This week for our Readings we had to read Dressler et al (2005) article Race and Ethnicity in Public Research: Models to Explain Health Disparities and Viruell-Fuentes (2007) article Beyond Acculturation: Immigration, discrimination, and health research among Mexicans in the United States. Both of the articles were fascinating, but the one that struck me was the one by Dressler et al because it led me to a completely different way of thinking.
In the introduction of the piece, Dressler et al explain how “race and ethnicity are among the most commonly used variables in public health research,” (234) and I must admit that there are times when I look at disease in a racial sense. There was this idea that this was a “black problem” or an “Asian Problem” or even “A White Girl Problem. It was an unconscious thought, until I read this piece. I wasn’t trying to be mean or anything, but looking at research and listening to medical ads they always state different races as being prone to these issues.
Then I read the section “The Racial-Genetic Model.” Dressler et al explain how “racial and ethnic health disparities that emphasize genetic variants differentially distributed across these groups appears to have little explanation.” They show how different conditions such as birth weight and high blood pressure can vary within ethnicities that come from different environments, stating, “Kleinman and associates…found that the risk of neonatal mortality was 225 lower for foreign-born compared with U.S.-born black women” (235).
I found these results to be very interesting and I now feel like I need to re-examine the way that I consider disease across different races and ethnicities. Now I might be more willing to consider different factors such as the socioeconomic status model that Dressler et al presents.