Race Consciousness in Biomedicine, Law, and Social Policy

Award Year:
Dorothy Roberts
Health Care Law
The validity of race-based medicine remains highly controversial. Some scientists, policymakers, and activists criticize it as flawed given scientific evidence that there is far more genetic variation within racial groupings than between them. Others welcome it for its potential to address health disparities, past discrimination in the provision of medical care, and lack of minority representation in biomedical research. What is the proper role of race in medicine, biomedical and disparities research, and health policy? And how are views about race in medicine related to broader debates in America about racial equality? Dorothy E. Roberts, J.D. explores the development of race-based medicine and its relationship to concepts of social justice. Her project, Race Consciousness in Biomedicine, Law, and Social Policy, uses legal doctrine and theories of racial equality to examine scientific and political debates about race consciousness and colorblindness and to evaluate the ethics of using race in biomedical research and policy development. The results of her study should provide practical guidance to researchers and policymakers concerned with the proper role of race in science and health policy.