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We Ask Because We Care

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UMass Memorial Health is dedicated to providing every patient with the best care. Our We Ask Because We Care campaign is a way for our patients to tell us about themselves.

We ask you — and all our patients — questions about your race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and social drivers of health to help us get to know you better and to meet your specific needs.

What you share is private and protected by law. It is kept in your medical record.

You do not have to answer these questions. It is your choice. We ask because we care about you and all of our patients.

The answers to these questions give us more information about our diverse patient population and helps us improve the quality of care we give to each patient. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we ask these questions?

We want to make sure each patient gets the best care possible. These questions help us:

  • Better understand our patients and our community. People’s health can be impacted by their background and identity. The more we know about who you are, the better care we can provide.
  • Provide programs and services to serve you better, such as interpreter services and digital health services. We consider the diversity of our patients when planning our health services. For example, we need to know the language preferences of our patients to ensure we have the right interpretation and translation services.
  • Reduce disparities in care and improve our quality of care. By comparing health outcomes of different patient groups, we can better understand how well we’re doing in meeting our goal of providing every patient with the best care. Understanding those outcomes enables us to modify how we deliver care, if needed.
  • Meet federal and state requirements. Your personal information is never given to the government. But, like all health care providers, we follow regulations to understand the patients we help and improve care across the country.                                      

What information do you ask for?

We are asking all our patients about their:

  • Race: A person's self- identification with one or more social groups which may be based on physical, social and/or biological characteristics. 
  • Ethnic background: a person's background defined by nationality, ancestry, heritage and cultural traditions. Examples include “Vietnamese” or “Ghanian.”
  • Ethnicity: Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin: A specific type of Ethnic background – persons of Spain, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South Central American, and/or other Spanish culture or ethnic background. 
  • Language: The language a patient feels most comfortable using when communicating with medical staff.
  • Sexual orientation: how a person defines their emotional, romantic and sexual attraction to others.
  • Gender identity: a person’s sense of their own gender. This sometimes does not match a person's legal sex. 
  • Sex assigned at birth: sex assigned to a person by a clinician when they were born.
  • Disability status: Whether a patient has hearing, visual, cognitive, mobility, communication or other disabilities that may impact how they receive care.
  • Social drivers of health: non-clinical factors like access to nutritious food, quality housing, reliable transportation and financial stability. Because of their importance to health, identifying and addressing social drivers of health for our patients is critical to our commitment to providing every patient with the best care.

Who will see the information? How will it be shared?

This information is confidential. We only use the information if it is needed to provide care. Your information is always protected. Your medical record is protected by law.

Learn more about your patient privacy rights.


What if there are questions that I do not want to answer? Do I have to provide this information?

No. Answering these questions is voluntary. You have a choice about wheter to provide your information. We ask so we can serve you and all of our diverse patient communities better. What if I am more comfortable providing this information without speaking to someone? Our myChart patient portal is set up to allow you to enter and update this information as well. 

Visit myChart.

Learn more about myChart.