While Connecticut ranks the 5th healthiest state in the nation, many segments of the population experience significant and persistent disparities in their health and well-being. The lack of data on socio-demographic factors, the most salient being race, ethnicity, and language (“REL”) data, represents a serious challenge to achieving equity within the state. Data shapes the planning, implementation, and delivery of services. Data is needed to identify hidden disparities and to initiate and implement programs to address them. Without uniform, consistently collected, disaggregated, and publicly available REL data, it is impossible to effectively and fairly allocate resources and target our interventions. Furthermore, without REL data, it is impossible to track progress in resolving disparities in health and well-being. Collecting REL data is critical to achieving our vision of health equity in Connecticut.
A recent report from Connecticut Voices for Children on data and health equity, clearly shows that our current collection of race, ethnicity and language data in both clinical and non-clinical settings are inconsistent, fragmented and limited. The lack of uniform and timely data that includes subgroup population data prevents us from fully understanding the depth of our health equity and health disparities issues in the state, as well as our progress. The Connecticut Voices for Children report ends with six recommendations, several of which show up in HES’ policy proposal to address REL data in Connecticut. Our ask is simple: we want standard, uniform data collected in such a manner that racial and ethnic subgroup trends are visible. We want that data publicly available but done so protecting the privacy of individuals. And we want it timely, so it is actionable.
REL data collection has the capability of revealing problems and finding solutions that promote positive health outcomes for all people in Connecticut. Without timely, actionable data, we believe it’s truly impossible to achieve health equity.