W2 Reflection: Tuberculosis among Asians

Based on materials from this week, there are some journals and video clips that support how to define among races, genetics, and health. For races and genetics, even people have different races with different culture, being healthy or not are determined by checking individual’s health at the hospital. Even though different cultures and environments may cause certain diseases that are relatively higher than other races, being unhealthy and healthy is depending on how the individuals care about their own health not just because it derives from racial differences and genetic differences. For example, the journal, How Race Becomes Biology: Embodiment of Social Inequality from Gavlee explains that race/ethnicity affects on genetic problem on health is only assumption without being tested. Also, the real studies show that there is no genetic data that has effects on different races. Another example would be the film “Becoming American.” In this film, comparing immigrant Latinos’ life style and health status to Americans. When they present immigrant Latinos’health, they say that it is ironic that Latinos are healthier than Americans. However, that is only because the area that immigrant Latinos live in is poor and dangerous not because of their race and genetic differences. At the end, immigrant Latinos will be having the same diseases as Americans because they are getting used to the American culture and environment. Overall, races, genetics, and health are not strictly related and affecting each other, but there are little connections between genetics and health relations by inheriting from ancestors without considering any race.

TB Rates by Race


The health disparity that I chose is Tuberculosis. Generally, Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that bacteria normally attacks person’s lung, but can attack any of body parts to cause coughs, sneezes, chest pains, and fever. It can be spread through the air when people have TB infections such as coughing and sneezing to other people. The reason why Asians are more likely to have Tuberculosis is that most of Asian countries are still developing countries which cause poor immune system and living in an inadequate environment. Furthermore, Tuberculosis has social determinants because it can be spread through people within concentrated areas and large populations. Also, in Asia, there is no strong knowledge of Tuberculosis in order to prevent or beware of certain situations of spreading through humans compare to other races living in developed countries.

“Basic TB Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 13, 2012. Accessed May 30, 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/default.htm.

“New CDC Data for TB in the U.S.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. March 19, 2015. Accessed May 30, 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2015/World-TB-Day-2015-graphics.html.

2 thoughts on “W2 Reflection: Tuberculosis among Asians

  1. Hi Sunjoon,

    I picked your post to comment on because I was unaware of the high correlation between tuberculosis in Asian communities, while a lot of the other titles of health conditions classmates looked at I had a generate notion of before.

    I really liked that you made a distinction between race and culture, though not required to. I believe the cultural environment one is in plays a role in their physical health more so than does their so called race. I also liked that you mentioned that how one determines health is not based on racial or genetic differences, but more so their environment.

    In the case of the commonality of tuberculosis in Asian communities, once I started to read what you had to say I felt it made total sense. You note how it is more of the fact that Asia is a less developed nation rather than because of their race or genetics that causes the high rates of tuberculosis. I feel as though people that live in the same area are often grouped into being of the same race and therefore we state that a particular race is more susceptible to particular medical illnesses. As you mentioned, tuberculosis is spread as a result of close contact with someone that is already infected. Developing nations typically have high population densities. I believe that the increased correlation between tuberculosis and those of the Asian “race” is really just a result of the environment people live in rather than their race or genetics.

    With that said, I believe clinical trials find it easier to use labels such as races rather than breaking their subjects down by location/environment. Like I said before, people that live in the same place are often simplified down to being called of the same race. I believe there are not so much racial health disparities, but rather environmental health disparities.

  2. Hi Sunjoon,

    I really enjoy reading your post because I’ve done my senior seminar paper on tuberculosis last year and am also quite concern about tuberculosis spreading among Asians. In your post, you mentioned that Asians are more likely to have Tuberculosis because most of Asian countries are still developing countries which cause poor immune system and living in an inadequate environment. However, I don’t really agree to that statement. This could be true if we are referring to older generations in Asia. As technology and medical health system improved over the years, many new born baby are required to take vaccines for tuberculosis so they can prevent it at a younger age. People in Asia are more aware that tuberculosis is a huge factor and could lead to severe illness nowadays. Also, world wide medical volunteers travel to less developed countries to educate and provide free medical testing.

    I agree that people with different races and culture does not reflect on their health. To determine whether or not an individual is healthy, they should rely on the tests given at clinics and hospitals. I believe that race could be more than just what our skin colors are or what background we come from. Instead, it could be also be considered as people who lived in the same area, people who have similar diets, and people with similar habits. In that case, racial categories in clinical studies will be more accurate and can lead to new inventions on treatments for illness.

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