Health and health care inequities are largely shaped by the conditions in which people are born, live, work and age. Ensuring that federal efforts to collect and present race and ethnicity data allow for the valid identification of inequities between racial/ethnic subgroups is crucial to developing interventions aimed at closing health and health care gaps.
In its letter, the AAMC applauds OMB’s current efforts to partially revise its data collection standards to ensure the validity and utility of the demographic information captured. AAMC supports the current proposal by OMB to utilize one combined race/ethnicity question instead of two separate questions. The revision to the current standard will allow for respondents to more accurately self-identify their race/ethnicity.
Americans of Middle Eastern and North African descent, a group currently aggregated in the “White race alone” category, experience health and health care inequities. In order to maximize the documentation of disparities relevant to this population, AAMC fully supports creating a separate subcategory for Middle Eastern/ North African (MENA) respondents to more adequately reflect their self-identity.
Given the significant health disparities experienced by other populations, AAMC also recommends OMB develop standards for demographic data collection for groups not represented in the current standard, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered populations.