The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)


Session 44. Rethinking Racial Health Disparities: The genetic anthropologist’s contribution to debates over health inequalities. Invited Podium Symposium. Chair: Abigail W. Bigham

March 28, 2015 , Grand Ballroom D Add to calendar

Race has been a central research focus in Biological Anthropology over the past century, with various scientists disagreeing about its existence as a biologically based concept. In the 1960’s, Frank Livingstone observed, “There are no races, there are only clines”. Today, new technologies and larger global datasets provide data on genetic and phenotypic diversity that present a more detailed understanding of the distribution of human genetic variation. These data demonstrate that human biological variation is real and racial inequalities in health status persist. For example, in the US and throughout the world, there are dramatic disease inequalities between racially defined groups ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Some researchers argue that these disparities are genetically based (and continue to search for pharmacogenetic solutions), while others focus on extrasomatic variables contributing to these inequalities. Anthropologists can offer valuable insight into this debate by providing a more integrated understanding of how these factors contribute to the origins and persistence of racial health disparities. This symposium will bring together anthropological researchers who have made important contributions to the study of human genetic variation and who have provided critical insights into the debate. We hope that this symposium sheds light on the key factors underlying racial health disparities, highlights opportunities for diminishing them, and provides productive avenues for future research.

8:00 Add to calendar Operationalizing Race, Resisting Racism: bridging biological, political, and lived experiences.” . Gabriel A. Torres, Jada P. Benn Torres.
8:15 Add to calendar Population structure beyond that detected using model-based clustering. Jeffrey C. Long, Jessica M. Gross, Anthony J. Koehl, Sara D. Niedbalski.
8:30 Add to calendar Improving access to socioeconomic data for genetic studies of racial health disparities. Brittany M. Hollister, Eric Farber-Eger, Dana Crawford, Melinda C. Aldrich, Amy Non.
8:45 Add to calendar Developmental and epigenetic responses to the environment: mechanisms for the embodiment of health disparities in New Zealand. Zaneta M. Thayer, Christopher W. Kuzawa.
9:00 Add to calendar Cultural meaning, social structure, and the health effects of systemic racism: The HEAT Heart Health study. Clarence C. Gravlee, Sarah M. Szurek, Christopher McCarty, Connie J. Mulligan.
9:15 Add to calendar Interdisciplinary anthropology approaches to health disparities research: sociocultural and genetic contributions to variation in blood pressure among African Americans in the Health Equity Alliance Tallahassee (HEAT) Heart Health study. Laurel N. Pearson, Sarah M. Szurek, Clarence C. Gravlee, Connie J. Mulligan.
9:30 Add to calendar Genetic influences on Health: Does race matter?. Michael J. Bamshad.
9:45 Add to calendar Race, Genetic Ancestry, Biomedical Research, and the Politics of Trust. Rick A. Kittles.
10:00 Break
10:15 Add to calendar Development of culturally relevant measures of stress and social support among Mexican immigrant families. Amy L. Non.
10:30 Add to calendar Tanning persistence is associated with Indigenous American ancestry in Mexican Americans. Ellen E. Quillen, Mark D. Shriver.
10:45 Add to calendar Integrating anthropological perspectives on race, human genetic variation, and health disparities in medical education. Deborah A. Bolnick.
11:00 Add to calendar Mitigating health disparities: a human rights imperative and the role of anthropological geneticists . Jennifer K. Wagner.
11:15 Add to calendar Implications of the apportionment of human genetic diversity for the apportionment of human phenotypic diversity. Michael D. Edge, Noah A. Rosenberg.
11:30 Add to calendar Genetics, geocoding, and electronic health records: Health inequalities and genomewide association studies of metabolic and gastrointestinal diseases. Abel N. Kho, Kathryn L. Jackson, Jess J. Behrens, Jennifer Pacheco, Loren L. Armstrong, M. Geoffrey Hayes.
11:45 Discussion: Milford Wolpoff and Connie Mulligan