The importance of race and ethnic background in biomedical research and clinical practice.

  title={The importance of race and ethnic background in biomedical research and clinical practice.},
  author={Esteban Gonz{\'a}lez Burchard and Elad Ziv and Natasha E. Coyle and Scarlett Lin Gomez and Hua Tang and Andrew J. Karter and Joanna L. Mountain and Eliseo J Perez-stable and Dean Sheppard and Neil Risch},
  journal={The New England journal of medicine},
  volume={348 12},
A debate has recently arisen over the use of racial classification in medicine and biomedical research. In particular, with the completion of a rough draft of the human genome, some have suggested that racial classification may not be useful for biomedical studies, since it reflects “a fairly small number of genes that describe appearance”1 and “there is no basis in the genetic code for race.”2 In part on the basis of these conclusions, some have argued for the exclusion of racial and ethnic… 

Race/ethnicity in biomedical research and clinical practice.

This short article will discuss controversies about whether persons of different racial/ethnic groups are biologically significantly different, and, if such differences exist, whether they are relevant in relation to disease susceptibility and to treatment outcomes, and the importance of responsible and sensitive use of race/ethnicity as a variable in biomedical research and in clinical practice.

Race and ancestry in biomedical research: exploring the challenges

The nature of the race controversy in the context of biomedical research is reviewed and several challenges to policy action are highlighted, including restrictions resulting from commercial or regulatory considerations, the difficulty in presenting precise terminology in the media, and drifting or ambiguous definitions of key terms.

Characterization of clinical study populations by race and ethnicity in biomedical literature.

Though it has increased over the past few decades, the reporting of race/ethnicity of study populations is relatively low, ambiguous and inconsistent, likely influenced by the uncertain relevance of these variables to the study's outcomes, study location, researcher views, and the policies of journals and funding agencies.

The racialization of disease: a qualitative and quantitative analysis of race and ethnicity in biomedical research.

Despite guidelines for the use of the terms “race” and “ethnicity”, researchers and editors are neither using nor enforcing the useof them respectively, this research suggests.

The Role of Genetic and Sociopolitical Definitions of Race in Clinical Trials

Three policy options exist for improving the National Institutes of Health Policy on Reporting Race and Ethnicity: using genetic ancestry instead of census racial categories, developing a standardized definition of race using current science, and redefining minority group populations and subpopulations using social environment variables rather than census Racial categories.

Genes, Race, and Population: Avoiding a Collision of Categories

  • J. Kahn
  • Political Science, Medicine
    American journal of public health
  • 2006
This discussion focuses on relations between the daily practices of biomedical professionals and federal regulatory mandates and offers a framework to manage the tension involved in using existing federally mandated categories of race and ethnicity alongside new scientific findings about human genetic variation.

Race, Genetic Ancestry, and Health

It is believed that the casual use of “race” to define groups in biomedical research has contributed to the authors' limited understanding of complex disease etiology and risk factors driving health disparities.

Use and Misuse of ‘Race’ in Biomedical Research

It is argued that clear, consistent, and medically-relevant use of racial concepts in research promotes scientific responsibility, biomedical justice, and an improved social understanding of race.

The justifiability of racial classification and generalizations in contemporary clinical and research practice

This paper argues that racial classification and generalization may sometimes be justified in clinical treatment and research, in part to ensure better outcomes for the individual patients subject to

Commentary: Race and Ethnicity in Biomedical Research - Classifications, Challenges, and Future Directions.

An overview of the classification of race and ethnicity in the United States over time, the existing challenges in using race andethnicity in biomedical research and future research directions is provided.



Categorization of humans in biomedical research: genes, race and disease

An epidemiologic perspective on the issue of human categorization in biomedical and genetic research that strongly supports the continued use of self-identified race and ethnicity is provided.

Commentary: considerations for use of racial/ethnic classification in etiologic research.

These suggested guidelines address issues of variable definition, study design, and covariate control, providing a consistent foundation for etiologic research programs that neither ignore racial/ethnic disease disparities nor obfuscate the nature of these disparities through inappropriate analytical approaches.

Medicine and the racial divide.

Two Sounding Board articles in this issue of the Journal are the most recent contributions to the debate over whether race — defined broadly as the sharing of a common ancestry — should be considered by those who study disease and patients' responses to treatment.

Racial profiling in medical research.

  • R. Schwartz
  • Medicine
    The New England journal of medicine
  • 2001
Two articles in this issue of the Journal deal with the treatment of heart failure in white and black patients and contend that enalapril, an angiotensin-converting–enzyme inhibitor, is more effective in whites than in blacks with left ventricular dysfunction.

Race, ethnicity, and genomics: social classifications as proxies of biological heterogeneity.

The burden of showing the scientific utility of racial and ethic identities in the construction and analysis of genomic resources falls on researchers, which requires that genetic researchers pay as much attention to the social constitution of human populations as presently is paid to their genetic composition.

Blood pressure variation in blacks: genetic factors.

A strong genetic component for the physiology of "salt sensitivity" is suggested, and Phenotypes that are indicative of this sensitivity are more common in African Americans than in Americans of European descent and in hypertensive African American compared with normotensive African Americans.

Origins of u.s. Hispanics: Implications for Diabetes

The high frequency of Native American-derived genes in the contemporary Hispanic population predict a higher frequency of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) under the assumption that genes are important in NIDDM etiology.

Toward a New Vocabulary of Human Genetic Variation

Researchers are asked to carefully consider for what purpose they are using race, to define and use the term consistently, and to be aware that race is not a fixed biological entity, but only one way among many to describe human variation.

The effect of race and sex on physicians' recommendations for cardiac catheterization.

It is suggested that the race and sex of a patient independently influence how physicians manage chest pain.

Racial disparities in access to renal transplantation--clinically appropriate or due to underuse or overuse?

Racial disparities in rates of renal transplantation stem from differences in clinical characteristics that affect appropriateness as well as from underuse of transplantation among blacks and overuse among whites.