March 26, 2014

Landmark Race Data Standards

Salem, Ore., March 26th, 2014 -- APANO applauds the release of final rules governing how race, ethnicity, language and disability status are collected by the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services. The rules feature new culturally competent practices and uniform procedures that are designed to improve data collection and inform solutions to achieve health equity in Oregon. An implementation plan will be presented to the Oregon Legislature in June outlining how the new administrative rules will be phased in over the next several years. The rules are the result of House Bill 2134, which passed with strong bipartisan support in 2013 and signed into law by Governor Kitzhaber.

“We know that some racial and ethnic groups experience a higher rate of death from certain diseases such as diabetes or cancer. Having consistent and accurate data collection, including information on race, ethnicity and language, will help improve patient care and decrease premature deaths from some diseases.” says Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director of APANO.

“The consequences of not having accurate data can lead to culturally inappropriate interventions, and, as a result, poor health outcomes.” adds Dr. Connie K.Y. Nguyen-Truong, PhD, RN, PCCN, and Senior Fellow with the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Institute.

The final rules create new minimum standards for disaggregation of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANPHI) data collection, a top priority for APANO. Inclusion of Samoan, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, South Asian Indian, Japanese, Filipino, Laotian, and Hmong are now required.

“This will significantly reform existing data collection practices that currently generalize across too much diversity, and masks real challenges facing many AANPHI.” remarks Jean Yamamoto, Co-Chair of APANO’s Health Equity & Reform Team (HEART). Although AANPHI share geographic and cultural commonalities, there are more than 60 ethnic groups and over 100 languages spoken by people of AANPHI descent in Oregon, who have unique historical, social, educational and economic differences. Aggregated data used alone diminishes the ability of institutions and policymakers in identifying, developing, monitoring appropriate solutions.

The rules also establish a permanent advisory committee to ensure the new standards are updated based on local, state and national best practices, monitor the implementation plan and biennial progress reports to the legislature.

APANO and key partners including the Center for Intercultural Organizing, organized the Data Equity Coalition in 2012. The Coalition introduce HB 2134 after a review of Oregon’s current data collection policies revealed deep inconsistencies and significant gaps that were insufficient to support the needs of Oregon’s diverse communities. The coalition is comprised of a diverse set of business, issue, and advocacy groups in support of racial equity and health equity.

The Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon is a statewide, grassroots organization, uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice. We use our collective strengths to advance equity through empowering, organizing and advocating with our communities. To learn more and get involved, please contact Diem Huynh, Membership Coordinator at (971)340-4861.


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