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Race & Ethnicity in Health Care What are the Issues?. Elizabeth Sluyters Kimberly Stoop John Doyle MHST/NURS 620 - Culture and Health Athabasca University 2005. Introduction.
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MHST/NURS 620 - Culture and Health
For many years, biological explanations have been used to justify the partitioning of humanity into racial groups. But does this model adequately account for the characteristics of human biological races as they have traditionally been defined? Does this model of humanity account adequately for the biological and genetic variability? Does it do a good job of describing how human populations vary across the earth as well as within and between human populations? And do race models help in the clinical world?
This presentation is concerned with making you think about these issues.
Statistics concerning race and ethnicity are collected by many agencies, for reasons such as planning or to meet government regulations.
Naturalists divided mankind into several distinct races. One classification describes five races: the Caucasian, or white race, to which belong the greater part of the European nations and those of Western Asia; the Mongolian, or yellow race, occupying China, Japan, etc.; the Ethiopian, or negro race, occupying most of Africa (except the north), Australia, Papua, and other Pacific Islands; the American, or red race, comprising the Indians of North and South America; and the Malayan, or brown race, which occupies the islands of the Indian Archipelago, etc.
Race has no scientific merit outside of sociological classification - it is a biologically meaningless category. There are no significant genetic variations within the human species to justify the division of races.Race is merely a cultural term that people use to describe what a person's ancestry is.
Race is a meaningless concept that people in power use to suppress other people with different skin pigmentation.
Since the 1990s, data and models from genomics and cladistics (phylogenetic systematics) have resulted in a revolution in our understanding of human evolution, which has led some to propose a new "lineage" definition of race in terms of fuzzy sets, clusters, or extended families. Currently, opinions differ substantially within and among academic disciplines.
… any action, practice, or belief that reflects the racial worldview—the ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called "races," that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural behavioral features, and that some races are innately superior to others.
Encyclopedia Britannica 2004
There is a debate among biomedical researchers about the meaning and importance of race. The primary impetus for considering race in biomedical research is the possibility of improving the prevention and treatment of diseases by predicting hard-to-ascertain factors on the basis of more easily ascertained characteristics. But some fear that the use of racial labels in research risks unintentionally exasperating health disparities, and suggest alternatives to the use racial taxonomies.
Slight variations in a person’s DNA can have a major impact on whether or not we develop a disease, as well as impact on reactions to drugs and to other therapies.
Sickle cell disease is an inherited condition that is most common among people whose ancestors come from Africa, the Middle East, the Mediterranean basin, and India.
In the U.S., it affects primarily African Americans, about 0.3% of whom have some form of sickle cell disease, and approximately 10% of whom carry the sickle cell trait.
There are approximately 80,000 individuals in the United States with sickle cell disease.
CRITICAL FORUM LEADERSHIP
Readings and discussion questions: Unit 4