Why we should continue to study race . . . but do a better job: An essay on race, racism and health

Thomas A. Laveist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


For at least a century, American medical and public health researchers have used race as a marker for biology, and have documented race-associated differences in health and illness behavior. The research has often been inappropriate and has led to abuses and erroneous conclusions about the role played by race in the production of disparities in health status. Consequently, some researchers have begun to advocate the abolition of medical and public health research using race. In this essay, I argue that, although the arguments against continuing to study race have some merit, more rather than fewer studies of race are needed. Researchers should be more careful in the use of race and more conscious of the limitations of the race concept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1996



  • Health
  • Race
  • Racism
  • Study of Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this