Federal Data Compendium: A Interagency Lens to Achieving Health Equity

Posted on July 31, 2020 by Rosaly Correa-de-Araujo, MD, MSc, PhD and Roslyn Holliday-Moore, MS

In line with continued federal efforts to promote health equity, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) has released an updated version of the Compendium of Federal Datasets Addressing Health Disparities, which is available at the HHS Office of Minority Health website.

The Compendium was developed by the Interdepartmental Health Equity Collaborative (IHEC) Data Workgroup, hosted by OMH and HHS. The Compendium is a collection of datasets and resources that focuses on the relationship between socioeconomic factors, social determinants of health, and health equity. It includes descriptions of more than 250 datasets from HHS as well as other departments/federal partners, information on data sources relevant to opioid use/research, datasets with more controlled access (e.g., those available from biorepositories) including samples, data and imaging, and data linkage initiatives by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The primary goal for updating the Compendium is to bring additional federal partners to the project and encourage intersectoral collaboration across federal agencies to better address health disparities. The Compendium targets a broad audience that can use data to produce evidence-based information to target interventions and policies. This audience includes researchers, program evaluators, grant writers, health officials, and other interested public health professionals.

The Compendium is a one-stop-shop for understanding the landscape of federal datasets related to health equity. It helps to address the critical need for more coordination and collaboration across sectors to reduce health inequities by improving access and dissemination of available data. The Compendium also helps facilitate the development of research questions and proposals and has the potential to foster data linkages to answer these questions and, therefore, connect health data to other types of data relevant to reducing health disparities. For example, by linking 2005-2012 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to 1999-2014 administrative records from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Ahrens et al. 2016 demonstrated that children living in HUD-assisted housing programs had significantly lower blood lead levels than expected, given their demographic, socioeconomic, and family characteristics. These findings emphasize the importance of linking data and demonstrate the value of the information being collected as well as the programs supported by the Federal government.

We invite you not only to use this helpful resource but also to share it with others. Ultimately, the Compendium aims to help further shape or inform the development of effective programs, policies, and practices throughout the federal government and in other sectors, helping to reduce or eliminate disparities and promote health equity.

For detailed demographic, language fluency, education, economic, and health status information for racial and ethnic minority populations, be sure to visit OMH’s minority population profiles pages.

Also, please be sure to sign up for OMH email updates.

Rosaly Correa-de-Araujo, MD, MSc, PhD, Senior Scientific Advisor, National Institute on Aging; Chair for the IHEC Data Workgroup, and Roslyn Holliday-Moore, MS, Deputy Office Director for Programs, Office of Minority Health.