API Legislators, Tri-Caucus, and Supporters Call for Accurate Data Collection to Address Health, Education Challenges for All API Subgroups

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), author of AB 1726, the Accounting for Health and Education in Asian Pacific Islander Demographics Act (the AHEAD Act), issued the following statement today after holding press conferences in Oakland and Sacramento to call for accurate data collection for all API subgroups.

“Good data drives good policy,” Bonta explained.  “One way to get good data is through disaggregation. Disaggregating data means breaking it down into smaller subgroups and assessing specific trends that were previously hidden.

“Certain subgroups within the API community are falling behind on public health and education benchmarks, but these facts are hidden within the broader group statistics. That’s why I’ve introduced the AHEAD Act, to help meet the needs of California’s diverse communities.”

Bonta gave an example of how disaggregation drives good public policy decisions. “In 2011, Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) in San Jose performed a county health assessment using disaggregated data. That data revealed that Chinese Americans have significantly higher rates of Hepatitis B, which allowed AACI to conduct targeted outreach to Chinese residents. If AB 1726 becomes law, we will have the opportunity to evaluate more accurate data on disease rates, health insurance coverage, and birth and death rates.”

Quyen Dinh, Executive Director, South East Asian Resource Action Center, spoke in strong support of the bill at the Oakland press conference. "Diversity and race in America is not something to be afraid of, it’s something to be understood and embraced. Disaggregated data facilitates data-driven, targeted interventions that are a better use of our tax dollars to uplift all of our students, our brothers, our sisters, our cousins.”

The AHEAD Act is also a top priority for the API Legislative Caucus. Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria), Chair of the Caucus, explained his support.  “The API community has historically advocated for disaggregated data because we are uniquely diverse and each community has specific needs. Understanding how long certain students are spending in the community college system, figuring out what specific language needs are needed for certain regions, or identifying how specific communities are affected by certain health problems - all of this information is vital and relevant for our work as public servants.” 

The Act is also supported by more than 50 API organizations, and is sponsored by theSoutheast Asia Resource Action Center, Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, and the Asian Pacific Islander Health Forum. 

“The AHEAD Act is a great example of what the API community can do when it stands together, united for the common good of the whole group.  With accurate data, we will have a clearer picture of who requires assistance, be better positioned to provide needed support for community members who have been left behind, and, together, create a stronger California,” Bonta concluded.