There was a lot of variation in how race and ethnic groups were portrayed, reported on, and analyzed in the hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) literature, despite the existence of established racial and ethnic inequities in treatment. For a study, researchers sought to assess the reporting of race and ethnicity information in HPM research and the diversity of races and ethnicities among study participants.

On January 1, 2015, through December 31, 2019, they identified adult patient and/or caregiver-centered studies completed in the United States and published as JPSM Original Articles. The frequency of factors associated with reporting racial and ethnic identity was compiled using descriptive analysis.

A total of 218 studies out of 1,253 screened were eligible and examined. About 78 distinct racial and ethnic group designations were used. Based on classifications from the Office of Management & Budget, more than 85% of studies featured ≥ 1 non-standard label. Exactly how race and ethnicity data were gathered was not explained in 25% of the research, and there was no justification in 83% of them. Only 14 research specifically addressed race- or ethnic-based health or health inequalities, and more than half of the studies did not include race- or ethnic-based data in the analysis. Studies comprised 95%, 71%, 43%, 37%, 10%, and 4% of people who identified as White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or another Pacific Islander. White people made up a larger percentage than 57.8% of the population in the United States in 92% of surveys.

The results indicated that there was significant potential to standardize race and ethnicity reporting, work for diversity, equity, and inclusion among research participants, and give racial and ethnic discrepancies in HPM research top priority.