October 1994

Deconstructing Race in Medical Research

Author Affiliations

New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University New York

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(10):1014-1015. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170100012003

I AM THE codirector of a household survey examining health and disease in central Harlem in New York City, NY. This study, which is an attempt to understand a previously reported pattern of excess morbidity and mortality among Harlem residents,1 is designed to interview approximately 1000 residents of this well-known, predominantly African-American, inner-city community. In the course of data collection, three members of our fieldwork team have been exposed to violence. On two occasions, interviewers were caught in crossfire; on the third occasion the family being interviewed was attacked by thieves as the interview was concluded. These incidents have forced our research group to struggle to develop a perspective on violence in Harlem. Thus, I read with interest the article by Cummings and colleagues2 in this issue of the Archives, who noted that race was among the factors associated with increased risk for death from injury. The study

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