The Importance of Minority Health & Mental Health Awareness

About a 3 min. read

Christelle Kamaliza
Sr. Insights Consultant

At CMB, we partner with leading health institutions to uncover the most recent trends in data to inform critical business decisions. In market research, it can be challenging to amplify the voice of minorities and encapsulate the nuances they face in the healthcare space. So, why is it important to bring such a microscopic view to various minorities, especially as researchers?

Combat Health Disparities

Studies show that minorities are more at risk for various health disparities due to systemic racism and discrimination, and overall lack of access to care. According to the CDC, both racial and ethnic minority groups disproportionately suffer from a variety of chronic health conditions including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, asthma, heart disease, and others. The National Health Institute states that people with chronic illnesses are at a higher risk of developing mental health conditions and this pattern is consistent in minority groups. Major chronic diseases are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to occur within racial/ethnic minority groups, however, among adults with mental innless, Black (39%), Hispanic (36%), and Asian (25%) adults are less likely than White (52%) adults to receive mental health services.

When we talk about underrepresentation of minority groups in (market) research, it is crucial to understand why such disparities exist. Most often, when designing research that targets minority groups, we lead with the topic, as opposed to letting the nuanced differences experienced by this audience guide the conversation. Time and time again, minority groups have been left out of research completely and, when they are, they are usually a ‘hard to reach’ audience.

Research among minority groups, the black community in particular, has a dark past, that dates to the infamous “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” that started in 1932. The damage caused by this study persisted far-beyond the immediate participants involved and has ingrained a deep generational mistrust of medical research and health professionals within the Black African American, and minority communities that extends into today.

Elevate Minority Voices

Amplify the voice of minorities to help provide inclusive mental and physical health products and services they deserve; researchers can’t ignore this challenging past. Surveys that disregard the respondent’s lived experience no longer have a space in this industry. So, what can we do about it?

Implement equity and inclusivity in market research:

  • Be intentional in the methodologies used to collect needed data; Qual and Quant work hand in hand to put a name and a story to the 1s and 0s in the data,
  • Challenge ourselves and our clients around the ‘why’ and ‘how’ we talk to minority groups,
    • Invest in amplifying those voices!
      • Team members that share the experiences of the populations should be sought to be understood.
      • Representation in moderators, in the language used in our screeners, individual interviews, online surveys and any methodologies we engage with. If we want to ask sensitive questions, we need to have the right people in the room.
      • In research, sourcing smaller audiences can be more expensive, so budgetary and logistical challenges need to be understood and addressed.

Research is not simply transactional, it is relational, and it entails a slow build-up of rapport between the researcher (i.e., a Qual moderator or the Quant survey designer) and the participant. The better we represent the audience we want to study, the better we can understand their needs and pain points and capture their lived experiences through their authentic voices—not through the filter of an unrelatable counterpart. Minority groups are not a ‘hard to get’ audience when they are truly understood!

At CMB, we’re passionate about telling richer, truer, transformative stories that move insights into action. Our researchers are relentlessly business decision focused, consultative, and innovative. We partner with you to target the right audience, at the right time, in the right ways—albeit Quant, Qual, or the winning combination of Quant and Qual together. Reach out to get started.