By Carol Havens, M.D.
Your CCPD (Committee on Continuing Professional Development) met recently and among other things, discussed resolutions submitted by members and forwarded to our committee by the Board of Directors. One of those resolutions called on the CAFP to “end the practice of using race as a proxy for biology or genetics in their educational events and literature and require race be explicitly characterized as a social construct when describing risk factors for disease”. I originally thought this was an unnecessary resolution since we have never endorsed a practice of using race as a proxy for biology or genetics in our educational activities. However, smarter members of the committee persuaded me that not having a policy condemning the practice is implicating condoning it. Think of all the presentations you have heard where it is mentioned that Blacks, or Hispanics or some other group had a higher incidence of disease, as if that were the cause. And is it actually more likely to be because of social determinants of health like poverty, lack of transportation, poor access to health care?
This article ( On Racism: A New Standard For Publishing On Racial Health Inequities ) was shared with the committee and speaks to how racism is pervasive in medical literature and medical education. It made me think, and I hope it does the same for you.