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Mapping "Race"

Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research

Laura E. Gómez

Publication Year: 2013

Researchers commonly ask subjects to self-identify their race from a menu of preestablished options. Yet if race is a multidimensional, multilevel social construction, this has profound methodological implications for the sciences and social sciences. Race must inform how we design large-scale data collection and how scientists utilize race in the context of specific research questions. This landmark collection argues for the recognition of those implications for research and suggests ways in which they may be integrated into future scientific endeavors. It concludes on a prescriptive note, providing an arsenal of multidisciplinary, conceptual, and methodological tools for studying race specifically within the context of health inequalities.

Contributors: John A. Garcia, Arline T. Geronimus, Laura E. Gómez, Joseph L. Graves Jr., Janet E. Helms, Derek Kenji Iwamoto, Jonathan Kahn, Jay S. Kaufman, Mai M. Kindaichi, Simon J. Craddock Lee, Nancy López, Ethan H. Mereish, Matthew Miller, Gabriel R. Sanchez, Aliya Saperstein, R. Burciaga Valdez, Vicki D. Ybarra

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: Critical Issues in Health and Medicine

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 1-4


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pp. v-vi

Figures and Tables

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

In 2008, the National Institutes of Health hosted over five thousand scholars at its first Science of Eliminating Health Disparities Summit. The subsequent annual summits were designed to encourage integration of science, practice, and policy to build a healthier society. ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

The story of how this book came to exist is somewhat unusual, and thus we include it here as a way of charting the intellectual genesis of Mapping “Race.” We intentionally invoke the word “mapping” in the book’s title as a metaphor to capture the complexity of “race” and to emphasize the need for researchers to grapple with that complexity. ...

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Chapter 1: Introduction: Taking the Social Construction of Race Seriously in Health Disparities Research

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pp. 1-22

Typing the word “disparities” into the search engine of the American Diabetes Association web site generates nearly 1,700 hits that relate to racial and/or ethnic gaps in diabetes rates and care (http://www.diabetes.org, accessed July 5, 2012). Similarly, an agency of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department proclaims that the risk of diabetes ...

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Part I: Charting the Problem

This section of Mapping “Race” charts the scope of the problem identified in chapter 1: not adequately conceptualizing “race” as socially constructed leads to weaknesses in terms of both how we assess and attempt to redress health disparities linked to race. ...

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Chapter 2: The Politics of Framing Health Disparities: Markets and Justice

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pp. 25-38

The increase of using race as a biological construct in biomedical research and practice raises concerns over the dangers of reifying race in a manner that leads to new forms of discrimination. The most prominent example of racialized medicine is BiDil, the first drug ever approved by the FDA with a race-specific indication on its label—for use in “Black” patients. ...

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Chapter 3: Looking at the World through “Race”-­Colored Glasses: The Fallacy of Ascertainment Bias in Biomedical

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pp. 39-52

The mortality pattern difference between African Americans and Euro-Americans in the twentieth century was staggering. Figure 3.1 shows the ratios of age-specific mortality from all sources for these two populations from 1963, 1980, 1996, and 2004. ...

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Chapter 4: Ethical Dilemmas in Statistical Practice: The Problem of Race in Biomedicine

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pp. 53-66

Most discussions of ethics in statistical practice revolve around declaring conflicts of interest due to funding sources and engaging in honest descriptions of data and procedures (American Statistical Association 1983, 1999; International Statistical Institute 1985; Jowell 1981). ...

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Chapter 5: A Holistic Alternative to Current Survey Research Approaches to Race

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pp. 67-84

Social scientists have examined and used measures of race for much of the period marking the advent of empirical social science. The world’s largest social science data archive, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, maintains an archive of more than 70,000 data sets of research in the social sciences. ...

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Part II: Navigating Diverse Empirical Settings

The opening chapter of Mapping “Race” argued that the conventional approach to studying race-based health disparities has been characterized by the failure to rigorously define and operationalize “race.” The core problem is twofold. First, research that does not expressly conceptualize race often ends up reifying race as a fixed characteristic that is implicitly rooted in biology. ...

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Chapter 6: Organizational Practice and Social Constraints: Problems of Racial Identity Data Collection in Cancer Care and Research

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pp. 87-103

This chapter focuses on the pragmatics of how race and ethnic identity data are collected in the course of clinical care, drawing from my own interactions with the staff and procedural mechanisms of a university medical center and county safety-net hospital. This chapter differs from others in this volume because I set aside topics such as the legitimacy of the race construct, ...

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Chapter 7: Lessons from Political Science: Health Status and Improving How We Study Race

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pp. 104-116

Over the past twenty-plus years, hundreds of studies have verified the persistence of pervasive racial/ethnic inequities in access to health care, health outcomes, and health status in the United States (for a sampling, see AHRQ 2009; Berenson et al. 1996; Collins et al. 1999; Gornick 2000; James et al. 2007; McGuire and Miranda 2008; ...

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Chapter 8: Advancing Asian American Mental Health Research by Enhancing Racial Identity Measures

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pp. 117-130

Asian Americans are often racialized by society through the minimization of Asian ethnic group variations and the exaggeration of similarities across these ethnic groups (Liu and Iwamoto 2006). As a result, diverse people with a particular phenotype are categorized racially as “Asian” regardless of various ethnic differences (Iwamoto and Liu 2010). ...

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Part III: Surveying Solutions

In this final section of Mapping “Race,” we survey conceptual and methodological solutions to the problems we have identified in the prior eight chapters. These three chapters are written by scholars in sociology, psychology, and public health who present diverse ways of closing the gap between conceptualizing race as a socially constructed, multidimensional, dynamic phenomenon ...

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Chapter 9: Representing the Multidimensionality of Race in Survey Research

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pp. 133-145

When designing and conducting research, taking the claim that race is socially constructed seriously is easier said than done. Some methods, such as historical/ archival research or in-depth interviewing and ethnography, are better suited to reveal the specific moments, mechanisms, and processes through which racialized categories and boundaries shape life chances ...

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Chapter 10: How Racial-­Group Comparisons Create Misinformation in Depression Research: Using Racial Identity Theory to Conceptualize Health Disparities

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pp. 146-162

A multitude of studies in various physical and mental health domains attests to disparities in health outcomes of African Americans, Latina/Latino Americans, Asian/Pacific Island Americans, Native or Indigenous Americans (ALANAs), and immigrant groups of Color relative to their White American counterparts (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2001).1 ...

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Chapter 11: Jedi Public Health: Leveraging Contingencies of Social Identity to Grasp and Eliminate Racial Health Inequality

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pp. 163-178

Eliminating racial health inequality remains seemingly impervious to efforts and intentions. Of significance in addressing this dilemma is the concept of race and how this concept is and can be linked to health. Historically, public health has conceptualized race either as static, essentialist characteristics ...

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Chapter 12: Contextualizing Lived Race-­Gender and the Racialized-­Gendered Social Determinants of Health

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pp. 179-212

When I take my two daughters and other family members to the local hospitals in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I am sometimes asked to fill out forms regarding “race,” ethnicity, and language at the registration desk.1 As I fill out these forms, I make note of the large bright posters lining some of the registration cubicles, which feature smiling patients from a variety of backgrounds. ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 213-216


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pp. 217-228

E-ISBN-13: 9780813561387
E-ISBN-10: 0813561388
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813561370

Page Count: 246
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Critical Issues in Health and Medicine