Race, Medical Research, and Reparations

Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
  • Humanities in Medicine Lecture
Terri Laws, PhD, MDiv, African and African American Studies and Religious Studies, University of Michigan-Dearborn
terri_laws crop TC website 2.jpg

 

What is the moral aim of medical research in the context of race-based health inequity and health disparity? The history of race in medical research is fraught with misinformation, deceit, and disproportionate suffering and burden-bearing. Seeking to move past this cruel legacy to greater inclusiveness that helps to reduce health inequity, contemporary bioethical thought leaders focus on past wrongs. They use corrective language and practices such as informed consent, awareness of implicit bias, and community-based participatory research. These are helpful, multi-generational endeavors. Reparations discourse is provocative and specific and encompasses the sociocultural and political processes to advance medical research as justice work.

Terri Laws, PhD, MDiv employs theories and methods from the social sciences to investigate questions in race, religion, and society with healthcare and health inequities as her institutional focus. The aim of her research agenda is to contribute to the body of knowledge that reduces health inequity through the investigation of social and cultural factors. Professor Laws recently published “Tuskegee as Sacred Rhetoric: Focal Point for the Emergent Field of African American Religion and Health” in the Journal of Religion and Health. She is currently writing a race, religion and bioethics manuscript on African American religion and health.