Data on Race, Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation
You may wonder why we ask you about your race, ethnicity, preferred language, sexual orientation, and gender identity. We do this to ensure every person receives high-quality patient care, regardless of their background, culture, or personal characteristics. Also, asking these questions is part of a New Jersey statutory requirement.
Read to learn what the questions mean and how the information will be used and protected.
Why am I being asked about my race, ethnicity, preferred language, sexual orientation, and gender identity?
Learning about the identity and background of our patients helps us better understand the people we serve and their needs. For example, you are often asked about your age, marital status, health history, and other personal information when you visit a doctor. These additional questions help us offer culturally sensitive care based on a patient’s specific needs.
What is the New Jersey statute that requires this?
Beginning in 2023, the state of New Jersey requires us to collect and record this information as part of your registration. N.J.S.A 45:9-42.47
What if I’m not sure how to answer?
You can select other options such as “Other,” “Unknown,” or “Don’t know” if you are not sure.
What if none of the categories describe me?
People identify in many ways, and it is not possible to list them all. If your identity is not in the list provided, you can select an additional category or, if space is provided, you can write in the terms you use to describe yourself.
What if I don’t want to share this information?
You can select “Choose not to disclose” or “Decline to answer.” Later, your provider may ask you these questions privately, and you can ask your provider questions. You never have to answer if you do not want to.
How will my information be protected?
This information is confidential and protected by law, just like all of your other health information. If you are under 18 years old, your parent/guardian may have access to this information. Talk to your provider if you have any concerns.
How will this information be used?
Your healthcare team will use this information to better understand and meet your healthcare needs. In addition, gathering this information from all patients allows for the identification of gaps in care or services across different populations.
Why do health centers ask about pronouns?
Pronouns are the words people use when they are referring to you, but not using your name. Examples of pronouns are she/her/hers, he/him/his, and they/them/theirs. Asking about pronouns helps staff correctly refer to patients. Otherwise, staff need to make assumptions, which can lead to embarrassing and disrespectful situations.
What are race and ethnicity?
Race refers to physical characteristics and some shared culture and history (e.g., Asian, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific islander, White, Other).
Ethnicity refers to cultural factors based on family origins and groups that share cultural, traditional, familial bonds and experiences. We ask you to identify your ethnicity as Hispanic or Latino or Non-Hispanic or Latino.
What is sexual orientation?
Sexual orientation is how people describe their emotional and physical attraction to others.
- Heterosexual (straight) describes women who are primarily attracted to men and men who are primarily attracted to women.
- Gay describes people who are primarily attracted to the same gender as themselves.
- Lesbian describes women who are primarily attracted to other women.
- Bisexual describes people who are emotionally and physically attracted to women/females and men/males. Some people describe bisexuality as attraction to all genders.
Some people use other terms, such as queer, to describe their sexual orientation.
What is gender identity?
Gender identity is a person’s sense of being a girl/woman/female, a boy/man/male, something else, or having no gender.
The term “transgender” describes people whose gender and sex assigned at birth do not correspond based on traditional expectations.