Publication Abstract

Authors: Ford ME, Hill DD, Nerenz D, Hornbrook M, Zapka J, Meenan R, Greene S, Johnson CC

Title: Categorizing race and ethnicity in the HMO Cancer Research Network.

Journal: Ethn Dis 12(1):135-40

Date: 2002 Winter

Abstract: BACKGROUND: The Cancer Research Network (CRN) was formed in 1999 with funding from the National Cancer Institute. The CRN represents a collaboration of 10 health plans across the United States, with a combined total of approximately 9 million enrollees. The goal of the CRN is to promote collaborative research, which will ultimately increase the effectiveness of preventive, curative, and supportive interventions for major cancers. Special emphasis is placed upon diverse populations, and racial and ethnic differences in outcomes, costs, and cost effectiveness. PURPOSE: There is increasing awareness in the research literature of the relationship between race and ethnicity and health outcomes. However, the majority of the health maintenance organizations represented in the CRN, similar to other health plans and organizations, do not routinely collect race and ethnicity data on their members. In order to compare data and outcomes across the CRN sites, consensus is needed in the measurement of race and ethnicity. METHODS: This review discusses terminology used in the research literature to describe race and ethnicity and the manner in which these constructs have been measured in previous studies. CONCLUSIONS: This review concludes with suggestions for standardized measures of race and ethnicity. IMPLICATIONS: It is hoped that shared conceptualizations of race and ethnicity will lead to improved data quality and precision in measurement.