Use of Racial/Ethnic Identity in Medical Evaluations and Treatments

Award Year:
Richard Cooper, Jay Kaufman
Genetics, Racial Identity
Views about the importance of race in clinical medicine have come full circle in the past five years as the field of "pharmacogenomics" has ushered in the promise of medical treatments tailored to a patient's particular genetics. Jay S. Kaufman, Ph.D. and Richard S. Cooper, M.D. examine the re-emergence of race as a surrogate for genetic factors that can determine risk of disease, prognosis, and response to treatment. Their project, Use of Racial/Ethnic Identity in Medical Evaluations and Treatments, looks to published studies and surveillance data on health disparities among U.S. racial and ethnic groups for evidence that race should be a factor when considering health interventions. They want to determine whether policies that link race and ethnicity to medical care are scientifically justifiable and to quantify their costs and benefits. Drs. Kaufman and Cooper consider the implications of recruiting patients into clinical trials based on race, federal requirements for reporting trial data by racial group, approving therapies for specific racial/ethnic groups, and using race as a factor in determining therapy and drug dosage.