How to define tribal communities in secondary data sets

Hello, I’m working with hospital discharge data and we are frequently asked to define data for tribal communities. The only way I know how to do that is to go down to the county or zip code level and then select everyone who said their race was Native American. Are there other ways of doing this that aren’t geography-based? This data isn’t collected by us so we can’t change the data types. I know we are painting an incomplete picture of tribal health so I wanted to get some other ideas that people might have.

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Hey @jmbroad great question without a simple answer. I think I need a bit of a better understanding of what you mean by “define data for tribal communities.” Can you help me out?

Do you mean that you’re asked to produce tables or other reports that show counts or percents for people who are Native American? Or do you mean that you’re asked to produce tables/reports that show numbers for specific tribal communities?

If it’s the later, I would suggest connecting directly with the tribal communities you’re reporting on and sit down together, look at the data availability and how it is collected and try to come up with a plan on the most accurate and respectful way to generate the numbers.