Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2010) – The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders kicked off its Research and Data Convening last Friday at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
According to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach, Press Office, the two-day conference provided researchers, research institutions and universities an opportunity to interface with Federal agencies and discuss research and data collection methods to increase access to Federal programs and services for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
The importance of this historic gathering is underscored by a recent Economic Policy Institute report entitled, “Hidden Disadvantage: Asian American Unemployment and the Great Recession.” The report finds that collecting, analyzing, and disaggregating data paints a clearer picture of the effects long-term unemployment has on the Asian American community.
In particular, the report finds that while the overall Asian American community is well-educated, Asian Americans with bachelor’s and advanced degrees experience higher unemployment rates than their white counterparts.
“Fostering research and data collection is an Initiative priority and fundamental to fully understanding and addressing the needs of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders,” said Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the Initiative. “Reports like the one published by the Economic Policy Institute illustrate the need for fresh thinking on collecting and analyzing data about our communities.”
In order to reflect the increasing diversity of our Nation’s population, the Office of Management and Budget issued a directive in 1997 that provided a new minimum standard for maintaining, collecting, and presenting data on race and ethnicity for all Federal reporting purposes. Many AAPI advocates also encourage government and research institutions to disaggregate data by Asian sub-group so that Federal government resources can better serve the community.
The conference featured several addresses by Obama Administration research experts including Dr. Robert M. Groves, Director of the Census Bureau, Cecilia Rouse, Member of the Council of Economic Advisors, and Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“The Department of Health and Human Services is working energetically to unleash the power of open data to improve health,” said HHS Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. “By making vast amounts of HHS data available online, downloadable, and free of charge, we are enabling innovators across the country to develop a growing array of applications of that data that help consumers, patients, care providers, employers, and community leaders make better informed decisions.”
The conference focused on a variety of issues important to the AAPI community: education, economic development, maintaining healthy communities, and civil rights.
“The Convening is a call to action for the Federal government and researchers to work together more closely to ensure data on AAPI communities are sufficiently collected and analyzed,” said Christina Lagdameo, Deputy Director of the Initiative. “This important collaboration will give community members better access to critical Federal programs and services.”
Executive Order 13515 that created the Initiative and the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders mandates Federal agencies to “foster evidence-based research, data-collection, and analysis on AAPI populations and subpopulations, including research and data on public health, environment, education, housing, employment, and other economic indicators of AAPI community well-being.”
For more information on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, please visit www.aapi.gov.