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October 16, 2018

Race, Ancestry, and Reporting in Medical Journals

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, Loyola University Medical School, Maywood, Illinois
  • 2The Charles Bronfman Institute of Personalized Medicine, Mt Sinai Hospital and Medical Center, New York, New York
  • 3Center for Healthful Behavior Change, Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York
JAMA. 2018;320(15):1531-1532. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.10960

Making sense of race is a difficult challenge for biomedicine. Should medicine focus on shared humanity or recognize the salience of racial and ethnic divisions? While physicians and patients continue to hope for a future free of racial animus, the unfortunate reality is that race continues to adversely affect the health and well-being of millions of individuals. The effect of race must therefore be measured and explicated. The quality of data on racial inequities has increased exponentially in recent decades, and a vast literature exists of primary reports, books, committee reviews, and recommendations from government panels. Yet, with all this documenting and cataloguing, is science meeting its obligation to make a socially useful contribution?

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