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Participate in Office of Management & Budget Initiative to Update MeSH Terminology OMB’s Statistical Standards for Race and Ethnicity

This past summer the National Library of Medicine (NLM) hosted a listening session with external communities and users to discuss the role of community input in MeSH development—a controlled and hierarchically organized vocabulary produced by NLM. During this listening session, NLM described actions being taken to ensure that updates to MeSH are consistent with Federal standards while remaining inclusive and respectful.

NLM also shared the need to align MeSH race and ethnicity terminology with the statistical standards the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) set forth. Such alignment is essential for interoperability and sharing across agencies’ datasets. The last OMB update on terminology was in 1997.

NLM is reaching out to let us know that OMB is taking action to update these terms.

OMB is offering two ways for the public to share their perspectives and input on OMB’s statistical standards for race and ethnicity. They include:

1. Soliciting public input on OMB’s recommended proposal for revisions to Directive No. 15 through a Federal Register Notice. To receive a notification when the solicitation is issued, please email and request to join the mailing list.

2. Holding virtual, bi-monthly listening sessions to hear directly from members of the public. To schedule a listening session, please send a brief email expressing interest to

MLA will submit comments and input. We encourage members of the health sciences library community to share perspectives and input as part of this important work to improve the quality and usefulness of Federal race and ethnicity data. Please contact Mary Langman with questions.

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