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Title: Race, Genetics and Medicine: New Information, Enduring Questions: Final Report on Conference held on April 9, 2005 and its Sequelae

Abstract

The Conference, “Race, Genetics and Medicine: New Information, Enduring Questions,” was held on Saturday, April 9, 2005 in the Science Center, Lecture Hall D at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Approximately 150 people attended. The audience was composed mainly of college and graduate school science students and postdoctoral fellows, some science and medical school faculty, science teachers at various levels, journalists and interested members of the public. The keynote speaker and the panelists reflected different academic disciplines (genetics, medicine, anthropology, sociology) and a CEO of a biotechnology company with background in medicine and law. They also presented different perspectives on the utility of race concepts in medicine and even on the use of the word “race.” While the talks often involved descriptions of genetic approaches that were not simple to explain, the speakers did an effective job of getting across the gist of studies that have been carried out on these issues. Although no consensus was reached, the conference gave the audience the opportunity to understand the issues and to have the tools to follow the debates in the future. Our strongest feedback was from attendees who had heard of the race and genetics issues through various media, but did notmore » have a sense of what they were really about. They reported to us that they now felt they understood the basis of these discussions. Our post-conference activities have been successfully completed. While we had proposed to make available transcripts of the talks to the public through a Website, some of the speakers would not agree to have their presentations available in this way. Therefore, we asked permission from the DOE to use the funds to prepare classroom lesson plans for high school students to discuss the issues. These were prepared over a year-long period by the Genetic Screening Study Group Members with an educator, Ms. Ronnee Yashon, who teaches at Tufts University and who had long experience as a high school biology teacher. The lesson plans were then distributed for free to high school teachers attending the annual Conferences of the National Association of Biology Teachers and the National Science Teachers Association. One of the participants in our Conference, Professor Evelynn Hammonds of Harvard University, subsequently initiated a study group comprising faculty from a number of different New England universities and colleges, who have been analyzing the issues raised at the conference. That group, of which I am a member, has published an article examining the issues in a recent issue of PLoS Medicine. In summary, the Conference was successful in directly communicating to the public an understanding of these controversial issues, providing materials for teaching about the subject in schools, and stimulated others to involve themselves more deeply in the issues. Included with this Report are a copy of the Program for the Conference and a copy of the prepared high school Lesson Plans.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (United States). Dept. of Microbiology and Immunobiology
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
936306
Report Number(s):
DOE/ER/64020-1-FinalReport
A000; TRN: US201107%%137
DOE Contract Number:  
FG02-05ER64020
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Race, Genetics and Medicine: New Information, Enduring Questions, Cambridge, MA (United States), 9 Apr 2005
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; ANTHROPOLOGY; BIOLOGY; BIOTECHNOLOGY; EDUCATION; EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES; FEEDBACK; GENETICS; MEDICINE; ROADS; SOCIOLOGY; Race; Genetics; Medicine; Ancestry; Human Genome

Citation Formats

Beckwith, Jonathan R. Race, Genetics and Medicine: New Information, Enduring Questions: Final Report on Conference held on April 9, 2005 and its Sequelae. United States: N. p., 2008. Web.
Beckwith, Jonathan R. Race, Genetics and Medicine: New Information, Enduring Questions: Final Report on Conference held on April 9, 2005 and its Sequelae. United States.
Beckwith, Jonathan R. Wed . "Race, Genetics and Medicine: New Information, Enduring Questions: Final Report on Conference held on April 9, 2005 and its Sequelae". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/936306.
@article{osti_936306,
title = {Race, Genetics and Medicine: New Information, Enduring Questions: Final Report on Conference held on April 9, 2005 and its Sequelae},
author = {Beckwith, Jonathan R.},
abstractNote = {The Conference, “Race, Genetics and Medicine: New Information, Enduring Questions,” was held on Saturday, April 9, 2005 in the Science Center, Lecture Hall D at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Approximately 150 people attended. The audience was composed mainly of college and graduate school science students and postdoctoral fellows, some science and medical school faculty, science teachers at various levels, journalists and interested members of the public. The keynote speaker and the panelists reflected different academic disciplines (genetics, medicine, anthropology, sociology) and a CEO of a biotechnology company with background in medicine and law. They also presented different perspectives on the utility of race concepts in medicine and even on the use of the word “race.” While the talks often involved descriptions of genetic approaches that were not simple to explain, the speakers did an effective job of getting across the gist of studies that have been carried out on these issues. Although no consensus was reached, the conference gave the audience the opportunity to understand the issues and to have the tools to follow the debates in the future. Our strongest feedback was from attendees who had heard of the race and genetics issues through various media, but did not have a sense of what they were really about. They reported to us that they now felt they understood the basis of these discussions. Our post-conference activities have been successfully completed. While we had proposed to make available transcripts of the talks to the public through a Website, some of the speakers would not agree to have their presentations available in this way. Therefore, we asked permission from the DOE to use the funds to prepare classroom lesson plans for high school students to discuss the issues. These were prepared over a year-long period by the Genetic Screening Study Group Members with an educator, Ms. Ronnee Yashon, who teaches at Tufts University and who had long experience as a high school biology teacher. The lesson plans were then distributed for free to high school teachers attending the annual Conferences of the National Association of Biology Teachers and the National Science Teachers Association. One of the participants in our Conference, Professor Evelynn Hammonds of Harvard University, subsequently initiated a study group comprising faculty from a number of different New England universities and colleges, who have been analyzing the issues raised at the conference. That group, of which I am a member, has published an article examining the issues in a recent issue of PLoS Medicine. In summary, the Conference was successful in directly communicating to the public an understanding of these controversial issues, providing materials for teaching about the subject in schools, and stimulated others to involve themselves more deeply in the issues. Included with this Report are a copy of the Program for the Conference and a copy of the prepared high school Lesson Plans.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2008},
month = {8}
}

Conference:
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