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Geneticizing Disease: Implications for Racial Health Disparities

by Jamie D. Brooks and Meredith L. King Genetic Crossroads
February 7th, 2008

This joint report [PDF] by the Center for American Progress and the Center for Genetics and Society examines the mainstream media's focus on genetic links to disease and health disparities and recent attempts to racialize those genetic links. Detailed in the report are the implications of this trend and a refocusing of the discussion on racial health disparities on the social determinants that impact disparities in the United States.

On January 15th, 2008 the Center for American Progress hosted a panel discussion for the release of the paper, Geneticizing Disease: Implications for Racial Health Disparities co-authored by Jamie D. Brooks of the Center for Genetics and Society and Meredith L. King of the Center for American Progress. In addition to the authors, the panelists included Lisa Crooms, Professor of Law at Howard University and Dr. Nicole Laurie of RAND.

The panel discussion highlighted the mainstream media's increasing focus on individuals' genetic predisposition to disease within a racial framework which may be obscuring the broader discussion on known social determinants that impact racial health disparities. The event was attended by 70 people.

A summary of the report was published at AlterNet.org as "Blaming Your Genes for Your Health Problems? Not so Fast."


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