Week 2: Reflection Post Prompt

Title: Write down the “race(s)”  or “ethnicity” you identify with and an illness that is disproportionately prevalent among that group.  (e.g. “Cervical Cancer among Asian women” or “Tay Sachs disease among Jewish children”)

Body: (300 words)

  • Insert a graph or image illustrating rates of this disease in one ethnic group compared to another
  • Based on the materials from this week, explain the relationship between race, genetics, and health. Be thorough in your explanation and use examples from class.
  • Explain the health disparity you chose in your title and explain why you think it is so prevalent among that group (genetic factors? social determinants?)

Comment: (200 words)

  • Choose a post that identified a different health disparity in their title.
  • Read through their post and evaluate their explanation of the relationship between race, genetics and health? Is there something they didn’t consider? Did they mention something you wouldn’t have considered?
  • Tell them how useful you think racial categories are in clinical studies and offer a better way of talking about racialized health disparities.

This Post Has 7 Comments

    • Taz Karim says:

      Excellent question – pick one for the sake of this topic, or if you can find an illness is disproportionately common among “multi-racial” groups, that could also be very interesting. Either way, I would include a discussion/critique of how biological/cultural notions of being “multi-racial” can affect how we understand health disparities. The idea of race is extremely complicated which is why anthropologists have written so much about it. Its influence on how we understand medicine is equally as complicated and as a result, has serious implications with how we understand and treat illness. For more information, see the American Anthropological Association’s statement on “race”: http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm

      • Nia Franklin says:

        I don’t know if you have graded my post yet but I chose to focus on 2 races I identify with that have a similar problem. Hoping that’s okay.

  1. Josh Williams says:

    I think that Naomi had a very good description of the relationship between genetics, race and health. One thing I think may add to her description is how the health and genetics generally interconnect and contribute to peoples overall risk of disease. In the case of her example of the Pima tribe, it would be appropriate to say that not only their genetics but also their health, such as diet, levels of exercise and availability of healthcare play a major factor in the communities increased risk of diabetes. Health and genetics tend to have additive properties with each other. If a person has a high risk for diabetes genetically, but is very healthy, that person would have a much lower risk for the disease than if they were not healthy. I feel that racial categories have no real applications to clinical medicine because race is so difficult to define. As an example, it would be difficult to define someone who is mixed African and Caucasian descent, would they be classified as black or white or in their own category? I think it would better to simply stick to genetic attributes in the clinical setting because this way, a physician can focus on medical history and look at correlations with that specific individuals past and not an entire history of a people to help diagnose one individual person.

  2. Haley Macko says:

    I was looking over my Week 2 Reflection post and noticed that my graph couldn’t be viewed. I am really confused as to why this is? When I published it there was nothing wrong with the post and you could see the graph clearly so I am not sure as to why once its posted the image doesn’t show up. In its place is a box with a question mark.

    • Taz Karim says:

      Haley – I would try deleting the image, saving the post, then pasting the image again. Either way, please include a direct link to the image in your post and leave a note for Nikki indicating your issue so she can give you credit.

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