Best Practices Guides

Revised and Updated March 2024

This guide is meant to introduce concepts central to integrating social determinants of health screening into health practices. We at MSHIELD are always available to discuss the nuances of applying these concepts and strategies to your work.

The key questions explored and answered in this guide are:

We wish to gratefully acknowledge Larrea Young for her stellar design work, and Noa Kim for design and dissemination strategy. Along with the MSHIELD team, Matt Callow, Michael Englesbe, Wendy Hawkins, and Brent Williams all contributed content review and feedback.

A Note About the Revised Version: The revised and updated version of this guide was responsive to feedback from many, including community, clinical, health care leadership, CQI, and research partners. Where possible, we updated language and links to bring recommendations current with the present day. We have always envisioned this guide as iterative and will continue to incorporate feedback to ensure that it remains relevant and useful.

Best Practices for collecting race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability data

Screening Questions Updated March 2024

A key strategy in promoting health equity is to establish and implement standards for data collection. Data are essential to identify disparities, set priorities, and measure progress. Using best practices in collecting demographic data, such as race, ethnicity, and language (REAL), sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and disability status will yield data that is accurate, reliable, and affirms the identity and experience of patients.

This document is meant to serve as a tool to:

We wish to acknowledge the following for their contributions to this guide: Research Fellow Samantha Cooley for assembling the first draft, Dr. Michelle Meade for content related to disability questions, the MSHIELD team for review and feedback, and final content review by Christina Pavlak, Milo Ghering, and Maureen Kirkwood from Health Net of West Michigan and Patrick Yankee from Corktown Health.