Race in medicine and biomedical research discussed March 11

Race in medicine and biomedical research discussed March 11

John Chenault

John Chenault,associate professor and medical librarian, School of Medicine, and instructor, Department of Pan African Studies, at the University of Louisville will present “The Invention of Race and its Misuse in Medicine and Biomedical Research,” a lunchtime lecture exploring how the concept of race has been invented and misused in relation to medicine and medical research.

The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, at the Health Sciences Auditorium in Kornhauser Library.

Scientific research provides substantial evidence that there is no genetic or biological basis for our social understanding of race. The use of race in biomedical research has, for decades, been a source of social controversy. However, recent events, such as the adoption of racially targeted pharmaceuticals, have raised the profile of the race issue. In addition, we are entering an era in which genomic research is increasingly focused on the nature and extent of human genetic variation, often examined by population, which leads to heightened potential for misunderstandings or misuse of terms concerning genetic variation and race.

Chenault will examine these issues in the context of how the concept of “race” was invented in 17th century colonial America and later emerged in the practice of medicine and the conduct of biomedical research in the centuries that followed.

He holds a master of library and information science degree from the University of Kentucky and a master of arts degree in Pan African Studies from the University of Louisville. He is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in Pan African Studies at UofL.


This program is sponsored by the UofL Health Science Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The office works to promote an environment of inclusiveness through the understanding and celebration of differences in perspectives, thoughts, experiences, belief systems and cultures of UofL students, faculty and staff.