Data disaggregation is an imperative focus in the mission to achieve health equity in the research community. Disaggregating data creates more sub-categories which allows for increased reflection of people’s individualized experiences rather than minimizing their experiences by forcing them to identify with the data within a few broad categories. This is an expensive pursuit that is traditionally underfunded but expanding data collection through disaggregation is an important part of dismantling systemic racism in the healthcare system.
Federal government data collection on race and ethnicity currently provides only five categories for data on race and one category for ethnicity, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While these guidelines are inadequate and require further disaggregation to provide greater nuance and representation, it has been found that many states fail to meet even these minimum standards.
In order to ensure that the minimum standards are met and provide the necessary funding for collecting more diverse data, philanthropic investors have the opportunity to provide the funding to support these practices. Both private and public funders can impact policy and structural changes to increase health equity by investing in efforts to reach historically underrepresented communities. Data collection ultimately determines the allocation of services and resources certain communities receive, so disaggregating data through increased funding and policy change is an important step toward achieving health equity.
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