Remarks at the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent Item 5: Thematic Discussion: Recognizing and Addressing Systemic and Structural Racism

Miranda Lynch-Smith
Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant
Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Deputy Assistant
Secretary, Office of Human Services Policy (HSP)
New York, New York
June 1, 2023


Good afternoon esteemed colleagues, my name is Miranda Lynch-Smith. I am the Senior Official for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Beginning on his first day in office, President Biden laid out an equity agenda for the United States that declared equal opportunity to be the bedrock of American democracy. The United States government can be a significant driver of more equitable outcomes, and gathering and using data and evidence that is accurate and nuanced is a critical component in this effort.

President Biden’s Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, established an Equitable Data Working Group, tasked with identifying improvements within Federal data and strategies for increasing data available for measuring equity and representing the diversity of the American people and their experiences.

In a report published last year, the working group identified three priority uses for equitable data: generating disaggregated statistical estimates to characterize experiences of historically underserved groups using survey data; increasing non-federal research and community access to disaggregated data for the evidence-building that supports equity efforts; and conducting robust equity assessments of federal programs to identify areas for improvement.

Further, last summer, the U.S. Chief Statistician announced a formal review to revise its directive on statistical policy on Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. This directive provides minimum standards that ensure our ability to compare information and data across U.S. federal agencies. The goal of the review is to recommend updated standards so that Federal race and ethnicity data better reflects a diverse America. The United States government is committed to a full, transparent process for the standards update and acknowledges that it will take time to evaluate relevant research, engage in a meaningful way with the American public and all impacted agencies, before adopting a final set of race and ethnicity standards.

The United States looks forward to continued dialogue on the importance of data collection, use and evidence with our civil society and government partners around the world because we know that accurate disaggregated data will inform more targeted and equitable solutions.

Thank you.