Professor Sander L. Gilman will guest edit a special issue of the journal Patterns of Prejudice on ‘Race in Contemporary Medicine’, to be published in 2006.
With the first patent being granted to ‘BiDil’, a combined medication that is deemed to be most effective for a specific form of heart failure when used by members of a specific ‘race’, namely, African Americans, the ongoing debate about the effect of an older category of ‘race’ has been renewed. What role should ‘race’ play in the discussion of genetic alleles and populations today? The new genetics has seemed to make ‘race’ a category that is useful, if not indeed necessary. The New York Times noted recently: ‘Race-based prescribing makes sense only as a temporary measure.’ Should one think about ‘race’ as a transitional category that is of some use while we continue to explore the actual genetic makeup and relationships in populations? Or is such a transitional solution poisoning the actual research and practice?
This special issue will focus on this and the following questions from both a bio-medical and a social perspective.
Who defines ‘race’? Is it a self-defined group, or is it defined by the government, the research funder, the researcher?
Does ‘race’ present both epidemiological and historical problems for the society in which it is raised as well as for medical research and practice?
What does one do with what are deemed ‘race-specific’ diseases such as ‘Jewish genetic diseases’ that are so defined because they are often concentrated in a group but are also found beyond the group?
Are we comfortable designating ‘African-Americans’ or ‘Jews’ as ‘races’ given their genetic diversity?
One-page proposals for papers addressing these and related questions should be submitted by e-mail before 31 August 2005. All such papers must be the original work of the author/s; they will be subject to peer review and the editors’ decisions will be final. Please submit proposals to Sander Gilman, .
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