For many health advocates across California, today has been highlighted on the calendar for months. That’s because it’s the day that the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released the results of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) for 2013 and 2014. As the most detailed source of health data for California’s diverse population, CHIS is instrumental to our advocacy efforts here at CPEHN as we work to eliminate the inequities faced by communities of color.
During a seminar earlier today, Dr. Ninez Ponce (a former CPEHN board member) and Dr. David Grant discussed the survey and some of the results. One exciting new feature of CHIS is that you can now access individual year data from 2011 to 2014. Before, the data was released every two years, but now the plan is to release new data each year:
"This is a significant development that will provide policymakers and others with much more timely data on the health of Californians," said David Grant, director of CHIS.
The 2013 and 2014 CHIS data is particularly interesting because it shows the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions. We are in the midst of the largest reduction in uninsurance rates in a generation and prior to today we were still looking for solid information on the scope of the ACA’s impact. In a new fact sheet also released today, the UCLA Center showed how the uninsured rate in California dropped significantly in 2014, thanks in large part to a large increase in Medi-Cal recipients.
Earlier today, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research hosted a webinar to look at the current state of available data on sexual orientation and gender identity and how the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) has played a key role in improving collection of this data.
The event, The Importance of CHIS in LGBT Research and Data Collection, featured a presentation by Gary Gates, the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and research director at the UCLA Williams Institute. Dr. Gates focused on how CHIS, a comprehensive population-based health survey, has been collecting sexual orientation over the past decade. Over that time span, Dr. Gates said, public perception has been shifting and many states have passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage and other benefits. The demographic data available through CHIS shows the impact of this shift in public perception, and Dr. Gates expressed excitement about continued improvement in the future, particularly in regards to gender identity data.
. @drgaryjgates "I can't tell you how important it is that CHIS has made the commitment to include gender identity in next survey"
Dr. Gates highlighted some specific trends over the past decade by looking at a variety of demographic data, including age, income, and race/ethnicity. He found that younger people and people of color are identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual at a higher rate than they were 10 years ago and that this is likely the result of changing societal perceptions.