Collecting data on race during COVID-19: Recommendations

Last week, evidence emerged from the US that COVID-19 outcomes may be associated with race. Our COVID-19 page provides more detail. Briefly, numerous jurisdictions reported that Black individuals were significantly over-represented in COVID-19 related deaths. Some very early data has been brought together by the CDC.

This led to many people asking: Are the same health inequities happening in Canada? We unfortunately do not routinely collect this data in health care settings. Shree Paradkar explored this issue in an article for the Toronto Star, and I had a chance to share some of our experiences with collecting data on race in primary care, and our efforts with the SPARK Study. The issue has become more contentious as public health leaders have put forward different views on whether such data should be collected.

We have put together a short report on this issue, and include recommendations. We hope this is useful during COVID-19 and beyond.

Published by Andrew Pinto

Dr. Andrew Pinto is the founder and director of The Upstream Lab. He is a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist and family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Pinto completed his residency at the University of Toronto and his Master’s in Health Policy, Planning and Financing at the London School of Economics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a Commonwealth Scholar. Currently, he is a Scientist in the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.

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