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Health Aff (Millwood). 2016 Aug 1;35(8):1367-73. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1476.

Using Genetic Technologies To Reduce, Rather Than Widen, Health Disparities.

Author information

1
Caren E. Smith (caren.smith@tufts.edu) is a scientist in the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, in Boston, Massachusetts.
2
Stephanie M. Fullerton is an associate professor in the Department of Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Washington, in Seattle.
3
Keith A. Dookeran is an assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, at the University of Illinois at Chicago and chair and CEO of the Cancer Foundation for Minority and Underserved Populations, also in Chicago.
4
Heather Hampel is a professor in the Division of Human Genetics at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Columbus.
5
Adrienne Tin is an assistant scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland.
6
Nisa M. Maruthur is an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins University.
7
Jonathan C. Schisler is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
8
Jeffrey A. Henderson is president and CEO of the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, in Rapid City, South Dakota.
9
Katherine L. Tucker is a professor in clinical laboratory and nutritional sciences at the University of Massachusetts, in Lowell.
10
José M. Ordovás is director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Abstract

Evidence shows that both biological and nonbiological factors contribute to health disparities. Genetics, in particular, plays a part in how common diseases manifest themselves. Today, unprecedented advances in genetically based diagnoses and treatments provide opportunities for personalized medicine. However, disadvantaged groups may lack access to these advances, and treatments based on research on non-Hispanic whites might not be generalizable to members of minority groups. Unless genetic technologies become universally accessible, existing disparities could be widened. Addressing this issue will require integrated strategies, including expanding genetic research, improving genetic literacy, and enhancing access to genetic technologies among minority populations in a way that avoids harms such as stigmatization.

KEYWORDS:

Determinants Of Health; Disparities; Minority Health; Public Health; Research And Technology

PMID:
27503959
PMCID:
PMC5100696
DOI:
10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1476
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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