Race/ethnicity in biomedical research and clinical practice

L. Feller, R. Ballyram, R. Meyerov, J. Lemmer, O. A. Ayo-Yusuf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


There is ongoing debate as to whether persons of different racial/ethnic groups are biologically significantly different, and, if such differences exist, whether they are relevant in relation to disease susceptibility and to treatment outcomes. There is also debate about the benefits of using race/ethnicity as a factor in clinical decision making, and as a variable in biomedical or public health research, because of the emotional sensitivities attached to race/ethnic categorisation. Such categorisation may also divert attention from underlying issues such as socioeconomic status and lack of access to modern health care. In this short article we will discuss these controversies, and will emphasize the importance of responsible and sensitive use of race/ethnicity as a variable in biomedical research and in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-274
Number of pages3
JournalSADJ : journal of the South African Dental Association = tydskrif van die Suid-Afrikaanse Tandheelkundige Vereniging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


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