The problem with race based medicine

The problem with race based medicine

The problem with race based medicine

The following two TED Talks examine the ways that race & gender issues can impact medical care – both how it is prescribed & received.

Please watch the following videos:


Dorothy Roberts: “The Problem with Race-Based Medicine” – Social justice advocate and law scholar Dorothy Roberts has a precise and powerful message: Race-based medicine is bad medicine. Even today, many doctors still use race as a medical shortcut; they make important decisions about things like pain tolerance based on a patient’s skin color instead of medical observation and measurement. In this searing talk, Roberts lays out the lingering traces of race-based medicine — and invites us to be a part of ending it. “It is more urgent than ever to finally abandon this backward legacy,” she says, “and to affirm our common humanity by ending the social inequalities that truly divide us.”

Alyson McGregor: “Why Medicine Often Has Dangerous Side Effects for Women” – You might not know this: Many of the medicines we take — common drugs like Ambien and everyday aspirin — were only ever tested on men. And the unknown side effects for women can be dangerous, even deadly. Alyson McGregor studies the differences between male and female patients; in this fascinating talk she explains how the male model became our framework for medical research … and what women and men need to ask their doctors to get the right care for their bodies.

After watching the videos, please write a paragraph (150-300 words) in which you respond to the material of the videos. You may wish to use the following questions/prompts to form your response (but you are not required to):

What other impacts might gender bias or sexism have on men’s & women’s health?

What are some of the reasons why women’s health is so stigmatized or overlooked?

Think about the history of eugenics from the lectures you read – the history of medicine in the ways it has treated women/people of color – why is are we still treating people so differently based on these characteristics?

What are some ways we can work to change theses backward practices/beliefs?


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The Problem with Race-Based Medicine


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