Abolishing Biological Race in Medicine: Report Launch & Community Dialogue

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Berkeley Way West Room 1203

2121 Berkeley Way

Berkeley, CA 94704

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Report launch of "Towards the Abolition of Biological Race in Medicine: Transforming Clinical Education, Research, and Practice"

About this Event

Join us in community & dialogue as we reveal our report "Towards the Abolition of Biological Race in Medicine: Transforming Clinical Education, Research and Practice" and listen to critical practitioners, scholars, and learners on working towards a more just, equitable future in medicine.

6-6:15: Refreshments & Community

6:15-7: Presentation of "Towards the Abolition of Biological Race in Medicine: Transforming Clinical Education, Research and Practice"

7-8: Community Dialogue featuring:

  • Dr. Monica Hahn on Removing the Use of Race in eGFR at SFGH
  • 11/4 at UCSF: UCSF URM Student Leader Dialogue Panel
  • 11/13 at Berkeley Way West: Interdisciplinary Critical Theory Scholars, Faculty, and Health Practitioners

REPORT DESCRIPTION

"Towards the Abolition of Biological Race in Medicine: Transforming Clinical Education, Research and Practice" written by the Abolishing Racism in Medicine Working Group of the Freedom School for Intersectional Medicine and Health Justice bridges existing research by critical theory scholars and research to guide clinicians and student leaners in medicine, public health, and beyond on why the use of biological race must be abolished in medicine and clinical research, education, and practice. We begin with how medicine is rooted in a violent history of racism and has scientifically codified race as a biological construct throughout history. From this foundation, we draw on current examples of the use of biological race in medicine (e.g. present day diagnosis and treatment) to highlight the urgent need to transform these outdated practices and center patient care.

Drawing on existing research examples of heart disease, hypertension, BiDil, kidney disease and GFR, lung function and spirometry, and genetic ancestry/precision medicine, we argue that current use of race is not only outdated but harmful and violent to patient care of Black and Brown communities.

The 50-page report includes 4 main sections:

  • Racism, not Race Causes Health Disparities
  • Cranial Capacities to Eugenics: A Historical Overview of How Medicine and Health Sciences Has Biologized Race
  • Race-Based Medicine in Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Conclusions and Visions Moving Forward

AUTHOR STATEMENT

The use of biological race in medicine is an unchallenged, outdated norm throughout clinical education, research, and practice.

Medicine largely frames racial health disparities in terms of biological difference and individual behavior, despite evidence that most health issues stem from and are perpetuated by social and structural factors.

As a result, medicine fails to address racism and its health consequences.

Racism -- a structure and ideology that oppresses and limits resources to minority groups -- is rarely discussed in clinical health and the health sciences as a meaningful determinant of health outcomes. Thus, racial health disparities are often wrongly tied to the false conceptions of biology and physiology of racial groups rather than the stratified socioeconomic opportunities that are available.

As medical students and graduate student researchers, we witness these harms every day in our textbooks, classrooms, clinics, and communities. We envision a world where the social construct of race is not conflated with biology and the health consequences of racism are acknowledged, addressed, and cared for in all its forms.

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Berkeley Way West Room 1203

2121 Berkeley Way

Berkeley, CA 94704

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