Director of the NH Health and Equity Partnership
125 Airport Road
Concord, NH 03301
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Improving Data Collection and Use to Identify Issues
As NH diversifies, it becomes increasingly important to understand and address how racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities experience health disparities. This necessitates an understanding of differences in health and in factors that affect health including health care, social determinants, and individual behavior. In order to understand and address these variations, we must be able to measure them. This requires common standards for what information is collected, how it is collected, training of data collectors, and how data is utilized. At the same time, public education and engagement is necessary so that minority populations understand the importance of data collection and feel comfortable with supplying the information.
Data - Key Points
- Improving collection of data on race, ethnicity and language is a priority for identifying, tracking and monitoring health disparities and improvements in health equity.
- Health and human service organizations in NH vary in their collection, reporting and utilization of race, ethnicity and language data.
- NH public health data stewards indicated that they would like guidance and more extensive training on the implementation of standards for the collection of race, ethnicity and language.
- There may be some procedural challenges to changing the way that race, ethnicity and language data is currently collected in the public health data sets. Different data sets might require different approaches such as changes in contract language, policy, administrative rules or legislation.
- There are certain limitations on the capacity to collect data because of small sample sizes. Overcoming these limitations may require additional resources to capture information about subgroups.
Data - Recommendations
Guidelines and Systems
- Establish NH DHHS guidelines and policy for the collection of race, ethnicity and language data as a model for other organizations and state agencies.
- Collaborate with stakeholders to define a list of relevant ethnicities and languages for the state and develop a system for periodic updates.
- Consider adding level of education, literacy level, country of origin, perceptions of experienced and anticipated racism, and data about parent race, ethnicity and language (of children) to guidelines.
- Identify resources for electronic data system improvements and quality assurance.
Training and Education
- Train collectors and submitters of race, ethnicity and language data to use NH DHHS policy.
- Create a forum for providers and data stewards to communicate and understand the importance of race, ethnicity and data collection.
- Educate the public about the collection of race, ethnicity and language data.
- Work with data stewards to stratify their data to identify disparities.
- Develop an equity index reflecting data from health and other sectors.
- Include indicators for social and economic conditions, environmental conditions, employment conditions, health status, behaviors, and health care utilization in order to monitor health equity for minority population.
Current Awareness initiatives by NH H&EP Partners
REaL Data H&EP Committee
This committee of the Partnership collaborates on activities to promote the collection and use race, ethnicity, and language data to address health and equity disparities. Please contact Kris McCracken, Committee Chair, for more information.