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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4164.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 1:00 PM

Abstract #122079

Race and ethnicity in health services research

Susan Moscou, MPH, MSN, Brandeis University, Heller School of Social Policy, ., New York, NY 11367, 914-966-7184, smoscou@earthlink.net

Despite potential influences on the way clinical care is delivered as well as health policy implications, little systematic research has been done to understand the attitudes and practices of researchers towards the collection and analysis of racial/ethnic data, the validity of these variables as measurement tools in research, and their ability to explain racial and ethnic differences in health outcomes. How researchers operationalize and conceptualize racial/ethnic variables determines their explanations for health disparities and health outcomes among individuals and groups. Without a critical examination of these variables, researchers may inadvertently reinforce poorly designed studies that advance incorrect or inadequate interpretations of racial/ethnic health disparities. These interpretations may then lead to medical over/under treatment of groups identified with a particular “race” or “ethnicity” as well as implementing interventions and policies that do not get at the root causes of the difference or disparity noted. Preliminary dissertation data were derived from semi-structured interviews with 46 study participants (33 researchers affiliated with urban academic health centers in the south, west, and northeast, 6 private and public funding agencies and 7 interviews with health policy and clinical journal editors). This preliminary study will examine how researchers collect, operationalize, and analyze racial/ethnic data, the validity of these variables as measurement tools, and how race-based research may inform clinical practice and health policy. Additionally, the study will explore how funding agencies and journal editors contribute to the practice of collecting racial and ethnic data.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Race, racism, and race-based medicine: Current issues

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA