Dec. 5, 2017

The Robert L. Sadoff Lecture: The Problem with Race-Based Medicine


Doctors in the United States have long defined disease and treated patients according to race. Race-based medicine has supported an unjust social order, promoted physician biases about racial differences, and substituted race as a flawed proxy for more important clinical indicators.

Although the map of the human genome confirmed that race is not written in our genes, we are witnessing the resurgence of the biological race concept using cutting-edge genomic science and biotechnologies, such as race-specific medicines and ancestry tests, that mask the devastating impact of racism on our bodies and society.

Instead, good medicine and health justice require affirming our common humanity by working to end social inequities supported by the political system of race.


This lecture is presented by the Robert L. Sadoff endowment.

The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

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