The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4166.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 4

Abstract #51236

Role of race in health research: New directions and policy implications

Amani Nuru-Jeter, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2380 Edgehill Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44106, 240-350-8821,

Despite empirical evidence illustrating the significance of race in determining health outcomes, researchers continue to assert that race is not an independent risk factor but rather a proxy for socioeconomic status (SES) such that once controlling for SES no race effect exists. This paper addresses this criticism, examines the appropriateness of statistical techniques in tests of race effects, and offers new direction in research on race and social inequalities in health.

A systematic and comprehensive literature review is used to illustrate the various uses of race in health research. The strengths and weaknesses of different approaches are discussed as well as suggestions of alternative methodologies that will improve the relevance and application of such research.

Next, the author examines historically the role of race and racial discrimination in the social isolation of blacks in America and its contribution to the racial divide in health. The effects of divisions by race in promoting and contributing to other forms of social division and isolation and their effect on health is also discussed.

Over time, racial disparities in health have persisted, and in some instances widened. Therefore, it is imperative that researchers examine questions that not only identify social determinants of health but also explore pathways through which they shape and define life experiences of racial groups differently, rather than explaining away relationships that might exist. Researchers are challenged to develop theoretical frameworks informed by historical/cultural analyses and use them to direct future investigations of the role of race in health research.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Social Inequalities, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Poster session (NEW!): "Social Justice & Public Health: Student Posters"

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA