RACISM, GENETICS & CLINICAL DECISION-MAKING

THE curriculum

For centuries, race has been used to explain differences in healthcare outcomes between people of different races. Modern understanding of genetics shows us that there is profound genetic heterogeneity that are read as being of the same race. This curriculum serves to critically examine the history and practice of using race as a proxy for genetic risk in the era of personalized medicine.

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Taking Race out of Human Genetics

In this 2016 Science article, Roberts et al argue that race is not a valid proxy for genetic ancestry in scientific research and healthcare provision.

Radiolab: Race and Medicine (20 min)

BiDil was the first drug approved by the FDA for a specific racial group. We want to know what the ramifications are for using skin color as a diagnostic tool for diseases and disorders that can't be seen. Producer Soren Wheeler talks to Dr. Jay Cohn, developer of BiDil and cardiac specialist. Sociologist Troy Duster and epidemiologist Richard Cooperdiscuss race, medicine, slippery slopes, and the dangers of false stereotypes. 

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WHAT DOCTORS SHOULD IGNORE

New York Times op-ed piece on the perils of race as a proxy for genetic ancestry. 

Radiolab: race doesn't exist. Or does it? (22 min)

Tony Frudakis and his company DNA Print Genomics believe they can identify hair, eye, and skin color and point to the genetic ancestry of test subjects by scanning their DNA. NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce goes to investigate, using a sample of Jad's DNA to find out what they could discover. The results? Surprising to all. We found another surprised DNA test subject, Wayne Joseph, a high school principal and writer on the topic of race.

the problem with race-based medicine

In this Ted Med talk, Dorothy Roberts discusses the pitfalls of using race in clinical decision-making and encourages other ways of thinking about genetic risk.