethnicity data to monitor and evaluate interventions.

>>View the report

>> Data Equity Coalition: Standardizing Data to Advance the Health Equity Movement