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Should Medicine Be Blind to Ethnic Differences?

How do cultural and ethnic differences create disparities in the treatment and delivery of medicine? As part of our monthly series on ethics and science, we'll explore the complexities of race and cu

Should Medicine Be Blind to Ethnic Differences?

Maureen Cavanaugh : There's no argument that sickle cell anemia is most prevalent in African-Americans or that Tay Sachs disease is more common in the ethnically-Jewish population. But most assertions about medicine and race are much more controversial. Are our genes different, or is it our culture? Or is it both?


There is extensive genetic and clinical research underway nationally and here in San Diego to find out the answers to those questions.  And meanwhile, doctors have to try to figure out how to communicate with and treat patients whose cultures are very different from their own.

The next Ethics Center forum "Race and Culture in Medicine" is Wednesday, January 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. The event is free and open to the public.


  • Dixie Galapon, psychologist and director of mental health services for the Union of Pan Asian Communities .
  • Michael Hardimon , philosophy professor at UCSD.
  • John Carethers , professor of medicine and chief of the division of gastroenterology at the UC San Diego Medical Center and Moores UCSD Cancer Center. He is also the co-principal investigator of the new Comprehensive SDSU-UCSD Cancer Center Partnership.