I Don’t Have a Box campaign highlights healthcare’s racial and ethnic blind spots

The campaign, created by Calcium, aims to drive awareness of the ‘race box’ used in the collection of healthcare data.

Fifteen percent of Americans identify as 'some other race.'

In recent years, the healthcare industry, like so many other sectors of the American economy, has grappled with longstanding issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

In an effort to remedy those racial and ethnic blind spots, Calcium, a 2022 MM+M Agency 100 honoree, launched the I Don’t Have a Box initiative. 

The 2020 U.S. Census reported that just over 15% of Americans identified as “some other race,” but often these individuals are not able to include this accurately in healthcare paperwork like medical intake forms. 

The campaign aims to drive awareness of the “race box” used in the collection of healthcare data through stimulating conversations around the multiracial composition of an evolving nation. Calcium said it strives to create institutional change and improve both healthcare outcomes and equity among patients as well.

I Don’t Have a Box launched with a website and social media account supported by the call to action hashtag #IDHAB.

Liz Gopaul, EVP of engagement and social at Calcium, said the campaign is a personal passion of hers given her Indian and Guyanese background. She said that there are many unique stories and experiences for patients all across the healthcare landscape that aren’t being fully recognized due to the limits on what people can fill out when interacting with a healthcare organization. 

As medical marketers continue to invest in multicultural marketing, reaching specific groups of patients is more important than ever from both a business and social perspective. 

Importantly, Gopaul noted that while there is an ongoing debate over where to eliminate boxes altogether or expand them, Calcium is leaning towards the latter since the collection of healthcare data can be useful for patients as a whole. This is especially true when it comes to the construction and implementation of clinical trials, which benefit from having a diverse array of patients. 

“The boxes provide a lot of information, especially on the healthcare front, in terms of the disbursement of resources,” she said. “When you think about underprivileged communities, we definitely want to make sure that people are well aware of what these boxes mean and what that information goes towards.”

More pharma brands need to be learning lessons from businesses outside of the healthcare sector about communicating and connecting with their target audience, Gopaul said. By understanding a patient’s distinct and unique needs, brands can position their treatments and products in the most appropriate and effective way possible to treat specific underlying diseases and conditions. 

Gopaul said Calcium could expand the campaign to cover other demographics like gender identity or sexual orientation. By promoting awareness of the “race box,” she said the agency is seeking to promote an ongoing dialogue about how to better address and treat marginalized patient populations in America. 

“At the end of the day, the goal is to drive a movement, to encourage open dialogue around this topic and to address the needs that people have,” she said. “We have to make sure that we’re speaking clearly to representation across the board.”

This article first appeared on mmm-online.com. 


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