Health Survey Questions on Racism

Blog post by Libby McClure
August 2023

DataWorks NC   (Durham)

DataWorks NC is one of 5 organizations in the United States participating in the Data Equity Coalition Project. The main purpose of this project is to influence the
national dialogue on racism and health, centering the concerns of Durham’s communities of color, low income, and historical disinvestment. Working closely with community partners and the Durham County Department of Public Health, DataWorks aims to identify meaningful questions about racism to include in two national, CDC survey efforts:

  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) (CDC, 2017a)
  • Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) (CDC, 2017b)


Problem Statement Summary: The racism-focused questions in CDC survey efforts are inadequate for documenting structural racism because of their focus on individual behaviors.