Masked in broad datasets, distinct subgroups within Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander populations can be subject to racialized health outcomes, according to researchers at Kaiser Family Foundation.
According to researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the achievement of health equity for Asian, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander (NHPI) populations is hindered by the lack of disaggregated data.
The KFF researchers analyzed 2021 American Community Survey data to explore the impact of demographics, health coverage, and social determinants of health on the health and healthcare of these populations as a whole and within subgroups. They found that broad data often conceals disparities among subgroups and that disaggregated data is largely unavailable or unreported for NHPI individuals.
The Asian population is the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the United States, with nearly 20 million people in 2020. Historical factors such as colonization and stereotypes have contributed to ongoing trauma and negative health outcomes for Asian and NHPI communities. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to address racism and the lack of data to ensure health equity for these populations.
The researchers emphasized the importance of disaggregated data to understand and address barriers to health equity, including mental health disparities and low utilization of mental health services among Asian individuals.
Efforts are underway to improve Asian and NHPI datasets, including the establishment of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and the development of department-wide recommendations by the U.S. Agency for Health and Human Services. However, there is a need for political action, improved data infrastructure, and funding to achieve meaningful progress in Asian and NHPI health equity.
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