Your browser doesn't support JavaScript. Please upgrade to a modern browser or enable JavaScript in your existing browser.
Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Collecting, Using, and Disseminating Health Data on Minority Populations

Targeted Data Collection Efforts


Ninez Ponce, Ph.D., M.P.P., Assistant Professor and Senior Researcher, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Michael Smyser, M.P.H., Epidemiologist, Planning and Evaluation Unit, Seattle-King County Department of Public Health, Seattle, WA.

This session addressed making the most of limited data resources and described alternative approaches to targeted data collection and analysis efforts.

Ninez Ponce described the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), a population-based health data assessment tool that provides health estimates at the State and local levels for California's major ethnic groups and some ethnic subgroups. The survey is an $11 million collaborative project among the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, California Department of Health Services, and the Public Health Institute.

CHIS is a random-digit dial telephone survey of 55,000 households drawn from every county and includes oversampling of Asian American subgroups, American Indians, and some counties. The survey collects information about:

  • Health status.
  • Chronic conditions.
  • Health behaviors.
  • Access to care and utilization.
  • Health insurance coverage.
  • Demographic characteristics and employment.
  • Firearms/violence.
  • Child- and adolescent-specific issues.

Beginning May 2002, data and results of CHIS will be disseminated. Information to be released includes publications of studies using CHIS data to focus on particular health needs; electronic data files and data estimates including public use files; a data access center for using confidential data files; as well as a series of research conferences on using CHIS to measure health needs across diverse racial and ethnic groups.

Washington is another state that has performed its own data collection because of limited existing data sources and resources. Michael Smyser, M.P.H., Epidemiologist, Planning and Evaluation Unit, Seattle-King County Department of Public Health, highlighted three studies that have examined health and health care issues of racial and ethnic minority populations in Seattle-King County:

  • Ethnicity and Health Survey—The goals and objectives of this study were to describe health status, access to health services, and behavioral risk factors pertaining to the larger ethnic minority populations living in King County; and to develop culturally appropriate recommendations to address identified issues. African American, Latino/Hispanic, and several Asian populations residing in the county were surveyed. This study led to a raised awareness about previously "unrecognized" concerns such as the high rates of smoking among Vietnamese and Korean men and expanded outreach for women's health screening among Vietnamese women (Cost = $20,000).
  • Discrimination in Health Care Settings—This study was conducted in response to the high proportion of African Americans who reported discrimination in the Ethnicity and Health Survey. This study consisted of surveys and personal interviews of King County residents describing the range of experiences encountered. Work is now underway with a local health planning group to institute change (Cost = $60,000).
  • The Health of American Indians and Alaska Natives Living in King County—This study was conducted using a variety of existing data sources from 1980-1998, such as population data, vital statistics records, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring Systems (PRAMS), behavioral risk factor surveys, and communicable disease reports. Although key findings from this study showed progress toward better health, findings also showed increases in some disease rates, prevalence of some risk factors for disease, poverty, and lack of health insurance. Smyser noted that this study was especially useful to local health programs providing health care for urban Indians living in Seattle and King County. In addition, the Urban Indian Health Institute used the study as a basis to begin developing a model for examining the health of urban Indians in general (Cost = $75,000).

Additional Resources

California Health Interview Survey. What is the California Health Interview Survey? Fact Sheet.

Seattle-King County Department of Public Health. Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in Health Care Settings. A Public Health Special Report. Jan.2001.

Seattle-King County Department of Public Health. The King County Ethnicity and Health Survey. A Special Report prepared by the Epidemiology, Planning and Evaluation Unit. Oct. 1998.

Seattle-King County Department of Public Health. The Health Status of American Indians and Alaska Natives Living in King County. A Special Report Produced by Seattle and King County in partnership with the Seattle Indian Health Board. May 2001.

Previous Section Previous Section       Contents         Next Section Next Section

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care