Center for American Progress

: Geneticizing Disease: Implications for Racial Health Disparities
Past Event

Geneticizing Disease: Implications for Racial Health Disparities

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

Today’s dialogue in medical journals and the mainstream press on health disparities in American society increasingly focuses on individuals’ genetic predispositions to disease. More and more, race is interjected into this dialogue as scientists link genes of certain racial groups to medical conditions while pharmaceutical companies increasingly seek to medicate those conditions. Unfortunately, during this process the focus on reducing and preventing racial health disparities – which in large part can be attributed to social determinants – becomes obscured.

The Center for American Progress and Generations Ahead will explore these trends and their implications for addressing racial health disparities by hosting a public dialogue. Meredith King, co-author of "Geneticizing Disease: Implications for Racial Health Disparities," which will be released at the event, will provide an overview of the issue and the paper’s findings. Law professor Dorothy will follow with a legal and racial perspective on the implications of "geneticizing" disease. And in closing, Mildred Thompson will discuss the known non-medical determinants of health, such as environment, insurance status, and other socio-economic factors. Jamie D. Brooks, co-author of the paper, will moderate the discussion to follow.

Featured Panelists

Meredith King, Health Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress

Mildred Thompson, Senior Director and Director of the PolicyLink Center for Health and Place

Dorothy Roberts, Kirkland and Ellis Professor, Northwestern University Law School. Currently a fellow at Stanford University’s Research Institute of Comparative Studiess in Race and Ethnicity focusing on "Race Consciousness in Law, Politics, and Biotechnology."


Jamie Brooks, Project Director on Race, Health, and Justice, Generations Ahead (formerly a program of the Center for Genetics and Society)