These principles are put forth to establish a common framework for standardized race, ethnicity, and language (REL) data collection, for the purpose of identifying and reducing health disparities, and improving health, in the state of Minnesota.
Data should be self‐reported by the data subject (patient, program participant, etc.), to avoid the risk of misclassifying patients based on observations or assumptions of health care staff.
Health care workers may misclassify the race/ethnicity of people of color, particularly those of mixed race or ethnicity. To minimize misclassification, individuals should self‐identify their race/ethnicity. Individuals should be able to select more than one race/ethnicity category to identify their multi‐racial or multi‐ethnic status.
Allowing patients or program participants to select more than one race/ethnicity category, rather than choosing ‘multiracial,’ is necessary. When individuals have to select ‘multiracial’ rather than indicating specific racial/ethnic groups with which they identify, they feel that their identity is not captured, and the ability to understand inter‐group differences or similarities is lost.
The standard for REL data should be more granular than OMB standards, and include race/ethnicity/heritage categories that are relevant to Minnesota populations and based on self‐reported data.
Expanded race/ethnicity categories should be used by all providers and health care programs. In limited situations, if a program is prohibited by contract or regulation from making modifications to the OMB standards, OMB race/ethnicity categories can be used.
Expanded race/ethnicity categories must be able to be aggregated into existing OMB race/ethnicity categories.
Many programs and providers are required to submit reports to federal agencies that are based on OMB standards. Regardless of the expansiveness of any final Minnesota‐specific race/ethnicity/language standards, they must be able to be rolled up into OMB categories.
Expanded race/ethnicity categories should be regularly reviewed by a public/private collaborative that includes representatives from communities most affected by health disparities, to ensure that they are still relevant to changing Minnesota demographics.
Minnesota’s population continues to grow and change. This means that new communities and ethnic groups will need to be included in REL standards in the future that may currently be too small to include. Health care providers or health care program staff who will be collecting REL data must be appropriately trained on how to collect data in a way that is accurate and respectful.
Information and forms provided to patients must be simple and clear, and staff who are collecting information must be trained on how to collect this information and answer questions about its use. Providers/program staff should educate community members on why this information is being collected, and how it is being used.