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Science Matters

The Medicalization of Race

Moderated by Tavis Smiley

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Human Genome Project shows that 99.9 percent of the human genome is the same in everyone regardless of race. Based on this, many scientists argue that 'race' has no biological meaning and is used to perpetuate harmful social inequities. Others contend that racial groups can genetically differ from one another and that the differences can have medical importance.

How valid is the concept of race from the biological standpoint? Should race matter or should medicine be colorblind? How much should doctors and researchers place on the role of race in health issues?

Scientists presented the scientific basis of race and human variation. In this light, panelists offered different viewpoints on the science and policy of racial categorization in medical research and disease treatment.

Podcast availible at TavisSmileyRadio.com.

Featured panelists included: (click name for bio)

Tavis Smiley—moderator

Host, Tavis Smiley on PBS and The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI

Pragna Patel, Ph.D.

Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute for Genetic Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Yolanda T. Moses, Ph.D.

Professor of Anthropology; Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Excellence and Equity; and Vice Provost for Conflict Resolution at the University of California, Riverside

Esteban González Burchard, M.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor, Departments of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Michael J. Montoya, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine
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