Better Data to Advance Health Equity

Mónica Hurtado

Mónica Hurtado

OAP’s Health Equity Organizer Mónica Hurtado recently worked with a group of multiracial and multicultural community organizations to recommend to the Minnesota Department of Health that health data be collected to allow for better analysis and action on health inequities. This means looking at the different experiences of different communities by race, ethnicity, language, and socio-economic status, so that solutions are attentive to how communities experience the health care system. See the letter the group submitted below. For more information about the recommendations, contact Mónica Hurtado at

Comments on Minnesota Community Measurement’s Recommendations for 2014 State Quality Reporting and Measurement System Physician Clinic Measures

Submitted to Minnesota Department of Health

We are writing on behalf of OAP, and the community organizations signed below that are working to eliminate Minnesota’s health inequities and achieve greater health equity for people of color, immigrants, American Indians and other groups who experience health inequities today.

We are writing to recommend that the Minnesota Department of Health take an important step to improve health equity by making changes to Minnesota’s Statewide Quality Measurement and Reporting System (SQRMS) so that health care data is collected and reported by race, ethnicity, language and socio-economic status (such as income, homelessness, and gender identity and sexual orientation).

In 2010, in response to legislation enacted by the Minnesota Legislature, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Human Services did an inventory of the way health care data is collected and convened a stakeholder group to develop recommendations on how health care data systems could be improved to produce better data on health inequities. Among other recommendations, their report included a recommendation that all health data should be collected using improved and expanded categories for race, ethnicity and language that will produce better and more meaningful data on health, access to care, quality of care and patient satisfaction for individual communities of color, American Indians and other populations, so that inequities can be identified and programs and funding improved to eliminate the inequities. In 2014, the Minnesota Department of Health issued an important report on Health Equity, titled Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota, which also contains similar recommendations for improving health data in order to reduce inequities. This recommendation was also made by Minnesota’s health care reform task force and other health care reform committees and work groups.

After four years, we have had enough studies and it is time to move ahead to implement these recommendations. We support the recommendations on this issue that were developed by the Health Equity Data Collaborative, an alliance of community, advocacy and provider organizations that represent or work with those groups and communities who experience the greatest health inequities today. The recommendations of the Collaborative are attached.

A final and critical issue is the history of inadequate input from and authentic engagement of those communities who experience the greatest inequities in establishing the state’s public policies on health care quality measurement.   Those who are most affected by the problems with the current health system that cause inequities need to be recognized as the asset they are for the entire state and their wisdom must place them, as partners and leaders, at the center of all efforts in developing solutions. Traditional methods of obtaining public input and comments from stakeholders favor those groups that already have money, technical expertise, power and influence and disenfranchise those who lack these things.

To be successful in eliminating health inequities and improving quality for ALL Minnesotans, the State, policymakers, health industry organizations and other stakeholders must use better methods of engaging and partnering with communities with inequities and consider processes to eliminate the barriers to authentic engagement that are caused by poverty, structural racism, social determinants of health and other factors.

The organizations listed below recommend moving forward to improve data on disparities and do this in a meaningful partnership with those who are most affected by existing health inequities.


  1. African American Leadership Forum (AALF)
  2. African Immigrant Services (AIS)
  3. Alliance for Racial and Cultural Health équity (ARCHé)
  4. Aqui Para Ti/ Here For You Program
  5. Asian American & Pacific Islander Health Coalition
  6. Center for Policy, Planning, and Performance
  7. Center for families   (
  8. Centro
  9. ClearWay MinnesotaSM
  10. Communidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES)
  11. Community Action Duluth
  12. Churches United in Ministry, Duluth (CHUM)
  13. Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council (DHS)
  14. Hispanic Advocacy and Community Empowerment through Research (HACER)
  15. Hmong American Partnership (HAP)
  16. Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
  17. Isuroon
  18. Jewish Community Action
  19. Land Stewardship Project
  20. Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Programs (MACMHP)
  21. Minneapolis Urban League
  22. Minnesota Budget Project
  23. Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless
  24. Minnesota Safety Net Coalition
  25. National Haitian Institute of Leadership Project
  26. Navigate
  27. New American Alliance for Development(NAAD)
  28. Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP)
  29. OutFront Minnesota
  30. Rainbow Health Initiative
  31. St. Mary’s Health Clinics
  32. Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood
  33. SEIU Healthcare Minnesota
  34. SEWA-AIFW (Asian Indian Family Wellness)
  35. Southside Community Health Services
  36. TakeAction Minnesota
  37. The Minnesota Tenants Union
  38. The Neighborhood Hub
  39. The Table, Duluth
  40. Waite House-Pillsbury United Communities
  41. WellShare International
  42. West Side Community Health Services
  43. Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment (WISE)

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