The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4197.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 3:20 PM

Abstract #74175

"Health disparities" and antiracist advocacy:A huge gap

Richard J. David, MD, Division of Neonatology, Cook County Hospital, 1835 W. Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612-9985, 312-633-6686,

Drawing from my own experience in the epidemiology of race differences in IM and LBW I illustrate the difficulties of conducting simulataneously epidemiolgic research and advocacy in "health disparities". When the mainstream of research, as it often the case in medical environments, is dominated by conservative theories (e.g., biology of race, liberal individualistic/cultural approaches to race disparities that ignore economic factors) it becomes extraordinarily difficult to advocate for meaninglful social change based on research that is acceptable to one's field. The more one's advocacy shifts towards the egalitarian economic and political spectrum of the ideological dimension ("right-left"), the harder it becomes the keep research consistent with advocacy goals. Overall there is a strong pressure among epidemiologists to accommodate their advocacy to the narrow scope determined by the research that gets published or funded or to disassociate research from public health advocacy as a way to "ask forgiveness" for researching uncomfortable (i.e., political and economic) topics.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Disparities, Social Inequalities

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.

Is Scientific Research Compatible With Political, Community And Labor Activism?

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA