This policy brief provides a series of policy recommendations to address these inequities through legislation, regulatory changes, or policy guidance at both the state and federal level.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to overwhelm our nation. Comprehensive data by racial and ethnic subgroups must be openly and transparently reported, collected, analyzed, and shared in order to fully understand and effectively address the pandemic, especially among the most vulnerable populations. While capturing this data is important to address COVID-19 now, it is also necessary in order to achieve long-term health equity. The pandemic exposed the structural discrimination – and often, overt racism – inherent in our health care and public health systems.
To address these inequities and discrimination, health care and public health systems need to change how they collect, analyze, and report data. The five broad categories in which data is currently and primarily collected – Black, White, American Indian/Alaska Native, Latinx, and Asian American/ Pacific Islander. These categories both ignore entire populations and thus perpetuate systemic injustices, and treat as monolithic the other demographic characteristics that can be more fully understood by further disaggregation such as by socio-economic level, age, and geography.