For Immediate Release

November 1, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) applauds the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for their commitment to improving the collection and reporting of data on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) and other minority communities.

The final standards for collecting and reporting on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status will add seven Asian subgroups (Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian) and four Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander subgroups (Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan and other Pacific Islander). The addition of these ethnic subgroups will reflect what is already being used in the American Community Survey (ACS) and in the 2000 and 2010 Decennial Census. The standards published yesterday implement Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act, and set the floor for the collection of demographic data in HHS-sponsored surveys.

“We thank HHS and the Office of Minority Health for implementing a critical provision of the Affordable Care Act that will provide us with a better understanding of the health challenges faced by our communities,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “The standards will help HHS and advocates identify and address health disparities in vulnerable communities that were in the past excluded from survey findings, or grouped as ‘other’ because of the small size of their population.”

“This announcement comes at a pivotal time as our federal and state governments continue the important work of implementing health care reform and the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities,” said Priscilla Huang, APIAHF Policy Director. “We commend HHS for providing policy makers, public health experts, service providers, and local leaders with the information they need to set priorities and allocate resources to address disparities that are particular to different communities.”

As announced in June, HHS will also integrate questions on sexual orientation into national data collection efforts by 2013 and begin a process to collect information on gender identity. This plan includes the testing of questions on sexual orientation to potentially be incorporated into the National Health Interview Survey. The department also intends to convene a series of research roundtables with national experts to determine the best way to help the department collect data specific to gender identity.

For more information, please visit the OMH’s website on Section 4302 and read HHS’ press release
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.