No Equity without Data Equity: Data Reporting Gaps for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders as Structural Racism

Source: Brittany N. Morey; Richard Calvin Chang; Karla Blessing Thomas; ‘Alisi Tulua; Corina Penaia; Vananh D. Tran; Nicholas Pierson; John C. Greer; Malani Bydalek; Ninez Ponce, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Vol. 47 no. 2, April 2022
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From the abstract:
Data on the health and social determinants for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) in the United States are hidden, because data are often not collected or are reported in aggregate with other racial/ethnic groups despite decades of calls to disaggregate NHPI data. As a form of structural racism, data omissions contribute to systemic problems such as inability to advocate, lack of resources, and limitations on political power. The authors conducted a data audit to determine how US federal agencies are collecting and reporting disaggregated NHPI data. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a case study, they reviewed how states are reporting NHPI cases and deaths. They then used California’s neighborhood equity metric—the California Healthy Places Index (HPI)—to calculate the extent of NHPI underrepresentation in communities targeted for COVID-19 resources in that state. Their analysis shows that while collection and reporting of NHPI data nationally has improved, federal data gaps remain. States are vastly underreporting: more than half of states are not reporting NHPI COVID-19 case and death data. The HPI, used to inform political decisions about allocation of resources to combat COVID-19 in at-risk neighborhoods, underrepresents NHPIs. The authors make recommendations for improving NHPI data equity to achieve health equity and social justice.