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Contact: Public Information Office
The U.S. Census Bureau announced today the establishment of the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations and has named Sela Panapasa as a member of the committee.
The National Advisory Committee will advise the Census Bureau on a wide range of variables that affect the cost, accuracy and implementation of the Census Bureau’s programs and surveys, including the once-a-decade census. The committee, which is comprised of 32 members from multiple disciplines, will advise the Census Bureau on topics such as housing, children, youth, poverty, privacy, race and ethnicity, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other populations.
“We expect that the expertise of this committee will help us meet emerging challenges the Census Bureau faces in producing statistics about our diverse nation,” said Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director. “By helping us better understand a variety of issues that affect statistical measurement, this committee will help ensure that the Census Bureau continues to provide relevant and timely statistics used by federal, state and local governments as well as business and industry in an increasingly technologically oriented society.”
The National Advisory Committee members, who serve at the discretion of the Census Bureau director, are chosen to serve based on expertise and knowledge of the cultural patterns, issues and/or statistical needs of hard-to-count populations.
Sela Panapasa is an assistant research scientist in the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. Her work includes research on family support and intergenerational exchanges, population dynamics, racial/ethnic disparities and population-based survey research on Pacific Peoples. She is the principal investigator for numerous projects, including a study of Pacific Islander health and the assessment of federal data on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. Panapasa also chaired the Census Advisory Committee on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders. She continues to publish on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander health, including a recent article in the American Journal of Public Health on Native Hawaiian mortality patterns. She has received several awards, including the 2011 Health Disparities Research Leadership Award from the New York University School of Medicine's Center for the Study of Asian American Health and Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum. She is a Pacific Islander of Rotuman, Tongan and Tuvalu descent and originally from Fiji. She received her doctorate in sociology and demography from Brown University and completed a two-year National Institute on Aging postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Social Research Population Studies Center.