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Race and Ethnicity Data Collection Standards

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) seeks public feedback on how MDHHS collects race and ethnicity data. Your feedback will be used to help MDHHS create standards on collecting data on race and ethnicity. Your feedback will help create standards that align with federal reporting requirements and reflect the diversity in the State of Michigan.

Why is your input important?
Currently, there is no standard way for MDHHS to collect race and ethnicity data for residents receiving services. We know that the current way race and ethnicity data are collected may leave out marginalized groups who may be ethnically and racially similar. We have no way of comparing the quality of MDHHS service delivery for different race and ethnicity groups between programs. Additionally, we currently have no standard way to collect race and ethnicity data across MDHHS programs. Your responses will help create a standard process to compare the quality of service across MDHHS programs for people from different races and ethnicities. This will assist in identifying and addressing health disparities across the State.

The Office of Equity and Minority Health (OEMH) within MDHHS Office of Race, Equity Diversity and Inclusion (REDI), along with the Public Health Administration (PHA) and the Data Strategy Workgroup have proposed several race and ethnicity reporting standards that align with federal reporting requirements. We are seeking your feedback on these proposed standards to ensure they reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of Michigan.

Proposal 1: Collect race and ethnicity information using one combined question. Currently, the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards require that race be collected separately from ethnicity as shown in Figure 1. MDHHS is proposing that race and ethnicity be collected using one combined question as shown in Figure 2.

Proposal 2: Add “Middle Eastern or North African” (MENA) as a new minimum category.  Currently, Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) is not an option as shown in Figure 1. MDHHS is proposing that Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) be added as a new category as shown in Figure 2.

Proposal 3: Require the collection of detailed race and ethnicity categories by default. Sometimes, it may be important to collect very detailed race and ethnicity information. MDHHS has proposed the combined and detailed race and ethnicity question shown in Figure 3. Please take a moment and review the races and ethnicities in the proposed detailed race and ethnicity question (Figure 3).

Proposal 4: MDHHS proposes also considering response options when race information is not available or given.

Right now, we have no way for people to respond that they are unable or unwilling to provide an answer on their race or ethnicity. In these cases, the race and ethnicity question may be left blank. To reduce the number of blank answers, MDHHS proposes adding options that allow an individual to indicate they do not want to answer the question or that the question categories did not fit their race or ethnicity. Please tell us how clear you think each of the following proposed answer options are: Unknown: I Prefer Not to Answer;  Unknown: Race or Ethnicity Not Asked; and Other: Race or Ethnicity Not Listed

Please provide feedback on any or all the above proposals through joining a Community Conversation or completing our Public Comment Form

Community Conversations

There will be Community Conversations held statewide and virtually. These sessions will last two hours. Please register your RSVP. 

Hispanic or Latino Tuesday, December 12, 2023  3-4:30PM RSVP here

General Public: Thursday, December 14, 2023 3:00PM - 4:30PM RSVP Here 

Asian, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Saturday, December 9, 2023  10:00AM – 11:30AM RSVP here

Public Comment Form

If you would like to submit your comments directly, please utilize our public comment form. You will be able to find the form by clicking the link: Public Comment Form.


Captions for Figures:

Figure 1 1997 US Office of Management and Budget SPD 15 Race and Ethnicity Standards

Figure 2 MDHHS 2023 Proposed Race and Ethnicity Standards Short Version

Figure 3 MDHHS 2023 Proposed Race and Ethnicity Standards Detailed Version