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A Utahn has been appointed to help represent the interests of Pacific islanders on a U.S. Census Bureau committee that advises how to reach "hard-to-count" populations.
Jacob Fitisemanu Jr., the outreach coordinator for the Utah Health Department's Office of Health Disparities, was one of 10 new members appointed Monday to the 32-member National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations.
"I hope to bring perspective from our community, not just Utah overall but underserved communities that are often undersampled or undercounted in the Census," he said.
Fitisemanu said his family is from New Zealand, Hawaii and Samoa. Utah has the nation's third largest Pacific islander community as a percentage of state population. Hawaii and Alaska are first and second.
"The Pacific islander community is one of the fastest-growing ethnic growing communities in the United States, and a very diverse community in terms of languages and different cultures. So it is crucial that we get an accurate count," Fitisemanu said.
Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson, who made the appointments on Monday, said, "The expertise of this committee will help us meet emerging challenges the Census Bureau faces in producing statistics about our diverse nation."